What is Cancer





What is cancer? Cancer is the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that if left untreated can ultimately cause death. The word cancer came from the Greek word for crab, karkinos. The early Greek physicians who first described cancerous tumors had no notion of their cause or true nature, but they were struck by the resemblance if some invasive tumors to crabs: a hard mass with a claw like extensions and an aggressive nature. Cancer causes about 550,000 deaths a year. Although many people believe that cancer is one disease, there are actually in fact over a 100 different forms of cancer. Some cancers can be cured, but not all of them have cures. Even though each type has its own characteristics, all cancers share one common characteristic, and that is the abnormal cell growth. These abnormal cells form tumors that invade normal tissues and disrupt body functions. Tumors are cancerous when they spread to other parts of the body. These types are called malignant, while tumors that do not have the potential to spread are called benign.
Benign tumors are made up of cells similar to the surrounding normal cells and are enclosed in a membrane that prevents them from penetrating the neighboring tissues. They are dangerous only if their physical presence interferes with body functions. For example, if a benign tumor grows in the brain and blocks the flow of blood to the brain, that can kill a person. To find out what kind of tumor that the person might have, the doctor will either do an X ray or a biopsy. If the tumor shows to be benign they might leave it or they might choose to remove it. But, if it shows to be a malignant tumor, more drastic steps are taken to get rid of the tumors. In this paper I will talk about some forms of cancer, there are to many to talk about them all so the ones I have choose to in form people about are: Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, and skin cancer also known as melanoma.
The first form of cancer I am going to talk about is Breast Cancer. This is one of the most common cancers found in women and also has caused almost the same amount of deaths in women as lung cancer. Breast cancer can also occur in men, but it rarely does. In the United States, about one out of every nine women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Breast cancer increased during the 1980\'s but now appears to have leveled off; each year about 175,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Although death rates declined during the early 1990\'s, about 44,000 women die from breast cancer each year. Less than 1% of breast cancer cases occur in women under the age of 30, but a women\'s risk doubles every 5 years between the ages of 30 and 45 and then increases by 10-15% every 5 years after the age 45. More than 75% of breast cancer is diagnosed in women over 50.
**"The way breast cancer behaves varies greatly. Cancer may stay confined to the breast for years, or it might spread to the nearby lymph nodes or even more distant areas before there is even a detection of a lump. The most common type of early breast cancer begins in the cells lining the ducts of the breast. The ducts connect the milk-producing glands to the nipple. Less often, cancer begins in milk-producing tissue, which is made up of lobes and smaller sections called lobules. Breast cancer falls into these categories based on its location and how it spreads:
· Early- This cancer is confined to the ducts or lobules. It\'s curable more than 95 percent of the time. Even though a tumor is removed, however, there\'s a small chance cancer cells have already spread.
· Invasive- This cancer has spread beyond ducts or lobules into surrounding breast tissue and perhaps nearby lymph nodes. Detection of a hard lump in your breast may be the first sign of invasive cancer. Most breast cancers have been present for several years before you can feel a lump.
· Metastatic- This is cancer that has spread to other parts of your body, such as distant lymph nodes, bones, lungs, liver or