What is Cancer Mean?
What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease that begins to occur in one organ or tissue in the body due to abnormal cells growing out of control, attacking the surrounding area or spreading to other organs. The disease is recorded to cause the second most deaths in the world.
Basically, the body consists of trillions of cells scattered in each organ. These cells grow, develop, age and die, then are again replaced by new cells. Unfortunately, cells can work abnormally without control.
Abnormal cells experience errors in the system, so that damaged cells do not die by themselves. The cell continues to multiply and multiply itself as aggressively as possible until the number is no longer controllable.
This excessive number of cells can accumulate, causing tumors. That is why, cancer is also called malignant tumors. However, benign tumors are different from cancer.
This abnormal cell disease has many types. So there are various cancers based on the affected cells, including:
- Carcinoma: Abnormal cells that attack abnormal epithelial cells, which are cells that line the surface of the skin, blood vessels, urinary tract, and organs.
- Sarcoma: This disease comes from cells that form in the soft tissues of the body, such as muscles, tendons, fats, blood vessels, nerves, and tissues around the joints.
- Lymphoma: Lymphoma is a cancer cell that occurs in T cells or B cells, i.e. white blood cells that are part of the immune system.
- Leukemia: Abnormal cells that begin in the blood-forming tissues in the bone marrow.
- Multiple myeloma: Multiple myeloma disease that originates from plasma cells, another type of immune cell.
- Melanoma: Melanoma is what occurs in melanocyte cells, which are melanin-making cells (substances that give skin color).
- Cancer of the brain and spine: Abnormal cells that form in the central nervous system.
- Other types of cancer: For example, cancer cells that attack the egg, sperm cells, cells that release hormones into the blood (neuroendocrine), and cells in the digestive system.
Is cancer contagious?
Diseases caused by abnormal cells do not include infectious diseases. In fact, if it occurs in pregnant women, most do not affect the fetus. Rarely, cases of melanoma in the mother can spread cancer cells to the placenta and fetus.
How common is this disease?
The disease is very common and affects all ages. According to the Ministry of Health, Riskesdas data shows the prevalence of cancer in Indonesia increased from 1.4 per 1000 inhabitants in 2013 to 1.79 per 1000 inhabitants in 2018.
The most common types of attacking women are breast cancer and cervical cancer.
While in men, the most common types of attack are prostate cancer and lung cancer. Then, what often attacks the child is leukemia.
Based on WHO data, the most common types of causing death are lung cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms of cancer?
People who experience this disease, do not necessarily show symptoms in the early stages. Generally, symptoms will appear when the disease has entered the advanced stage, namely stage 2, 3, and 4.
Each symptom is shown, determining the type of cancer it has. The following symptoms of cancer in the body are generally felt are:
- Weight loss for no reason.
- Fever that arises and relapses.
- The body is exhausted and does not also improve.
- Pain or pain in certain areas of the body.
- The skin undergoes darker discoloration (hyperpigmentation), reddened skin, yellowed skin and whites, and overgrown skin.
- Wounds appear in the mouth, penis, or vagina that do not heal.
- Cancer lumps appear reddened, enlarged, and cause pain.
- Coughing up blood, bleeding, bloody urine, and unusual vaginal bleeding.
The above symptoms may appear in children, adults, and the elderly. However, specific symptoms such as vaginal bleeding only occur in women.
When to see a doctor?
If you experience any of the above symptoms and do not improve within 1 or 2 weeks, see a doctor immediately. If your doctor suspects the symptoms to be cancerous, you will be referred to a specialist/cancer specialist or oncologist.
Clinically, oncologists are divided into several categories and all you need to know are:
- Medical oncology that acts as the primary doctor during treatment.
- Radiation oncology that handles abnormal cells with radiotherapy.
- Surgical oncology in charge of treating abnormal cells with surgical procedures.
- Gynecological oncology treats abnormal cells associated with the female reproductive system.
- Pediatric oncology specializes in cancer treatment in newborns up to the age of 18.
- Hematological oncology is responsible for treating blood-related cancers in the body.
What causes cancer?
The main cause of the disease is changes in dna in cells (mutations). The DNA in the cell contains a number of genes that each have a series of command systems to work, divide, die, and update.
However, the system is problematic and stops the normal functioning of the cells, thus becoming abnormal. The occurrence of this gene mutation error can be caused by inherited genes of parents and this is referred to as a common cause of cancer in children.
These problematic gene mutations can also be triggered by other factors. From exposure to cancer-triggering chemicals (carcinogens), radiation, cigarette smoke, viruses, obesity related to unhealthy food choices and infrequent exercise, to other changes that affect the body’s hormones or biological clock.
People with cancer can have more than one type and this is called secondary cancer or metastatic tumors. This condition indicates the spread to other organs, either simultaneously or even after the main type is cured.
The cancer is separated from the main type and spreads to other organs through blood vessels or lymph vessels (metastases).
For example, a person with breast cancer as the primary cancer. Gradually, these abnormal cells can spread to other organs, such as the lungs. Although, it is located in a different organ (lung), but the cancer cells are the same cells as those in the breast.
In Indonesia and other countries, the number of people with this disease continues to increase. According to some studies, this increase is influenced by certain habits that trigger cells to become abnormal, such as smoking, foods with a risk of carcinogens, and infections.
What increases the risk of developing cancer?
There are various factors that make a person more susceptible to abnormal changes in the cells of his body. The following risk factors of cancer are:
- Age. The disease may take time for the body. Therefore, most are diagnosed at the age of 65 years or older. Age may also cause the body’s cells to experience system errors.
- Bad habits. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure, obesity, and unsafe sex can be uncontrollable factors.
- Family history. In most cases, abnormal cell problems are decreased, i.e. inherited from the family.
- Health condition. Certain conditions such as inflammation of the intestines can cause cells in the intestine to become abnormally uncontrollable.
- Environment. Exposure to chemicals, such as benzene at home or work can increase the risk of the disease.