What is cancer?

Whoa, just the mention of the word, cancer, is cause for pause and is something most of us would rather avoid. But, like it or not, it’s part of our world. Who, among us hasn’t known someone with cancer, are related to someone with cancer or sadly, known someone who may have succumbed to the ravages of cancer?  What is it?

The division of cells in our bodies is quite normal. Cells divide for two reasons; they divide for purposes of growth, or they divide for purposes of repair.  An example of cell growth might be longer bones as an infant grows. An example of repair might be skin cells which were damaged by overexposure to the sun. Gals, that sun feels so good and the tan may look so good; but take care and use a sunscreen. The most common cancer is skin cancer.

Cancer cells are cells which divide uncontrollably, not for growth or repair, they just divide and keep on dividing and growing in an out-of-control way. When they grow uncontrolled, they form a solid mass sometimes-a tumor. The tumor pressing on other structures is what gives cancer many of its side effects. The pressure of a tumor on the lungs because of lung cancer might cause shortness of breath, or pressure on a nerve might cause nerve pain. In blood cancers like leukemia, cancer cells are flooded into the bloodstream.

Many medications used to treat cancer are targeted at starving them to death. Others are aimed at freezing them to death. There are other medications that are aimed at preventing their metastasis (spreading to other parts of the body).

Advertisements

About Annie

My 20 year nursing career ended when i was diagnosed with lupus. So, I began another career as a freelance writer and advocate for people with chronic illnesses.[wpforms id="12089"] anowlin@mac.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s