How to understand cancer

Cancer is the collective term used to describe the malignant growth of cells in the human body.  When cells divide, sometimes one can divide abnormally.  This in turn, leads to that cell dividing into more cells of the same nature.  Pretty soon you have millions of abnormal cells in one place which are then called a tumor.  There are two types of tumors; malignant (cancerous) and benign (harmless).

The key in fighting cancer is early detection.  Most cancers detected early can be well treated and the patient would end up surviving the fight with this dreaded disease.  The problem with early detection is that cancer doesn’t manifest itself until it has grown in size and spread throughout the body.  When more and more vital organs become invaded by cancer cells even the best oncologists find it hard to cure the patient.  This doesn’t mean that once diagnosed with cancer, the patient should expect death due to disease as inevitable.  Progress made in the field of medicine like new methods of early detection and better treatment regimes have greatly improved the survival rate of cancer stricken patients.


Although no definite cause of cancer has been found, research has shown that some previous facts about cancer where false:

  • Hereditary factors might play a role in chance of an individual to be diagnosed with cancer, but the human genome is far from fully understood.  This means that if your grandfather may have had cancer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have cancer at some point in your lifetime.
  • Cancer is not contagious.  Someone treating a cancer patient at home or in a hospital stand no chance of getting “infected” by the disease.
  • Any influence that diet may have on the development of cancer hasn’t been scientifically proved as fact.  Future research might shed more light on this subject.
  • Cancer is not caused by a virus or infection.  Although cancer has some of the properties of a virus, like multiplying and reproducing, no virus causes cancer directly.
  • Repeated injuries to human tissue might precede cancer.
  1. Smoking can cause cancer of the lip, mouth and throat.
  2. High acid level may be linked to cancer, especially cancer of the stomach.
  3. Skin cancer is due to too much sun exposure.
  4. Experiments on rats have shown that certain hormones like estrogen might be linked to cancer growth, provided there was an underlying hormone imbalance.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Look for some warning signs of cancer:

  • Any sore or wound that doesn’t heal, especially on the lips, tongue or inside your mouth;
  • Any unusual bleeding or bloody discharge from any part of the body;
  • Continues loss of appetite or indigestion, especially if it is coupled with weight-loss;
  • Sudden change in appearance and tenderness of any moles on your skin;
  • Lumps found in your breasts (women) or in the scrotum (men).

Author: Shaun De Kock

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