Feb 9, Explanations about what cancer is, how cancer cells differ from normal cells, and genetic changes that cause cancer to grow and spread. Dec 8, It starts when cells grow out of control and crowd out normal cells. When cancer cells spread, it’s called metastasis (meh-TAS-tuh-sis). Some types of cancer are best treated with surgery; others respond better to drugs called chemotherapy (key-mo-THER-uh-pee). Cancer is when abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way. Some cancers may eventually spread into other tissues. There are more than different types of.
Is Cancer? What
Lymphomas and leukemias are examples of "liquid tumors" - or cancers present in body fluids the blood and bone marrow , and are detectable by blood laboratory tests. However, they may release chemicals that are detectable in body fluids. A person with prostate cancer, for example, may have an elevated level of Prostate-specific Antigen, or PSA, in the blood stream. Cancer can occur anywhere in the body. Any area of the body that you can name can be the target area for a cancer.
Some cancers even arise in parts of the body that only contained structures when that person was just an embryo -- only weeks after conception! Cancer cells - those abnormal cells that have lost the ability to stop growing - arise from cells that used to be normal components of organs and tissues.
What causes cells to become cancerous? Cells grow abnormally because of environmental factors such as cigarette smoking or radiation exposure , dumb luck, and as yet unexplained causes. And "just dumb luck" explains the majority of cancers. Cancer cells continue to grow unless one of four things occurs: This last event, while extremely rare, can occur with some melanomas a type of skin cancer or some kidney cancers. In some cases, this may be the right thing to do.
Older adults in particular are more prone to experience the side effects of therapy; if those side effects outweigh the potential benefit of therapy or the potential harm of living with cancer, then the proposed therapy may not really be of benefit. This is where the notion of "quality of life" becomes important. Alternatively, a person may be ideologically opposed to therapy; for that individual, letting the cancer grow might be the right thing to do.
In other cases, letting the cancer grow may not be the right thing to do. Monoclonal antibodies, which are now used to treat a few cancers, will become increasingly important in the future. Sometimes only one of these methods of treatment is used for a cancer.
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This mechanism helps prevent them from entering the blood stream. However, metastatic cells have developed mutations that allow them to survive without being attached by adhesion molecules. In the Blood Once tumor cells have successfully entered the blood stream, they face an entirely new challenge: Most cells, including tumor cells, are not designed to survive the stresses of the blood system.
One of the primary ways in which tumor cells survive this transit is by using platelets to act as shields. Platelets are small blood cells that can surround the cancer cells and protect them from both the force of blood flow and attacks from immune cells.
Out of the Blood Extravasation, or exit from the blood vessel, is the final leg of the tumor cell's journey through the circulatory system. In some cases, tumor cells, which are often larger than blood cells, get stuck in the capillary bed of a distant organ. A capillary bed is the network of small blood vessels that are too narrow for the tumor cells to get through. Here they can continue to grow until they burst through the vessel. In other cases, extravasion is more specific.
Tumor cells are often drawn to certain organs based on their adhesion molecules' abilities to bind to certain organ tissues better than others. Breast cancer cells are capable of interacting with an adhesion molecule specifically present on cells of the lung see section below on Organ Targeting.
The changes in cell behavior that occur as cancer develops are, in part, dependent on changes in physical properties of the cells. Some of the changes have been identified and may be used to identify cancer cells.
Tumor cells display a characteristic set of features that distinguish them from normal cells. These traits allow the individual cells to form a tumor mass and eventually to metastasize to other parts of the body. We will briefly consider the changes that affect cell functions and then discuss some of the capabilities that must be acquired by the tumors as a whole to enable them to grow and spread.
A wide range of changes occur during the transformation of a normal cell to a cell capable of forming a cancerous growth. There are also detectable changes in the physical properties of the cells. These changes include the following:. The distribution and activity of components in the cell infrastructure, namely microfilaments and microtubules, may change.
These alterations change the ways in which the cell interacts with neighboring cells and alter the appearance of the cells. Changes in the cytoskeleton also affect cell adhesion and movement motility. The reduction of cell: As described in the section on cell division , cancer cells are able to continue to grow even when surrounded by other cells. The alterations in cell adhesion also impact on the ability of the cells to move.
Cancer cells must be able to move and migrate in order to spread, and cell adhesion plays a major role in regulating cell movement. The shape and organization of the nuclei of cancer cells may be markedly different from that of the nuclei of normal cells of the same origin. This change in appearance may be useful in the diagnosis and staging of tumors.
What to know about cancer
Nov 12, Cancer is the uncontrolled development of cells. After heart disease, it is the second most common cause of death in the United States. Cancer is a group of more than different diseases. It can develop almost anywhere in the freshtag.me cancer beginsCells are the basic units that make up the. When kids get cancer, it can often be treated and cured. Find out more in this article for kids.