What is Cancer?

The body is comprised of hundreds of millions of cells which normally grow, divide, and die respectively. Initially, cells divide quickly assisting in the growth process. As people age, cells divide as a means of replacing worn or dying cells. Although there are numerous types of cancer all begin due to rapid growth of abnormal cells. Instead of dying off, these abnormal cells continue to grow, forming new cells which are also abnormal. Aside from this, cancerous cells are also capable of invading other healthy tissues, whereas normal cells cannot.

How do Cells Become Cancerous?

Damage to a cell’s DNA cause them to become cancerous. Each cell is made up of DNA which is what directs the cell’s actions. Normal cells either repair DNA damage when it occurs or die. However, cancerous cells cannot do this, continuing to replicate, carrying the same damaged DNA as the original.

How does DNA Damage Occur?

There are several reasons DNA damage can occur including environmental, genetics, or mistakes that happen during reproduction of normal cells. This reproductive damage can be caused by something obvious like smoking or exposure to asbestos, but sometimes there is no clear causation. In most cases these cancer cells eventually form a tumor. Through the process of metastasis, cancer cells spread throughout the body via the lymph vessels or bloodstream; from which they are able to grow and form new tumors in organs and systems other than the point of origin. Despite the ability to spread cancer is always named for its point of origin. This is why even though mesothelioma can affect the lungs, heart, abdomen, and then spread to other regions it is named for the tissues the asbestos embeds in. Not all cancers act the same as far as growth, and response to treatment. A proper diagnosis is pertinent to deciding the correct treatments and medical procedures that is aimed at the patient’s particular type of cancer.
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