Cancerous tumours are caused when a normal cell becomes cancerous. Cancerous cells may invade nearby tissues or spread via the bloodstream to distant sites within the body. Cancer spreads to other organs such as the liver, lungs, brain, bone marrow, or ovaries, it is referred to as metastatic carcinoma.
Carcinomas are divided into four major subtypes: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, small cell lung carcinoma, and non-small cell lung carcinoma. Lung cancer accounts for about 85% of all respiratory tract cancers. Most cases occur after age 40, although 5–10 percent of cases occur in children under 15 years old and 15–20 per cent occur in previously healthy smokers.
In humans, cancer starts when mutated cells divide uncontrollably. Cancerous cells may also spread through the body to other organs. These changes lead to tumours that invade surrounding tissues and interfere with normal function. If left unchecked, cancers can cause death. Cancer treatments often consist of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
How Cancer Develops
Each cell has its DNA, which contains the instructions for making proteins needed for life. Proteins act as messengers within the cell and carry out the cell’s functions. Cells also communicate with each other through tiny gaps called synapses.
When an electrical signal passes through a synapse, it triggers chemical reactions that produce another protein. These chemicals pass messages back and forth between nerve cells. This is how the chemicals in the body affect different body parts and their functioning.
Cancer isn’t just one disease. There are many types and causes, including genetic mutations, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices. Cancer starts when healthy cells become abnormal. That’s why early detection is key—the earlier cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.
Once cancer begins to spread, treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, and hormone therapies may stop its progression.
Here are some of the common types of cancer that a man or a woman may experience throughout his or her lifetime.
Sarcoma is a type of cancer that forms when cells grow abnormally fast. Sarcoma occurs in many different kinds of tissue in the body, but mainly includes cancers of connective tissue. This means that they mostly occur in muscles, bones, cartilage, fat, tendons, ligaments, skin, blood vessels, and other tissues.
Soft tissue sarcoma is the term given to sarcomas that occur in soft tissues like muscle, fat, blood vessel walls, etc. Sarcomas can also occur in organs. A few examples include leiomyosarcoma occurring in the heart and stomach and rhabdomyosarcoma occurring in the bladder and vagina.
Some cancers can occur in both bone and soft tissue like osteosarcoma which is found primarily in the long bones of legs and arms. Another example is Ewing’s sarcoma which occurs in the bones of children.
These types of diseases are often deadly if left untreated. For this reason, early diagnosis is important.
Lymphomas begin when the cells called T-cells or B-cells begin growing out of control. Cancerous cells can spread throughout your body and form tumours. Lymphomas usually start in the lymph nodes, but can also begin in the spleen, bone marrow, and other parts of the body.
Moreover, symptoms include pain, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, cough, night sweats, and swollen glands. Treatment options range from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, immunotherapy, biological therapy, stem cell transplant, targeted therapies, investigational agents, and supportive care.
A cutaneous melanoma occurs when abnormal cells called melanocytes turn malignant. These lesions are usually raised lumps located on parts of your body exposed to sunlight, like the face, palms of the hands, lower back, shoulders, or arms.
Some melanomas appear on areas not directly exposed to the sun, like the neck, chest, genitalia, or inner thighs. Some people who get melanoma may have several small spots (moles) that change in size or shape before cancer becomes visible.
Others may notice small changes to their moles while at home or work. If you have any concerns about changes to your skin or a mole, talk to your health care provider right away.
Brain and Spinal Cord
Brain and spinal cord tumours are named based on what kind of tissue they begin in. Some of these issues are found in both the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS), while others are found solely in the CNS.
There are three main categories of the brain and spinal cord cancers: astrocytic tumours, glial neoplasms, and ependymal tumours. Astrocytic tumours comprise 30%–40% of all primary CNS neoplasms and account for nearly half of all childhood brain tumours.
On the other hand, Glial neoplasms encompass 15%–20% of primary CNS neoplasms and are the second most frequent form of pediatric CNS malignancy. Ependymal tumours constitute 10%–15% of primary CNS neoplasms and occur predominantly in children, adolescents, and young adults.
Hence, it is important to take care of your body to prevent cancer cells from ruining your health.