What is Cancer?

Cancer is a very serious disease that effects people of all ages all over the World. This disease specifically effects the way cells in the body, which are one of the basic building blocks of life, are created and destroyed.

In a healthy body, cells grow, divide, and die as needed to form tissues and preform numerous functions. When a cell grows too old, it dies, allowing other cells to take its place. When this process goes awry, with cells not dying when the grow old, tumors, which are also called growths, are formed.

The presence of tumors are not necessarily an indication of cancer, but cancer does cause tumors to form. So, anytime a tumor is found, it is important to analyze it to determine its cause.

A benign tumor is one that is not cancerous.

A malignant tumor is one that is cancerous.

Benign Tumors

In the case of benign tumors, the growth can usually be removed and rarely puts the individuals life in danger. When removed, a benign tumor will not usually grow back. Another major difference between malignant tumors and benign tumors is that benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body, nor do they spread to surrounding tissues. Both of these characteristics are instead specific to malignant cancerous tumors.

Malignant Tumors

Malignant tumors can often be safely removed, but once removed, it is not uncommon for them to return. The removal is often much more difficult, however, which is often as a result of the places malignant tumors grow. Malignant growths also can pose very serious health risks, which can put the life of the individual at risk.

However, as discussed above, the major difference between a cancerous tumor and a non-cancerous tumor is that they can replicate and spread throughout the body, causing damage not only to tissue that is nearby, but also other farther away parts of the body.

As malignant growths spread, or metastasize, to other cells and tissues in the body, they break away from the initial tumor and travel through the blood system or the lymphatic system. In turn, these cells begin to invade other cells in a process that is referred to as metastasis.

How Cancer is Named

There are many types of cancer and it goes by many names, but it is usually named for the system of the body that it effects. For instance, lung cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer, all originate in the lungs, breasts, and colon respectively.

When the cancer cells spread to other organs and tissues, the cancer is still referred to from its original source. So, for example, in the case of prostrate cancer cells that have spread to bones, the cancer in the bones is still called prostate cancer, although doctors sometimes refer to the new tumors as distant cancer or a metastatic disease.

No Comments Yet

Add Comment