Cells: The Formation of Cancer

We have all heard of cancer. Cancer is a terrible tragedy and does not discriminate against its victims. The formation of cancer is a process. Like all processes, it can be reversed before a certain point. It can be prevented.

Cancer can come in many forms. The most common cancers in men are: prostate, bowel, melanoma, lung, & head and neck cancers. The most common cancers in women are: breast, bowel, melanoma, lung, & uterine cancers (Cancer Council, 2021). Other types of cancer include: lymphoma, leukemia, brain and colon cancer. Cancer can ultimately form anywhere in multicellular organisms in numerous ways.

But what is cancer? How does it come to be?

When cells go astray due to cellular mutation, cancer cells are born. Cancer cells can be defined as cells that just do not do their specialised job. They’re the outcast and they want to do their own thing. The dangerous fact about this is, cancer cells require a lot of energy. And they proliferate – or go through cell division – at an incredibly high rate. This throws off the balance of specialised cells.

The Undeniable Ratio
Let us say a cancer cell is created in the respiratory system: in the lungs. This cell needs twice the amount of energy as an ordinary cell, and goes through cell division at twice the rate. It can be inferred that after just one cell division, the ratio of specialised cells in lungs to other organ systems is a staggering 4:1 ratio. This means the energy required to keep these cancer cells alive has quadrupled. Two cell divisions makes this ratio 16:1. Sixteen times the amount of energy in just two divisions. Sixteen.

Eventually the number of cancer cells will come to outweigh the number of normal, specialised cells due to the cancer cells’ massive intake of energy, leaving a minuscule amount for the ordinary cells – quite often before the cancer is even detected. This results in the ordinary specialised cells being a minority and the cancer cells quite literally being in charge of an organ system. While they are excellent at cell division and can beat regular cells in a fight for energy, they’re not very good at running an organ system.

The Warning Signs of Cancer
The signs of cancer are crucial to know. They could literally mean the difference between life and death, for you or someone else. Common warning sign symptoms by the Cleveland Clinic (2021) include:
1. Change in bowel or bladder habits
2. A sore that does not heal
3. Unusual bleeding or discharge
4. Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere
5. Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
6. Obvious change in a wart or mole
7. Nagging cough or hoarseness

There are no cures for cancer at this point in time, however there are treatments and there are ways of knowing the signs of cancer before it’s too late. Book a checkup with your doctor today and know the signs.

Reference List:
Cancer Council (2021). What is cancer? [Accessed 1 April 2021]. Available at: https://www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/what-is-cancer

Cleveland Clinic (2021). Symptoms & Warning Signs of Cancer. [Accessed 1 April 2021]. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/cancer/patient-education/wellness-prevention/warning-signs

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Zac Cullen

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