Many diseases have traditionally posed significant threats to people all over the world. On the other hand, pathology diseases pose a substantial threat to the health sector, especially cancer, which has no known cure. There are over 100 different types of cancer, and other therapies operate based on the patient’s body condition and stage of the disease (Rizzo, 2015). Cancer is characterized as an irregular growth of a cell within the body that increases abnormally (Rizzo, 2015). Genetics is the most common cause of cancer, but other factors such as diet may also contribute to the disease. Cancer is well-known for to affect anyone, whether young or old. However, in most people, cancer is detected when it is too late when the abnormal cells have spread adversely. It can also be sometimes misdiagnosed, resulting in late treatment and can cause death.
According to Sherwood (2015), cancer has posed threat over the last 50 years. Since its discovery, there has been no vaccine against it, neither specific drugs have been identified for curing the disease. However, through cancer awareness programs, people have presently gained knowledge on cancer, becoming more informed. Through the many years, with the different types of cancers, detecting the disease by the doctors has been fast and many cancer patients accept their condition and start treatment as soon they have been diagnosed with the disease. Additionally, not all cancer cases lead to death. If cancer is detected early enough and treated, the therapies can help cure the disease (Sherwood,2015).
1.0 Causes of Cancer
Most types of cancers are caused by environmental factors, the lifestyle, genes as well as the behavioral exposures. Substances such as alcohol have been linked to cancer. According to Siegel et al. (2014), 80% of lung cancer is caused by tobacco smoking. Another causal factor of cancer is diet and physical inactivity. Diet with low vegetables and fruits, but large portions of red meat is also linked to cancer (Wellington,2015).Additionally, the lack of exercise has adverse effects on the body’s immune system, the endocrine system, and the overall body weight. A diet with high levels of salt is associated with gastric cancer. Globally, about 18% of the deaths caused by cancer are related to infectious diseases (Wellington,2015).Viruses such as oncovirus often cause cancer.
Further, parasites such as Clonorchis sinensis, bacteria such as gastric carcinoma and exposure to radiation or physical contact with substances such as wollastonite are said to cause cancer(Siegel et al., 2014). There are hereditary genes that cause cancer, especially gene mutations of breast cancer, although most types of cancer are nonhereditary. Another causal factor of cancer is hormones as they influence and enhance cell proliferation. Growth factors that are insulin-related often play a major role in cell differentiation, which suggests possible carcinogenesis.(Wellington,2015)
1.1 Signs and Symptoms. There are key signs and symptoms of cancer which depend on the type of probable disease. Changes in the lymph nodes can be a sign of leukemia, trouble during swallowing can be associated with stomach cancer, drastic weight loss, serious heart burns or indigestion, breathlessness, blood in the poo or looser poo can indicate colon cancer, persistent mouth ulcers, an unusual swelling anywhere in the body. Breast pain and changes in the nipple may be signs of breast cancer. Additionally, certain changes in the skin color are said to be associated with skin cancer.
1.2 Diagnosis. Cancer is diagnosed by oncologists after tests on blood and tissues are carried out, which examine cell proteins, the DNA, and the RNA. Additionally, in some cases, a scan is performed and in checking breast cancer, a mammogram is performed to examine any changes in the breast.
2.0 Prevention of Cancer
According to Bosset et al. (2014), the risk of one developing cancer can be prevented through changing the lifestyle and adoption of a healthy behavior. The choice of the grocery and fruits taken is not an automatic guarantee in the prevention of cancer, but nevertheless, the risk of having cancer can be thus greatly reduced. A healthy diet constitutes of plenty fruits of various varieties, vegetables as well as whole grains. It is highly recommended that one should take white meat rather than red meat so as to stay healthy. Body weight should be checked to reduce obesity by taking food with low-calorie levels. Alcohol consumption should also be regulated as liver cancer is associated with high intake of alcohol over a long period of time. The intake of large quantities of processed meat increases the risk of having cancer (Bosset et al.2014). Therefore, the quantity intake of processed meat should be reduced. Further, avoiding substances such as tobacco can help prevent lung cancer as well as avoiding contact with cancer causing agents such as chemicals and radiation. Physical exercise is essential to keep the body fit. A healthy weight reduces the risk of colon and kidney cancer. It is recommended to participate in both vigorous and moderate physical activity at least daily for 30 minutes (Bosset et al.,2014). Frequent cancer screenings and being vaccinated against HPV is also a preventive measure against cancer.
3.0 Treatment of Cancer
Cancer can be treated in different ways, including chemotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy, and radiotherapy. The latter is used to kill the cancer cells and slow down their growth through destroying their DNA. When the DNA is killed, the cells stop dividing and die. There are two types of radiotherapy, which are the external and internal beam. For the former one, a machine which sends the radiations to the specific part is used externally. Internal beam, a liquid or capsule with radiation is taken in the body and spreads to the specific organ to kill the cancer cells (Bosset et al., 2014). Chemotherapy is a medication used to make the tumor smaller before surgery. It can also destroy remaining cancer cells after a surgery or after radiotherapy, kills cancer cells that have spread widely in the body and enhances other treatments to work better.
3.1. Cancer Prognosis. Prognosis refers to an estimate of the type, stage of cancer, and speculated survival (Siegel et al., 2014). Obtaining information regarding the stage and treatment of cancer is often a personal decision. Prognosis is estimated by the use of statistics. The survival estimates can be evaluated by the percentage of cancer survivors who have lived 1-5 years (Siegel et al., 2014). It can also be estimated by the number of patients who have survived at a specific stage and the number of cancer patients who do not show any signs of cancer. Many doctors often share the statistics about survival on the number of cancer patients as well as discuss the differences between complete cure and remission.
Cancer epidemiology refers to the study of the distribution of cancer by sex, by age as well as its prevalence. For example, in Canada, the mortality rate of the sites of malignancy was found to be almost identical for male and female 25 years ago (Siegel et al., 2014). Recently, there has been an increase of cancer in males and a significant decline of cancer in females. Additionally, the cancer mortality of the respiratory system has been a major factor in increasing cancer mortality rates. Migration has also changed the pattern of cancer prevalence. The exposure to chemicals has been an important epidemiology method that helps to gain more knowledge on cancer.
5.0. Effect of Cancer on Homeostasis
Cancer disturbs homeostasis since as the cancer cells divide, they need more oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, the cancer cells compete with normal cells to get nutrients for an active division. Since the cancer cells divide more, they absorb nutrients more, causing the normal cells to starve. As the tumor grows, it attracts blood vessels in a process known as angiogenesis, thus competing with the somatic cells (Bosset et al., 2014).
Bosset, J. F., Calais, G., Mineur, L., Maingon, P., Stojanovic-Rundic, S., Bensadoun, R. J., … & Marchal, D. (2014). Fluorouracil-based adjuvant chemotherapy after preoperative chemoradiotherapy in rectal cancer: long-term results of the EORTC 22921 randomised study. The Lancet Oncology, 15(2), 184-190.
Rizzo, D. C. (2015). Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology. Cengage Learning.
Sherwood, L. (2015). Human physiology: from cells to systems. Cengage learning.
Siegel, R., Ma, J., Zou, Z., & Jemal, A. (2014). Cancer statistics, 2014. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians, 64(1), 9-29.
Wellington, K. W. (2015). Understanding cancer and the anticancer activities of naphthoquinones–a review. RSC Advances, 5(26), 20309-20338.