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What is cancer?

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Below are explanations from Novartis Oncology.

“I have cancer” are three words many of us or our loved ones will say or hear at some point in our lives. Understanding cancer is the first step in coping with this disease that still affects many families around the globe. We’re united in transforming cancer into a manageable disease and in our vision of ensuring cancer patients look forward to leading nearly normal lives. Our innovative medicines and our services and support to physicians and their patients help through this journey.

Cancer can be caused by many factors. Carcinogens, toxins, UV rays and even heredity can play a role in some types of cancer. The cause of some cancers still remains unknown. In a normal cell, the speed and timing of cell growth, division and death is controlled. When a normal cell is damaged by some of these triggers there is a loss of control that typically governs normal cell cycles.

Normally, when something goes wrong, a damaged cell will repair itself or die through a process called apoptosis. When there is damage to the cell’s DNA, which controls normal cell cycles, the result is a cell that reproduces over and over again without control. The immune system will recognize some of these damaged cells and stop their growth. The cells that escape reproduce and can eventually create billions of copies of the original damaged cell. These copies pile up and form a mass of cancerous tissue called a tumor. There are many different types of cancers; however, not all of them are characterized by a mass. Hematological cancers, such as leukemia and plasma cell myeloma, involve the blood and blood-forming organs.

There are more than 200 different types of cancer that all require specialized treatments.

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Written by blueroselady

July 9, 2009 at 4:24 am

Posted in sciences, study

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