An explanation of cancer
Cancer is called cancer when a few of the body’s cells develop out of control and spread to other internal organs.
Cancer can appear almost anywhere in the trillions of cells that make up the human body. When the body needs new cells, human cells frequently divide (through a process known as cell proliferation and multiplication). New ones take their place when old cells pass away due to aging or damage.
This systematic procedure occasionally goes wrong, allowing damaged or abnormal cells to increase when they shouldn’t. These cells can develop into tumors, which are tissue lumps. Malignant tumors may or may not exist (benign).
Cancerous tumors can move to distant parts of the body to produce new tumors, invade neighboring tissues, or both (a process called metastasis). Malignant tumors are another name for cancerous tumors. Malignancies of the blood, including leukemias, seldom develop solid tumors, although many other cancers do.
Noncancerous tumors do not penetrate or spread to neighboring tissues. However, benign tumors typically don’t return after removal; malignant tumors can. However, benign tumors can occasionally grow to be quite enormous. Some, like benign brain tumors, can have serious side effects or even be fatal.
Cancer cells differ from normal cells in specific ways.
In many respects, cancer cells are different from healthy ones. Cancer cells, for instance:
- Develop despite receiving commands to do so. Only when they get such signals do normal cells expand.
- Disregard signals that would typically instruct cells to cease dividing or die (a process known as programmed cell death or apoptosis).
- Infiltrate adjacent regions before moving on to other body parts. Most normal cells do not travel across the body and cease growing when they come into contact with other cells.
- I am instructing blood arteries to expand toward malignancies. These blood veins transport waste from tumors and provide oxygen and nutrition to the tumors.
- Evade the immune system by hiding. The immune system typically eliminates damaged or aberrant cells.
- Fool the immune system into sustaining and promoting the growth of cancer cells. As an illustration, specific cancer cells persuade immune cells to defend against the tumor rather than fight it.
- Acquire many chromosome alterations, including chromosome component duplications and deletions. Some cancer cells contain twice as many chromosomes as healthy cells do.
- Depend on different nutrients than healthy cells do. Additionally, as opposed to most normal cells, specific cancer cells use a distinct process to produce energy from nutrients. It promotes the rapid growth of cancer cells.
The aberrant actions that cancer cells frequently exhibit are essential to their survival. This fact has been used by researchers who have created treatments focusing on cancer cells’ unusual characteristics. For instance, specific cancer treatments stop blood vessels from directing their growth toward tumors, depriving the tumor of the nutrients it requires.
What Causes Cancer to Spread?
Cancer is a genetic disease because the genes that control how our cells behave, mainly how they grow and divide, are altered.
Genetic changes that cause cancer can happen because:
- Various errors occur during cell division.
- Carcinogens in tobacco smoke and UV light from the sun are two examples of unfavorable environmental factors that might cause DNA damage. (More information is available in our section on the causes and prevention of cancer.)
- Our parents passed them down to us.
Usually, the body gets rid of DNA-damaged cells before they become cancerous. However, as we age, the body’s capacity to do so decreases. The likelihood of acquiring cancer later in life is enhanced due to this.
Each individual’s cancer has a unique set of genetic alterations. When cancer spreads, more modifications will occur. Different genetic changes may exist in other tumor cells.