Want to know the causes and treatments of cancer? In this articled, you are going to know about cancer causes and how to cure it.
Most of us are well aware of the term cancer. Generally speaking, we can say that it refers to a group of diseases characterized by abnormal or uncontrolled division of cells.
As we know that cell is structural and functional unit of human body. Human body consists of trillions of cells which divide and grow at regular intervals.
Every cell has a specific life span. After certain period of time existing cells receive instructions to die(this process is called apoptosis) and they are replaced by new cells. However ,in case of tumor genetic disorder makes these cells unresponsive to the received instructions .So they continue to grow in an abnormal and uncontrolled manner.
In some cases, cancer shows apparent growths like tumors. While in some cases it is not apparent such as in cases of leukemia (blood cancer).
What Stats Say About Cancer?
Statistical data shows that cancer caused almost 9.6 million deaths in 2018 worldwide.
A survey conducted in 2017 in United States shows that out of a population of 100000 almost 153 deaths were caused by cancer. Since 1990,rate of cancer has been decreased to a remarkable extent. However, it is still second leading cause of deaths in United States.
The most deadliest type of cancer is lung cancer which caused 7650 deaths of men in 2019.
A survey conducted in 2018 revealed that 18.6 deaths per 100000 of population were caused by lung cancer. While all other types collectively caused almost 101.1 deaths per 100000 of population.
Types Of Cancer
Researches have shown that there are more than 100 types of cancer. But most common are breast, lungs and prostate cancer. We classify cancer into 6 major categories. These categories are:
- Carcinomas: It starts at lining of tissues or exterior surface of the body.
- Leukemias: It affects blood forming tissues.
- Lymphomas: It originates in the lymphatic system and affects mainly lymphocytes.
- Melanomas: It affects the melanocytes(cells producing pigment in the skin).
- Sarcomas: It affects the connective tissues like bones, cartilage and muscles.
- Mixed type: It falls under more than one category.
According to National Cancer Institute, most common types of cancers are lungs, prostate and breast cancer. However, other types may include:
- Bladder cancer
- Colon and rectal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Endometrial cancer.
Causes Of Cancer
Specialists do not know the exact causes of cancer, however, some factors can be held responsible for it. Some of the factors which may cause cancer are as under
1-Inherited Genetic Mutations
Inherited genetic mutations may also cause cancer, but theses cases are very rare. Researches found that inherited gene mutations only cause 5 percent of the total cases of cancer.
2-Smoking And Alcohol Consumption Among Cancer Causes
Smoking enhances the chances of cancer. It heavily damages lungs and causes cancer of lungs, mouth, throat, larynx(voice box) and cervix. Excessive alcohol consumption also does the same.
The term carcinogen means the cancer causing substances. Industrial chemicals like polynuclear hydrocarbons, metal compounds, benzene and plastics(Polyvinyl Chloride) has link to cancer. And these cancer causing chemicals are the Chemical Carcinogens.
Aflatoxins(food contaminants) and arsenic(a water contaminant) also come under this category.
Ultra violet rays come under this category. Prolonged exposure to sunlight causes exposure to Ultra violet rays and leads to skin cancer.
Normally these ultra violet rays can’t reach earth’s surface. Bluish ozone layer around the earth filter these rays. However, air pollution causes depletion of ozone layer. As a result these harmful rays easily reach earth’s surface and cause skin cancer.
Biological carcinogens includes bacteria and viruses that cause cancer. For example Human Immunodeficiency Virus(HIV) which causes AIDS also leads to cancer. Similarly, Hepatitis B and C viruses also cause the same.
6-Exposure To Ionizing Radiations
Exposure to x-rays and such other ionizing rays emitted from radioactive elements results in cancer. Especially, the people working in Nuclear Plants and Nuclear research centers are more vulnerable to it.
Treatments Of Cancer
Mainly, there are two ways to cure cancer i-e Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy. However, some other techniques may also work depending upon the nature and stage of cancer.
- Chemotherapy: In this case medications kill fast growing cancerous cells in order to avoid their spread in the whole body. There are many harmful side effects of chemotherapy i-e hair loss, unconsciousness and weakness.
- Radiotherapy: Intense energy radiations also has potential to kill cancerous cells. These radiations are generally used to remove or shrink tumors. Mostly these radiations consist of x rays. However, they may also contain proton and other ionizing radiations. It also has side effects like fatigue, nausea, hair loss, headache and etc.
- Immunotherapy: Medications are used to strengthen and boost the immune system. It helps to fight and kill cancerous cells effectively.
- Surgery: Surgeries are conducted by doctors in order to remove tumors from patient’s body. It helps to avoid further spreading of cancerous cells in the whole body.
Many other techniques have also been discovered due to progress in the field of biology.
Although there is no certain way to prevent cancer, but we can reduce risk factors by following the preventive measures. These measures are:
- Stop smoking
- Limit the alcohol consumption.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight(to avoid exposure to UV rays).
- Avoid exposure to ionizing radiations like x-rays and such other rays.
A report of American Cancer Society told that overall deaths due to cancer have been reduced by 26 percent in between 1990 and 2015.However,we need to strictly follow the preventive measures to save ourselves from this dreadful disease.