A Better Understanding of Cancer

The word cancer is a blanket term used to describe multiple diseases that affect cells in the body. In its most basic definition, cancer involves genetic changes in cells. These changes make cells abnormal. The cells do not follow normal life cycles. Instead, cancer cells grow out of control, continuously replicating more copies of bad cells at an abnormally fast rate or not dying when they should.

In the human body, cells follow a specific life cycle. Cells multiply through a division process called mitosis. Each cell contains information that works like an instruction manual. New cells are created based on these instructions, including function. A normal parent cell begins to divide before it dies. The two cells that result, called daughter cells, contain the exact same things as the parent cell.

What is Cancer?

Cancer cells occur when there is something wrong with a parent cell, or when something goes wrong during division. Changes to a cell’s genetic code or problems with cell DNA replication during division can cause the two daughter cells to be abnormal. This abnormality continues to be passed to future cells created from those daughter cells. Abnormal cells do not die when their life cycle is complete, or they continue to replicate more abnormal cells as a much faster rate than normal cells. The type of cell involved determines which type of cancer occurs and whether tumors will grow.

The body’s cells are grouped into three main categories. Connective tissue cells are the cells found in connective tissues including fatty tissue and muscles. Lymphatic and blood cells can be found in the lymphatic system, which helps the body fight infections, and in the blood of the circulatory system. These cells can also be found in bone marrow. The third category is epithelial. These cells are found in the linings of organs and in the skin.

Tumors are formed when abnormal cells pile up in one location. Noncancerous tumors are called benign tumors, while cancerous tumors are called malignant tumors. The latter can be more dangerous because they can grow into surrounding tissue. Additionally, cancer cells can travel to other locations. When malignant tumors grow into surrounding tissue, it has metastasized. The same term is used to describe secondary cancers that occur from cancer cell relocation.

Rare Types of Cancer

Although there are over a hundred known types of cancer, some are rarer than others. Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma has affected only about a thousand people since the late 1950s. it affects the cartilage tissue and originates from either fat and muscle tissues or from the rib or spine bones. Salivary gland cancer affects the salivary glands and is often caused by genetic predisposition.

Foot cancer is another rare type of cancer. Skin cancer on the foot is more common, but this cancer can also occur in the bones or nerves of the feet. Chordoma is a rare cancer that occurs in the bones of the spine. About one person in a million is affected. This cancer is one of the rarest. It is often caused by small pieces if cartilage that do not develop correctly in growing fetuses. Tumors tend to grow slower, but it can be more painful and aggressive compared to other cancers.

Treatments for cancer depend on the type of cancer and how far it has progressed. They can be localized to specific tumors or systemic to treat the whole body. In many cases, a combination of localized and systemic methods is recommended. Lifestyle changes are also recommended, including increasing exercise, eating healthier, and reducing stress.


Disclaimer: The articles on this website are not meant to encourage the self-management of any health or wellness issue. Nor are they meant to encourage any one type of medical treatment. Treatment or advice used by a reader may have varying results, as each individual is different. Any article reader with a health-related question, is encouraged to seek a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider. The articles on this website should not be used to disregard any medical or health-related advice, nor should they be the root cause for delay in seeing a doctor or a certified health provider.

The articles on this website should not be used to start the use of dietary supplements or vitamins, natural or herbal products, homeopathic medicine or other mentioned products prior to a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider.

Other Articles