Cancer affects everyone in a unique way, and if your loved one suffers from it, you would know just how distressing it could be. World Cancer Day is a chance to look at things differently and bring a change.
The day is celebrated each year on 4th February. WHO and UICC are two organizations that ensures that the day is spent raising awareness about the issue and the same would be this year – with discussions on how we can reduce the effects of cancer or even potentially prevent it from happening in the first place. Each Unity Band worn and everything that is donated is a symbol of the support shown towards fighting this deadly disease.
The funds support scientists, and doctors in their cancer research and helps them bring new measures to help cancer patients lead a healthier life. The day also ensures that cancer patients feel more at ease with the world and do not feel left out, thanks to the society accepting them more. For others, it is a chance to show solidarity with those with the disease.
What is Cancer?
The origin of cancer can be anywhere in the body. Starting from growing out of control, the cancerous cells crowd out the active cells. It thus gets more difficult for the body to function normally. However, Cancer can be treated and there have been cancer patients, who have recovered completely through proper treatment.
Cancer is an umbrella term and not a single disease
There are many types of Cancers depending on the organs in which they originate and grow. Cancer can begin in the lungs, breasts, the colon, or the blood. Even though they have some similarities, they are mostly different in how they advance and expand.
Normal cells divide in an orderly way. After dying due to being worn out or dysfunctional and are replaced by new cells. Cancer is when the cells start to advance out of control. The cancer cells keep on advancing and make excess cells. This causes issues in the organ where the cancer originated.
Most cancers form a lump called a tumor or a growth. However, not all lumps are cancerous. Doctors take out a piece of the lump and examine it to find out if it’s cancer. They have separate terms for both. Lumps that are not cancer are called Benign. Lumps that are cancer are called Malignant.
Some cancers, like leukemia (cancer of the blood), that don’t form tumors. They advance in the blood cells of the body.
Cancer is caused by alteration (mutations) to the DNA within cells. Normal cells have their DNA guiding them on how to replicate. In cancerous cells, this directive seems to go amiss and the cells seem to proliferate rapidly suffocating other nearby normal cells.
A gene mutation can instruct a healthy cell to:
- Allow rapid growth which can often be difficult to stop
- The cells cannot repair any DNA errors
These mutations are the most conventional ones found in cancer but there are several other gene mutations that incite cancer as well. Gene mutations can arise for several conditions like,
- Gene mutations you’re born with
- Gene mutations that occur after birth
Gene mutations arise often during normal cell advancement. However, cells contain a mechanism that recollects when an error happens and fixes the error. Sometimes, a mistake is overlooked. This could incite a cell to become cancerous.
Prevention of cancer:
The concept of what consists as cancer prevention is an evolving one. However, the main focus needs to be to avoid carcinogenic substances and foods along with leading a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the things that can help in this regard.
- Avoid Tobacco
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active
Let’s kill cancer before cancer kills us!