In recent years Cancer is disease that has seemed to captivate and frighten Americans. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. with more than 1 million new cases occurring a year. With each day scientific findings aid a better understanding of the causes of the disease. These findings have opened doors to help treat cancer patients more effectively. Scientists have gained a more specific knowledge of individual cancers and now through the wonders of science have found effective treatments for the disease.
To treat Cancer doctors and scientist need an understanding of what the disease actually physically does. Cancer is defined as “new growth of tissue resulting from a continuing proliferation of abnormal cells that have the ability to invade and destroy other tissues.” Cancer is not restricted to what type of cell and tissue it may emerge from. Therefore, they describe the disease as a large number of diseases as opposed to just on single disease.
Because Cancer involves cells that can easily enter the bloodstream the disease has the ability to spread rapidly throughout the body making it an even more dangerous disease.
Another factor in successful treatment of Cancer is to understand the causes for the disease. It is believed that a combination of several factors produce the disease. Inheritance
is said to play a roll in about 20 percent of Cancers. Although it is more prevalent in cancer types such as breast and colon. Viral infections play a large role in cancer of animals. In humans different DNA viruses can cause leukemia and Burkitt’s lymphoma. Long term radiation also plays a role in the mutation of DNA that may cause Cancer. Environmental factors are estimated to be responsible for about 80 percent Cancers. Factors such as tobacco smoking are said to cause 30 percent of cancers and diet is believed to cause about 40 percent. Only with a complete understanding of the physical characteristics and causes of Cancer can scientists and doctors begin to develop effective treatments.
Currently there are three major ways of treating Cancer; surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
The idea behind surgery for treatment of cancer patients is to remove all malignant cells and tumors. With new, more precise, surgical advances, far less tissue is required to be removed thus resulting in a quicker recovery and less chance for serious disability. Surgery is most effective if done in the early stages of Cancer, although it is effective in more developed stages in relieving symptoms. Surgery is also used to make other forms of treatment, such as radiation, more effective. With the reduction of the tumor through surgery radiation treatment may effectively eliminate the tumor.
Radiation treatment of cancer uses gamma rays attack Cancer causing tissue. Since tumors are more sensitive to radiation than normal tissue radiation can effectively eliminate or reduce harmful tissues that surgery can otherwise not remove. Since normal tissues are not as easily harmed by radiation, the negative effects on healthy tissue are not
as severe. If the tumor is reduced through radiation, it may become possible for a doctor to eliminate the tumor through surgery. Radiation can also sterilize tumors thus preventing or slowing the spread of the Cancer through the body. This can also help doctors remove the tumor more easily through surgery, and provides a much less involved, painful surgery. The combination of radiation and surgery, if effective, can offer a cure with fewer negative side effects to the patient.
The final traditional means of treating cancer is Chemotherapy. This form of treatment involves the use of drugs. Chemotherapy is used when Cancer has grown throughout the body and is no longer accessible through radiation or surgery. Although after chemotherapy, surgery is often used to eliminate remaining Caceres tissue. In this treatment drugs are administered and pass through the blood stream effecting Cancer tissue and healthy tissue. Since the drugs affect healthy tissue the patient will become sick from the treatment but because healthy cells divide faster than malignant cells the patient is able to recuperate. Chemotherapy, like all Cancer treatments, is most effective when administered early the early stages of the disease. It is also important that the treatment is consistent and administered frequently in order to achieve the most successful results.
Cancer is disease that has not only plagued American society, but the world for several decades. With new advances in science and technology humans inch closer to effective treatments of the disease. Presently, medical advances occur daily and bring new hope to the victims and potential victims of diseases like Cancer. In a world that
has had its fair share of ups and downs with technology, medical advances have proved not only interesting but useful. Without these advances in medical technology many lives would never have been saved and many more in great danger.
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