Friday, 1 February 2013

What is cancer and How does cancer occur

What is cancer?
Cancer is a broad term used to encompass several malignant diseases. There are over 100 different types of cancer, affecting various parts of the body. Each type of cancer is unique with its own causes, symptoms, and methods of treatment. Like with all groups of disease, some types of cancer are more common than others.

How does cancer occur?
The body is made up of trillions of living cells. These cells grow, divide, and die in an orderly fashion. This process is a tightly regulated one that is controlled by the DNA machinery within the cell. When a person is a baby or a child or within his or her mother's womb, cells divide rapidly to allow for growth. After the person becomes an adult, most cells divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells or to repair injuries.

When cells of the body at a particular site start to grow out of control, they may become cancerous. Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. In addition, these cells can also invade other tissues. This is a property that normal cells do not possess.

Who gets cancer and how common are cancers?
There are millions of people worldwide who are living with cancer or have had cancer. According to estimates, around half of all American men and one third of all American women will develop cancer during their lifetimes.

A healthy lifestyle with regular physical activity, healthy diet, maintenance of healthy weight and staying away from tobacco, sun exposure and other known cancer causing substances can help reduce the risk of getting cancers.

Some cancers also have effective screening tests. This helps in detection of common cancers as early as possible. Early treatment often means better chances of recovery and response to anti cancer therapy. Common examples of this are breast cancer and colon cancer screening that saves thousands of lives each year.

Types of Cancer
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and women. Over one million cases are diagnosed each year, with more young people having skin cancer than ever before. The most common types of cancer in the United States based on frequency of diagnosis are:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Kidney cancer (renal cell)
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Thyroid cancer

Different color ribbons represent different types of Cancer

More than a dozen colors of ribbon have been used to represent as many types of cancer. Many colors are symbols for a number of other diseases and causes as well, but a few stand only for types of cancer or are used primarily for this issue.

Pink and Purples
The pink ribbon easily is recognized as a symbol for breast-cancer awareness, although it also has represented other things, such as childhood-cancer awareness and birth parents. The large number of causes represented by purple ribbons includes pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer and leiomyosarcoma. Although their uses is less prevalent, periwinkle and violet ribbons are used for stomach cancer awareness and Hodgkin's lymphoma, respectively, and not well known for any other causes.

Like purple ribbons, blue ribbons represent many things, and among these are two types of cancer, colon cancer and colorectal cancer. Blue ribbons are also used, particularly in Canada, as a symbol for another issue that is related to cancer, anti-tobacco and anti-second-hand-smoke awareness. Light blue ribbons represent prostate cancer and, as an alternative to pink, childhood cancer. Gold is yet another alternative color for childhood cancer. A half dozen causes are symbolized by teal ribbons, among them gynecological cancers including uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and cervical cancer. Also, primarily in Asian and Pacific Islander communities, but also occasionally in America, jade ribbons are associated with liver cancer, along with hepatitis B.

Dark Colors
Along with being a sign of mourning, black ribbons are a symbol of melanoma awareness. Grey ribbons can be a sign for brain cancer. The types of cancer and issues represented by blue ribbons can be alternatively be represented by brown ribbons, so they can also be a symbol of colon cancer, colorectal cancer and anti-tobacco awareness.

Other Colors
A number of other colors are used for other types of cancer, although they all also represent other causes. Orange ribbons are used for leukemia and lymphoma awareness along with kidney cancer awareness, while green is also used for kidney cancer. Yellow ribbons are a symbol for bladder cancer, white ribbons are a symbol for bone cancer, and pearl ribbons are a symbol for both lung cancer and mesothelioma.

While many other colors stand for particular types of cancer, lavender has been a symbol for general cancer awareness.


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