"Cancer and Current Treatment Options" is an excellent example of a paper on cancer. Cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrollable cell division, causing impeding of the normal functioning of the body. Uncontrollable division of damaged cells leads to the formation of lumps or even masses of tissue knows as tumors. This is only in exemption of leukemia, whereby abnormal division of the cell in bloodstream bar normal blood functioning. Tumors once developed may interfere with the circulatory, digestive and nervous system, in addition to realizing hormones that hinder or change body function. When tumors have a narrow growth and remain in one spot are said to benign (Alison, 2001).
On the other hand, malignant or dangerous tumors are formed when; A cancerous cell is able to move within the body through lymph or blood systems causing destruction to healthy tissues through a process referred to as invasion. Secondly, when that cell divides and grows, causing the formation of new blood vessels it uses to feed itself. This process is referred to as angiogenesis. After successful spread throughout the body and it grows, invading and causing destruction to health issues, then cancer is said to have metastasized.
Thus, the process is metastasis, resulting in a very serious condition that is very difficult to treat (Rath, 2001.). Causes of cancer Generally, cancer is caused by environmental factors that mutate genes encoding proteins that control cells. The resulting abnormal cell behavior leads to complete masses of anomalous cells. Thus, cancer from a flow of anomalous cell reactions, when damage caused by wrong cellular mechanism is not repaired resulting in cell malignancy (Alison, 2001). In general, cancer is caused by mutagens, carcinogens, and family type. Mutagens Uncontrolled growth of cells can be experienced in case of any damages of mutation to DNA.
This, therefore, means damage to the genes that are engaged in cell division. In generally there are mainly four types of genes involved in cell division; oncogenes which inform the cell when to divided, tumor suppressor cells that instructs the cells when they are not supposed to divide, suicide genes that control apoptosis and instruct the cell to kill itself in case anything goes wrong, and finally, DNA-repair genes tell a cell to repair dented DNA. Generally, cancer arises in case a cell`s gene mutation incapacitates the cell to correct damage to the DNA, or commits suicide.
Still, cancer results from mutations which hinder the function of tumor suppressor and oncogene, causing uncontrolled growth of cell (Hanahan & Weinberg, 2011). Carcinogens This is a class of substances advance or aid cancer by being directly responsible for DNA damage. Radiations from gamma or X-rays, tobacco, arsenic, fumes from car exhaust, the sun among other things are examples of carcinogens. On exposing the body to carcinogens, the formation of free radicals is initiated.
The radicals try to take electrons of other molecules in the body. Thus, the free radicals end up damaging the cells, as well as affecting normal functioning ability (Hanahan & Weinberg, 2011). .Family Type Genes Thirdly, cancer may result from genetic predisposition inherited from family lineage. This means that in case a person is either born with particular genetic mutations or faulted gene, this statistically makes one prone to developing cancer (Hanahan & Weinberg, 2011). Symptoms of cancer Dubrawsk (2002) observers that cancer symptoms vary with the location, spread, and size of the tumor. Symptoms include a lump in the area, skin cancer evident through mole or wart on the skin, white patches on the tongue or mouth for oral cancer, effect on cognitive functions for brain cancer, yellowing of the skin, and an eye referred to as jaundice present pancreas cancer.
Moreover, pain and tumor in organs and blood vessels and generally change of function in many organs. For instance, colon cancer causes constipation and diarrhea, and so on. Enlarged and swollen lymph nodes and shortness of breath are evident at metastasizes level. Classifications of Cancer Globally, over 100 types of cancer are evident, and each categorized depending cell type that is initially involved. Cancer is then classified into five broad groups (Alison, 2001); Carcinomas for cells covering internal and external body parts such as the lung and breast. Sarcomas for cells located in bones, muscles, cartilage, connective tissue, fat, and so on. Lymphomas for cancers beginning from the immune system and lymph nodes Leukemia for cancers beginning from bone marrow and mainly accrues in the bloodstream. Diagnosis of cancer According to Dubrawsk (2002), biopsy, a process of extracting and looking at cancer cells under a microscope is best in diagnosing cancer. Other forms include of use symptoms to conduct diagnosis through imaging techniques like x-rays, MRI scans, and so on, to detect tumors and the affected organs.
