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Cancer can be defined as a set of diseases which are caused by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. The abnormal cells in the body usually segregate uncontrollably and affect other body tissues as they are spread very fast through body fluids for instance the blood and the lymph. It is a condition that is very severe and accounts for a great percentage of deaths world wide.
It is the most frightening cause of death in the world due to its effects and symptoms and the fact that it can be suffered by every person irrespective of age. It is the second major cause of deaths after the heart disease.
There are various types of cancer (more than a hundred) which can be categorized as sarcoma which entails the cancer that begins in connective tissues for instance the bone and blood vessels, leukemia which originates in tissues that deal with blood formation like the bone marrow, lymphoma which affects the immune system cells, cancer of the central nervous system that starts from the spinal cord and brain tissues, and carcinoma that originate from skin tissues (Anonymous 1).
Background Information on Cancer
All kinds of cancer conditions start in body cells which are the most fundamental units of life. Cancer occurs when normal body cells change and become cancer cells. There are various kinds of cell that make up an individual’s body. The cells usually grow and segregate uncontrollably producing more cells that are necessary for maintaining good health in the body.
As the cells grow, they get old or / and damaged and the formation of new cells is essential for their replacement. Cancers however occurs when the process of the growth of a cell is disrupted or when it occurs abnormally for instance when the body cells fail to die at the required time or when new cells are made when they are not needed in the body.
The excess cells may lead to development of tumor which in most cases is cancerous for instance the malignant. However, not all kinds of cancer cause tumor.
Cancer is not a new disease and has existed for many years. The word cancer traces its origin from Hippocrates who was a general practitioner from Greece. The very first recognized and documented cancer case was in Egypt and it was on breast cancer.
The treatment that was readily available was cauterization which utilized the principle of burning the affected tissues. There was very little information about cancer as opposed to what is known today and the little that was believed about it was actually false for instance, the people believed that it was a disease caused by the gods.
Hippocrates also thought that cancer was caused by the existence of excess black bile in a particular place in the body. However, there has been a lot of developments and understanding on the aspect of cancer as discussed later in this paper (Fayed 1).
Common Causes and Symptoms of Cancer
Different kinds of cancers share some common characteristics in terms of causes and symptoms for instance; the common causes are; radiation, consumption of tobacco, viruses, consumption of poisonous mushrooms and chemicals like benzene. The common symptoms on the other hand include; sweating at night, weight loss, and loss of appetite, fever, fatigue and chills (Grady 1).
Research and Investigation on Cancer
The cancer condition has attracted a lot of debate and concerns and various individuals, groups and institutions have undertaken some research and investigations on the issue so as to help answer questions related to it and give a clear understanding to all those involved such as the medical practitioners, patients and even those involved with taking care of the victims for example relatives and those in institutions that deal with the affected like the hospice or homes for the terminally ill.
There have been various beliefs on the aspect of cancer including the origin, causes and even ways of treatment.
It is for example less likely for people to believe or understand that cancer can be caused by yeast or even fungal infections.
It is however true that even though cancer is believed to have its origin in genetic cell mutations it can also be caused by other infections for instance from bacteria, molds, fungi, viruses and even yeast as asserted by Dr. Andrew Dannenberg who is a director at the New York- Presbyterian hospital’s cancer center (Rudel 1).
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Some of the findings from the research and investigations are as follows; Leading cancer organizations in the United States of America for instance the U.S. National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute assert that recently there has been a decline in the rates of both diagnoses and death from all the various types of cancer in men, women and children and also on almost all the races and ethnic groups that constitute the United States of America’s population (Anonymous 2).
The new cases of diagnoses as per the year 2010 were 1,529,560 exclusive of skin related cancers while the deaths were 569,490 which are much lower than the rates in the previous years for instance the World Health Organization estimated that there was a total of 6.2 million children, women and men who succumbed death in the year 2000 (Delfino and Day 2).
Most researchers have found out that medicines that are prescribed for the prevention or treatment of diseases caused by fungal and bacterial infections are responsible for killing cancer cells. These medicines are believed to offset tumors hence killing the cancer cells.
There has also been evidence that doctors and other medical practitioners usually use some wrong forms of medication in treatment of cancer and most patients die due to improper treatment. A good example is the use of chemotherapy in treatment of different kinds of cancer whereas it has been proven that it can not cure most cancer types like breast and lung cancer (Rudel 1).
Research has also shown that nutrients or dietary aspects are of concern in our ability to fight the cancer ordeal. Poor measures in our nutrition for instance low levels of intake of some nutrients like vitamins, calories, minerals and proteins can make our bodies to be less effective in detecting and fighting germs and infections.
