There are lots of types of cancer – Childhood Cerebral Astrocytoma and Hepatocellular (Liver) Cancer and Extragonadal Germ cell tumor and Stomach (Gastric) Cancer and Plasma Cell Neoplasm and Islet Cell Carcinoma – just to list a couple of examples. But, all of these malignancies have a few things in common.
Loss of Control
Every cell in your body is controlled by hormones like Serotonin and Pancreatic polypeptide from outside the cell and some other chemical regulators in the cells. These regulators will control the actions of the cell. They will tell the cells when to grow and how much, how active they should be and how they should interact with other cells.
Cancer cells have those controls shut off. They act without limit. They are constantly active at full throttle. They also lose their ability to work with their neighbors and then can move away and go to other parts of the body.
Changes in DNA
All malignacies have lost their controls because the DNA in the cell has been damaged. DNA is the programming mechanism in the cell that marks out all of its functions. That DNA is damaged by mechanical means, nuclear radiation or chemicals. It will start to act randomly. Viruses have also been shown to cause the DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
Damaged DNA can also be inherited. That DNA is set up to start producing cancer cells if there is either a further nudge toward cancer or further damage to that DNA.
The cells normally will live a certain amount of time and then die (with some exceptions). They will then be replaced by new healthy cells. Malignant cells don’t normally die. Even when they are exceptionally abnormal, they just keep growing. Finally, those cells produce tumors and spread.
I mean, so what if some fifty-eight-year-old butt-head gets a load on and starts playing Death Race 2000 in the rush-hour traffic jam? What kind of chance is he taking? He’s just waiting around to see what kind of cancer he gets anyway. But if young, talented you, with all of life’s possibilities at your fingertips, you and the future Cheryl Tiegs there, so fresh, so beautiful, if the two of you stake your handsome heads on a single roll of the dice in life’s game of stop-the-semi now that’s taking chances! Which is why old people rarely risk their lives. It’s not because they’re chicken they just have too much dignity to play for small stakes. – P. J. O’Rourke
Types of Cancer
The many cancers can be organized into five common types. Those are Central nervous system cancers, Leukemia, Carcinoma, Sarcoma as well as Lymphoma and Myeloma.
Central nervous system cancers – these are cancer tumors that start in the brain and spinal cord. Leukemia – these cancers start in the tissues that produce blood – such as the bone marrow – and then release the cells into the blood. Carcinoma – these are cancers that start in the skin or the tissues that line internal organs. Sarcoma – Sarcomas are cancer tumors that start in connective tissue. Connective tissue is the tissue between the organs and other structures. Those tissues include things like fat, bone, muscle, blood vessels and cartilage. Lymphoma and myeloma – these cancers start in the cells that normally protect the body – the immune system.
Now that you know what a cancer is, you can learn how to possibly prevent it, or if needed how to treat it.