What does cancer feel like?
“Cancer” is a collective concept, a common name for a huge group of diseases that are united by one common feature – the way out of control of the processes of cells growth and reproduction (division). In the process of oncology disease development, one of the cells of the body changes and begins an endless process of reproducing of its kind.
To date, more than 100 types of this health disorder are known. As a rule, they are called after the organ from which they originate, for example, the primary lung tumor will be called “lung cancer”. Sometimes additional refinements are applied, depending on the specific type of tissue from which the lesion originated. For example, “squamous cell lung growth” is a subtype of lung cancer that has evolved from the squamous epithelium lining the bronchial lumen. This is important when choosing a method of treatment.
In addition, those lesions can be divided into solid (“hard”), cells of which form a tumor mass and tumors of the hematopoietic and lymphatic systems (hemoblastosis), which initially occur as systemic diseases, i.e. involving more than one organ. For example, in case of leukemia, it originates from bone marrow cells, go into the bloodstream and circulate through the body with blood flow.
Classically, the word “cancer” refers to lesions originating from the epithelium of the skin or mucous membranes.
Many normal cells have the ability to divide, but these processes occur consistently and stop or slow down when the need for the formation of new cells disappears. For example, skin injury stimulates the acceleration of the process of dividing the cells forming the skin. As the wound closes, the rate of cell division slows down to the level needed only to renew aging cells.
In case of a tumor development everything changes. Its cells divide almost independently of external signals (autonomously), as mutations accumulate, they become less and less like normal ones, their former functions are lost, instead only one function remains – reproduction. Tumor cells begin to actively absorb nutrients, grow and multiply. Over time, they begin to displace normal cells, acquire the ability to invasive growth (which means germination in other tissues and blood vessels) and metastasis (spread through the body with blood, lymph, along the vessels and nerves, and so on).
The cause of abnormal cells generation (oncogenesis) results from some mutations in the DNA – violations in the genetic code of the cell, which affected by external factors (for example, carcinogenic substances, oncogenic viruses, and so on) or during natural cell division.
Thus, this health disorder is a genetic disease, which means that it occurs as a result of the development of damage in certain genes. These damages can be inherited from parents – modern oncology has been known to develop family malignant neoplasms of the breast, ovary, colon, and so on. However, they most often occur by chance (“sporadic mutations”) in the course of a person’s life.