People who lack some nutrients, that is, they don’t consume a balanced diet are more likely to have some infections including cancer as opposed to those people who eat healthy and balanced meals. The consumption of processed foods should be avoided since indispensable nutrients are usually absent in them and therefore not healthy due to their inadequacy.
The existence of damaged cells is also a factor that researchers have deemed to exacerbate the occurrence of cancer as the cells become prone to toxins and other harmful substances making them to develop into cancerous conditions. This condition is very dangerous as it exhibits all the aspects associated with cancer as the cells do not function well and are prone to infections making a person weaker day by day.
The environment can also act as a element that affects the cancer condition for example when the patient is exposed to a polluted and contaminated environment, he or she is more likely to suffer adverse effects of the cancer condition as opposed to a patient whose environmental conditions are not polluted.
Recent Advances in Treatment or Cure of Cancer
Due to the dangerous effects of cancer and the fact that it claims a lot of lives in different parts of the world, both the developed and the developing countries, there has been the need to come up with ways of dealing with the situation.
The treatment of cancer has proved to be a very difficult task especially due to the fact that the patients seem to lack hope of getting better as they usually have the mentality of dying.
There has however been a change in perception and people have started taking it as any other disease as much information about it has been disseminated and people can take it positively knowing that there are ways of treating or reducing its effects.
The belief that cancer is an obscene and shameful disease is also long gone (Shapin 1). The treatment varies on the basis of the kind of cancer and the extent to which the cancer has infected an individual, that is, the stage of the disease. For instance, if the cancer affects a specific part of the body and has not spread, surgery works best through removal of the affected area such as the breast.
Radiation and chemotherapy are the other forms that can be applied in treatment of cancer especially where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body apart from the place of origin and surgery cannot work. Some cases may be very complicated and may require the combination radiation and chemotherapy or even surgery, radiation and chemotherapy (Grady 1).
The mistake comes in when the doctors adore some forms of treatment and use them improperly with the aim of getting the expected results for instance the application of chemotherapy in treatment of cancer have been seen to be emphasized by many doctors even when it does not seem to work and other options could be considered.
There has along been a need to improve the therapies and means used in treatment of various kinds of cancer with an aim of enhancing the outcome on the patients. One of the considerations is the adoption of engineered delivery systems that are deemed to promote efficiency in administering the drugs used in the chemotherapy process.
Novel technology is also a development in the treatment of cancer. This is a technology that enhances the identification of the antibodies that could be in the body or blood.
It usually work on the principle of detection of abnormal glycoprotein that are usually produced by cancerous cells hence making it possible to detect cancer and therefore take necessary measures to avoid its adverse effects. Another major advanced treatment for cancer is the bone-marrow also known as stem-cell transplant therapy.
This therapy entails the extraction of the bone marrow prior to the provision of the drugs used in chemotherapy. It is after the inducement of the chemotherapeutical medicines that the bone marrow is re-implanted back into the body and some medication given to enhance the recovery process and hence boost the immune system of the victim.
This method has proved to be efficient and effective as compared to the traditional means in which chemotherapy is administered as the cancer cells usually dies off completely and the cancer do not come back a circumstance that is very common when traditional chemotherapy is applied for treatment of cancer.
Administration of new and advanced drugs that are effective in killing cancer cells is also a step towards improving the treatment of cancer. It also allows the patient to undergo more sessions of chemotherapy which increases the chances of survival. Other drugs are also used to combat the side effects of chemotherapy.
The application of gamma knife in brain tumor surgery is another improvement that has enhanced treatment of cancer as it avoids the risk of causing damages to the brain. It utilizes direct radiation to the affected area and takes a very short time. This and other developments in the various kinds of cancer that have brought a lot of hopes to all the people involved including the patients and their relatives (Mae 1).
It is evident that cancer is a very serious condition in the world and in as much as various oncologists are making it look simple through their genetic theories and explanations; it is still a complicated aspect.
The research that has been carried out by various researchers has however helped in the understanding of the general ideologies surrounding the cancer condition for instance the aspects related to environment, nutrition, cells growth and emotions and their effects in causing cancer or affecting its condition.
Anonymous. “Cancer.” Medicine, 2010. Web.
Delfino, Michelangelo and Day E. Mary. Cancer: We Live and Die by Radiation. New York: MoBeta Publishing, 2006.
Fayed, L. “The History of Cancer.” About.com Guide, 2009. Web.
Grady, D. “Cancer Patients, Lost in a Maze of Uneven Care.” The New York Times, 2011. Web.
Mae, W. “New Lifesaving Advances in Cancer Treatment – Preventing Cancer: What We Know Today.” Findarticles, 1995. Web.
Rudel, C. V. “Understanding the Condition of Cancer.” Winning the War on Cancer, 1994. Web.
Shapin, S. “Cancer World: The Making of a Modern Disease.” New Yorker, 2010. Web.