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What Is Cancer

 
 

Many people ask the question: what is cancer? It is important for everyone to know the answer to that question, because the key to prevention, early diagnosis and cure is in that knowledge. Contrary to some understandings, a cure and recovery form cancer  is a very good possibility depending on many factors starting with the initial diagnosis of the disease.

Our bodies are made of billions of cells. These cells divide all the time to make new cells. This is essential for young children to grow. We lose and must replace many of these cells that we loose daily from our skin, from our gut and from the blood cells that die after finishing their short life span. Division of cells is very well controlled by sophisticated systems, many of them are built within the cell itself. When this control is lost, cells grow and make lumps. If this keeps going, the lump will “invade” nearby organs, blood vessels and nerves. This lump is called a tumor and one that continues to grow is what medicine calls ‘cancer’. Cancer cells may spread through the blood or lymphatics, to far distant organs like the lungs, bones, liver and brain. Some cancers do not form tumors, but rather they grow in the blood and bone marrow (where blood cells are made). These are called “leukemias” and they can make patients sick rapidly (acute) or may linger for a longer period of time before patients become really sick (chronic). Similarly, some cancers grow from cells that usually reside in lymph nodes (lymphomas) and may spread to other lymph nodes. There is no body organ immune against cancer; in other terms: wherever there are living cells, cancer may occur. This includes the bones, the eye, the brain, the stomach the lung, the ovaries, the breasts, etc.