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What Is Cancer?

Published on Apr 02, 2019   -  2 min read

Abstract

Abstract

Cancer is a disease that has been misunderstood for ages and is an enemy that can be thwarted with the right approach. Still, it is an enemy which should be avoided whenever possible.

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease that has been misunderstood for ages and is an enemy that can be thwarted with the right approach. Still, it is an enemy which should be avoided whenever possible. Many medical experts have defined cancer accurately, after understanding and elucidating the basic principles of cancer biology.

However, to a non-medical person, cancer still is a disease to be feared, which is not understood and something at which doctors have failed to find a definite cure, in other words, cancer is thought to be a disease which embarks a death sentence and its just a matter of time. During my residency, my senior consultant used to say that "Cancer is one disease which no patient will brag." Unfortunately, these fears are not absurd, since it is known to recur even after a decade.

How Is Cancer Formed?

Cancer results from a single cell gone rogue. For basic understanding purpose, a cell is the smallest unit of any living organism. Normally these cells multiply and grow under controlled circumstances and in absolute synchrony so that the result is our body can perform all the functions without any discomfort. This control resides in our genes. However due to any reason, if the cell starts disrespecting this control and multiplies at its own free will, it gives rise to a group of cells which grow, feeds upon nutrition destined for our normal cells, and spread to different areas of our body via different channels. This group of cells is called cancer. Another special feature of cancer is that it never dies on its own and has to be killed.

What Are the Causes of Cancer?

The reason for any cell turning rogue is multifactorial, but the basic principle is an insult to the normal cell. Certain reasons are non-modifiable, such as faulty genes, like having a car with faulty brakes. Cancer controlling genes are usually of two types-

These two types of genes work in harmony such that the cell growth is controlled. However, due to fault in either one of them can result in cancer. Consider a car with faulty brakes and increased acceleration, such a car is doomed.

These genes can be faulty because of heredity or because of personal habits. These personal habits are modifiable factors which we should avoid as much as practically possible. These habits include:

Our actions result in our destruction. These habits cause constant damage to the cells until one cell reverts with a do not care attitude and forms an army against us. Being a part of our body, this cell knows everything about us, but we know very little. Nevertheless, many great doctors, researchers, scientists, and cancer patients have contributed and improved our understanding of this disease, which has finally challenged the dogma of imminent death once diagnosed with cancer.

Last reviewed at:
02 Apr 2019  -  2 min read

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Dr. Jatin Bhatia

Dr. Jatin Bhatia

MBBS, DORL, MD Radiation Oncology, USMLE

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