A lot of things run through the mind of a person when a diagnosis of cancer is made.
Cancer thought by many people in our environment is a spiritual attack or punishment for wrong deeds. To some people it’s a mystery and to others a death sentence.
Cancer simply put is when ‘good cells go bad’. It could also be as a result of when tissue/cells are in wrong location that is not in their normal sites.
A cancer cell on its own doesn’t become malignant unless it is repeatedly exposed to the environment like exposure to U.V light, cigarette smoke, infective organisms, toxins, chemicals etc
A normal cell has a nucleus (power house of the cell) which contains chromosomes that are made up of genes. Genes are made up of numerous double helical structures, DNA, that have on each strand materials which codes for our genetic makeup. When there’s a change in the arrangement of these substances, there is a change in genetic information therefore producing bad protein needed for cellular growth. As this continues, there is abnormal cell growth and proliferation.
There are six hallmarks of a cancer cell:
• Generation of own growth signal freeing them from growth constraints normal cells have.
• Ignores signal not to grow like normal cells.
• Evading apoptosis (programmed cell death): Cancer cells have acquired the ability to stay alive unlike normal cells that receive message when their time is up.
• Limitless replication potential
• Tissue invasion/metastasis: The ultimate achievement of cancer cells. This is when cells are able to invade surrounding and distant tissue. It is responsible for 90% of all human cancer deaths.
• Sustained angiogenesis: Angiogenesis is the process by which blood vessels are formed. Cancer cells can trigger this process which allows the tumour sustain itself.
These hallmarks have created pathways for cancer treatment.
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