Cancer – simplified and explained


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What is cancer?


Cancer is a disease where cells divide and invade other tissues uncontrollably.

 

How does cancer happen?


These cancerous cells experience a change in their nature due to mutations within their genes. Daughter cells produced by the original cancer cells are also cancerous because they possess the same chromosomes.



https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Z4ehGN31xu8/maxresdefault.jpg

Image from https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Z4ehGN31xu8/maxresdefault.jpg



 

Why is cancer a concern?


Cancer is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 12.5% of deaths around the world are mainly contributed by cancer itself. Despite that, most cancer types only affect people as they age, cancer can affect anybody regardless of age, race and sex too.

 

How does cancer affect us?


Cancer can come in two ways; invasive or non-invasive. Non-invasive type of cancer cells are known as tumours. Tumours are usually not fatal because they are basically a clump of cells dividing continuously and swell. The only cases where tumours are deathly happen when the tumour grows in areas like the brain.

http://previews.123rf.com/images/alila/alila1207/alila120700010/14458595-Cancer-cells-in-a-growing-tumor-Stock-Vector.jpg

Image from http://previews.123rf.com/images/alila/alila1207/alila120700010/14458595-Cancer-cells-in-a-growing-tumor-Stock-Vector.jpg



The invasive type of cancer cells are more feared due to their nature of invading other tissues by travelling through the blood stream or the lymphatic system (series of thin vessels that branches throughout the body). This will ultimately lead to tissues malfunctioning, further weakening the body and resulting in death.

 

Is there a cure for cancer?


There is no definite cure for cancer yet. There are cases where cancer is cured when the cells are being cut out or killed simultaneously. This brings us back to the importance of going for regular check-ups; the sooner you discover its presence in the body, the higher the chances of preventing cancer from taking over your life.

The three main cancer treatments being used nowadays:

  • radiotherapy (using radiation to kill cancer cells),

  • chemotherapy (strong medications to kill the cells)

  • immunotherapy (stimulate your immune system so it acts against the cancer cells)


 

What can I do as a normal citizen?


As cancer targets anyone regardless of who you are, it is advisable to go on regular check-ups. There are many people who did not know that they contracted cancer until the later stages; which is often too late to be saved. However, don’t just stop there!  Care for your loved ones as well and bring them along. Prevention is better than cure.


Nicky Lee

by Nicky Lee

Your typical neighbourhood ah pek who roams on the internet to satisfy his curiosity. Bold. Loud. Talkative. View all articles by Nicky Lee.




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