Friday, 26 June 2015

Cancer Challenges

Cancer is one of the leading cause of death in many countries and is accounted for about 65 million deaths worldwide. It occurs in most animals, many kinds of plants and human beings. It occurs equally in men and women and can attack any part of the body. Most of them are fatal without proper treatment.

In order of frequency, the 5 major type of cancer that kills

men:cancer of lung, stomach, liver, colorectal and esophagus                       

women:cancer of breast, lung, stomach, colorectal and cervical.

Cancer is a generic term used for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Malignant tumors and neoplasms are the other terms used for cancer. One special feature of cancer is the rapid growth of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries. These cells can then invade neighboring parts of the body and even travel to other organs, causing secondary growths or tumors- metastasis.

Carcinoma: Cancer of epithelial tissue, affects the skin and the linings of the internal organs.

Sarcoma: Cancer of the connective tissue, such as cartilage, muscle and bone.

Leukemia & Lymphoma: fluid cancer that affects the blood stream and the lymphatic system.
The 3 main methods of treating cancer include surgery, radiation therapy and drug therapy or chemotherapy. In several cases, treatment may be the combination of 2 or even 3 methods and is called combination therapy.

One third of cancers could be cured if detected early and treated properly. All patients in need of pain relief from cancer could be helped if current knowledge about pain control and palliative care were applied. About 30-35% of cancers can be prevented by not using tobacco, having a healthy diet, being physically active and preventing infections that may cause cancer.

With the advent of genomics (the branch of genetics that studies organisms in terms of their full DNA sequences), biologists are starting to learn why cancer is such a wily foe. To begin with, it is necessary to to realize the mutations that can turn cells cancerous and drive a tumor's growth take place in many diverse ways. It is this enormous diversity of mutations that gives these cancerous cells endless opportunities to outwit our defense mechanisms. Hence, by tracking these mutations, and targeting each of them with suitable drugs, we may able to bring cancer under control. It may be even possible to harness the human immune system, which is capable of mounting its own targeted responses, to keep the tumors in check.
Now biologists have been collecting new information about the molecular pathways that drive cancer. Once we throw away the notion that cancer is an automatically defined disease and focus on the molecular abnormalities. the entire perception and approach for treating cancer changes. Conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy work by being extremely toxic to dividing cells. While these treatments damage the fast growing tumor cells, they also have an adverse effect elsewhere in the body. The current trend is to get away from this model and understand the changes that occur in cancer that differentiate it from normal cells. Treatments may probably require cocktails of targeted drugs that will have to be adjusted as tumors mutate.
This new perspective has provided fertile ground for the growth of new classes of cancer therapies. Drugs like Avastin inhibit the formation of new blood vessels around cancer cells starving them of nourishment. Signal blockers like Everolimus interrupt communication among enzymes that regulate growth and development of a cancerous cell. Hormone blockers like Tamoxifen, useful in certain types of breast cancer, keep cells from dividing by binding to estrogen(general term for female sex hormones) receptors. Growth-factor inhibitors like Herceptin block a cancer cell's link to crucial proteins that help it divide and grow. A certain number of patients do not respond to any of the current treatments. Some types of cancer, like, pancreatic, ovarian and stomach, continue to have high mortality rate . Side effects, however, remain an issue, despite the ant-nausea medications now being very good. However, none of these advances mean that living with cancer is easy.

1 comment:

  1. One of such is Bone Cancer Chemotherapy Diagnosis. Chemotherapy can be used to treat soft tissue and bone cancer tumors. Thanks for sharing.