Cancer is a disease that affects cells of the body. Cells are extremely small units that build together and form all living things, which include human beings. In any given person’s body, you will find billions of cells.
Cancer occurs when unusual and abnormal cells grow and spread very quickly. Normal cells in the body divide, grow to a certain size and then stop. Over the course of time, cells will even die. Cancer cells do not follow this normal pattern of division and growth, however. They divide very quickly and just continue to grow. Normally, cancer cells do not die and they clump together in groups to form what are called tumors.
The cancer cells in a tumor can damage and destroy surrounding healthy body tissues. When these healthy tissues are damaged and destroyed, the person with the tumor can become very sick.
Cancer is capable to spreading to other parts of the body, as well. It is not unusual for part of a tumor to break off and travel to a distant area. Once that piece of the tumor comes to a stop in another area of the body, it will continue to grow and can create a new tumor. When cancer spreads like this, it is called metastasis.
When in the body, cancer can cause a person to feel very sick. Since early detection is a big factor in treatment, it is good to be aware of the signs of this disease. Some signs of cancer include:
- A lump in the breast or testicles
- A change in the skin, a wart or a mole
- Persistent sore throat that doesn’t heal
- A significant change in bladder and bowel movements
- Coughing blood or a persistent cough that won’t stop
- Indigestion and trouble swallowing
- Unusual bleeding or vaginal discharge
- Chronic fatigue
Many of these symptoms can be from other illnesses which are not as serious as cancer. However, if you are ever faced with any of the symptoms above, it might be a good idea to see your family physician right away. Although the exact cause of cancer is still somewhat of a mystery, it is known that cancer is not contagious. You cannot catch cancer like you can the common cold. Unhealthy habits like smoking and excess drinking can increase your chances of getting cancer, but doctors aren’t sure why some people get this serious disease and others do not.
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