Moreover, endoscopy involves the use of a thin tube fitted with a camera and light to check irregularities in the body. Other methods of diagnosis include analyzing body fats, sugar levels, proteins, and DNA based on a molecular level. Cancer treatment Treatment of cancer varies depending on cancer type, its stage (the extent of it grows in the body), and individual characteristics such as health status, age among other things. According to none, cancer has no single specific treatment, rather a combination of therapies, in addition to palliative care are given to the patient. Cancer treatment comes in any of the following group; Surgery This is the earliest treatment for cancer.
Experts say it is completely possible to terminate and cure cancer in the body through surgery if it has not metastasized. This has been evident especially with the removal of breast or prostrate, or testicle.
Surgery is also instrumental in controlling symptoms such as compression of spinal, and bowel obstruction. However, once cancer has overly grown it is impossible to entirely remove all cancerous cells, thus necessitating further measures (Alison 2001). Radiation This also referred to as radiotherapy. In radiation, cancer is destroyed by the use of high-energy rays on cancerous cells. Therefore, the molecules making up cancels cells are damaged and making them commit suicide. Parkin (2001) observes that gamma rays emitted from metals like radium and x-rays created in specific machines produce high energy for radiotherapy.
In earlier days, this type of treatment was unreliable as energy beams affected the normal and healthy tissues as well. However, the improved technology has ensured that only the target cells are reached by the energy beams. Radiotherapy is indeed an instrument as it a standalone treatment used to shrink tumors or for destroying cancer cells, (even leukemia and lymphoma ones), as well as being used with other treatments for cancer (Rath, 2001). Chemotherapy Chemotherapy uses chemicals that interfere with the process of cell division that destroy DNA or proteins, causing the cancerous cells to commit suicide. Chemotherapy targets any cell that is rapidly dividing whether normal or cancer cell.
Cancer cells do not recover from chemical-induced damage, while normal cells do. Usually, chemotherapy is effective for metastasized cancer since medicines spread all over the body. Chemotherapy is done in cycles to ensure the body gets to heal between doses. Combination therapies that are used include multiple forms of chemotherapy or one which is combined with other options of treatment. Side effects from chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and fatigue (Parkin, 2001). Immunotherapy Immunotherapy brings the immune system of the body to a point of fighting tumors. Local immunotherapy is done by injecting treatment in the target area of cells, for a specific reason such as causing inflammation that leads to shrinking of cancer. In systematic immunotherapy, an administering mediator such as the protein interferon alpha is used to treat the whole body. If immunotherapy improves immune system abilities to fight cancer, it is termed non-specific, but when it instructs the immune system to annihilate cancer cells, it is considered targeted. Recent researches have discovered treatments introducing antibodies and transplantation of bone marrow (Parkin, 2001). Hormone Therapy Cancers such as breast and prostate have been linked to hormones.
Some leukemia and lymphoma cases can be treated through hormone therapy. Hormone therapy alters production or kills cancer cells. Breast cancer therapy reduces estrogen levels, while prostate cancer reduces testosterone levels (Hanahan & Weinberg, 2011). Gene Therapy This substitutes dented genes with the working ones that can address the cause of cancer, which is DNA damage. Also, gene therapy aims at damaging the DNA of cancer cells causing them to commit suicide (Hanahan & Weinberg, 2011).
Prevention Conclusively, Rath (2001) asserts that cancer can be prevented through vaccinations for some cancers, avoiding cancer-causing behaviors such as smoking, avoiding intense heat waves, eating diets low in fat but rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, systematic screening to detect any abnormalities among other things.
Alison, M. (2001). Cancer. London: Nature Publishing Group.
DubrawskY, N. (2002). Cancer Statistics. CA a Cancer Journal For Clinicians, Volume: 39, Issue: 6. , Pages: 399.
Hanahan, D. &Weinberg, R. (2011). Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation. Journal of Cell, Volume: 144, Issue: 5. , Pages: 646-674.
Parkin, D. M. (2001). Global Cancer Statistics in The Year 2000. The Lancet Oncology, Volume: 2, Issue: 9. , Pages: 533-543.
Rath, M. ( 2001). Cellular Health Series: Cancer. Santa Clara: MR Publishing Inc.