What is cancer?
Some types of cancer cause rapid cell growth while others cause cells to grow and divide at a slower rate.Certain forms cancer result in visible growths called tumors, while others, such as leukemia, do not.Most the body’s cells have specific functions and fixed lifespans. While it may sound like a bad thing, cell death is part of a natural and beneficial phenomenon called apoptosis.A receives instructions to die so that the body can replace it with a newer cell functions better. Cancerous cells lack components that instruct them to stop dividing and die. As a , they build up in the body, using oxygen and nutrients that would usually nourish other cells. Cancerous cells form tumors, impair the immune system and cause other changes that the body from functioning regularly. Cancerous cells may appear in one area, then spread via lymph nodes. These are clusters of immune cells located throughout the body.
There are many causes of cancer, and some are preventable.For example, over 480,000 people die in the U.S. each year from smoking cigarettes, according data reported in 2014. In addition to smoking, risk factors for cancer include:
- heavy alcohol consumption
- excess body weight
- physical inactivity
- poor nutrition
Other causes of cancer are not preventable. According tthe American Cancer Society, doctors in the U.S. diagnose 87 percent of cancer cases in people ages 50 years or older.
Is cancer genetic?
Genetic factors can contribute to the development cancer.A person’s genetic code tells their cells when divide and expire. Changes in the genes lead to faulty instructions, and cancer can result.Genes also influence the cells production of proteins, and proteins carry many of instructions for cellular growth a division.Some genes change proteins that would usually repair damaged cells. This can lead to cancer. If a parent has these genes, they may pass on the altered instructions to offspring.Some genetic changes occur after birth, and factors such as smoking sun exposure can increase the risk.Other changes that can result in cancer take place in chemical signals that determine how the body deploys, or “expresses” specific genes.Finally, person can inherit a predisposition for a type of cancer Inherited geneticmutations ignificantly contribute to the development of 5–10 percent of cancer cases.
Innovative research has fueled the development of new medications and treatment technologies.Doctors usually prescribe treatments based on the type of cancer, its stage at diagnosis, and the person’s overall health.
- Chemotherapy aims to kill cancerous cells with medications that target rapidly dividing cells. The drugs can also help shrink tumors, but the side effects can be severe.
- Hormone therapy involves taking medications that change how certain hormones work or interfere with the body’s ability to produce them. When hormones play a significant role, as with prostate and breast cancers, this is a common approach.
- Immunotherapy uses medications and other treatments to boost the immune system and encourage it to fight cancerous cells. Two examples of these treatments are checkpoint inhibitors and adoptive cell transfer.
- Precision medicine, or personalized medicine, is a newer, developing approach. IResearchers have yet to show that it can effectively treat all types of cancer, however.
- Radiation therapy uses high-dose radiation to kill cancerous cells. Also, a doctor may recommend using radiation to shrink a tumorbefore surgery or reduce tumor-related symptoms.
The most common type of cancer in the U.S. is breast cancer, followed by lung and prostate cancer, according the National Cancer Institute, which excluded nonmelanoma skin cancers from these findings. types of cancer.Each year, more than 40,000 people in the country receive a diagnosis of one of the following types of cancer:
- colon and rectal
- non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
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