Cancer is growth of abnormal cells in human body that can grow in quantity and have the ability to destroy healthy cells. These cells are also called tumor cells. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in world which could occur in any age group. There is a very little chance of for host to survive but survival rates are improving for many types of cancer.
There are many types of cancer, most common are breast cancer, bone cancer, blood cancer, cancer in liver and many more a detailed list can be found here https://www.cancer.gov/types.
Signs and symptoms caused by cancer will vary depending on what part of the body is affected. Some general signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to, cancer, include:
- Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
- Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
- Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won’t heal, or changes to existing moles
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Persistent cough or trouble breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
- Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising
Cancer is caused by mutation of cells. Each cell is assigned a particular function as well as how to grow and divide and when to die. This functionality is assigned by gene in DNA which contains the instructions for a cell. Error in an instruction will cause the cell to deviate from its normal functionality hence becoming a tumor.
What do gene mutations do?
A gene mutation can instruct a healthy cell to:
- Allow rapid growth.
- Fail to stop uncontrolled cell growth.
- Make mistakes when repairing DNA errors.
What causes gene mutations?
Gene mutations can occur for several reasons, for instance:
- Gene mutations you’re born with. You may be born with a genetic mutation that you inherited from your parents. This type of mutation accounts for a small percentage of cancers.
- Gene mutations that occur after birth. Most gene mutations occur after you’re born and aren’t inherited. A number of forces can cause gene mutations, such as:
- cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens)
- chronic inflammation
- Lack of exercise.
Factors known to increase your risk of cancer include:
Cancer can take decades to develop. That’s why most people diagnosed with cancer are 65 or older. While it’s more common in older adults, cancer isn’t exclusively an adult disease — cancer can be diagnosed at any age.
Certain lifestyle choices are known to increase your risk of cancer. Smoking, drinking alcoholic drink, excessive exposure to the sun or frequent blistering sunburns, being obese, eating junk food daily and having unsafe sex can contribute to cancer.
DNA is passed on to the next generation. If you’re parents, grandparents or any blood relative in your family has cancer it is possible that same corrupted genes will be travel to your body. However, chances of this are very low.
The environment of your daily life may play a vital role in developing cancer in your body. For example, passive smoking, exposed to chemicals like benzene, alpha-beta rays, gamma rays or X rays etc.
Cancer and its treatment can cause several complications, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Weight loss
- Chemical changes in your body
- Brain and nervous system problems
- Unusual immune system reactions to cancer
- Growing cancer
There’s no certain way to prevent cancer. But doctors have identified several ways of reducing your cancer risk such as:
- Stop smoking
- Avoid excessive sun exposure
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise most days of the week
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if you choose to drink
- Schedule cancer screening exams
- Ask your doctor about immunizations