What is Cancer

Cancer, as a word meaning, is called malignant tumors that appear when cells in an organ or tissue divide and multiply irregularly. In general terms, cancer is a group of more than 100 diseases caused by the uncontrolled proliferation of cells in various parts of our body. Although there are many different types of cancer, they all start with the out-of-control proliferation of abnormal cells. If left untreated, it can cause serious illness and even death.

The term cancer was coined by the Greek physicist Hippocrates (460-370 BC), known as the father of medicine. Hippocrates used the terms carcinos and carcinoma for ulcer-forming and non-ulcer-forming tumors.

How Does a Normal Cell Turn into Cancer?

All cancer types develop from our cells, which are the body’s basic living unit. To understand cancer, it would be helpful to know how normal cells turn into cancer.

Healthy cells in our body have the ability to divide. However, this feature is not found in muscle and nerve cells. They use their abilities to regenerate dead cells and repair injured tissues. While cells divide faster in the first years of life, this rate slows down in adulthood. However, these abilities of cells are limited, they cannot divide indefinitely. Throughout its life, every cell has a certain number of divisibility. A healthy cell knows how much to divide, and it knows how to die when necessary. This is called apoptosis, or programmed death of the cell. Normally, the body needs cells to grow, divide and produce more cells in order to function properly. Sometimes, however, the process goes astray, and cells continue to divide without the need for new cells. Unconscious cancer cells begin to divide uncontrollably and multiply. Masses of excess cells form a size or tumor.

In the center of the cells, there are microscopic strands called DNA, which can be viewed with an electron microscope, in which the genetic information of the cell and the organism is stored. DNA is necessary for the cell to function normally. Cancerous cells are formed due to damage to this DNA strand. Even if there is DNA damage in the normal life cycle of the cell, the cell either repairs it or dies. In cancer cells, damaged DNA cannot be repaired and uncontrolled proliferation begins. DNA can be damaged by environmental factors (such as chemicals, viruses, tobacco products or excessive sunlight, etc.).

All cancer types develop from our cells, which are the body’s basic living unit. To understand cancer, it would be helpful to know how normal cells turn into cancer.

Healthy cells in our body have the ability to divide. However, this feature is not found in muscle and nerve cells. They use their abilities to regenerate dead cells and repair injured tissues. While cells divide faster in the first years of life, this rate slows down in adulthood. However, these abilities of cells are limited, they cannot divide indefinitely. Throughout its life, every cell has a certain number of divisibility. A healthy cell knows how much to divide, and it knows how to die when necessary. This is called apoptosis, or programmed death of the cell. Normally, the body needs cells to grow, divide and produce more cells in order to function properly. Sometimes, however, the process goes astray, and cells continue to divide without the need for new cells. Unconscious cancer cells begin to divide uncontrollably and multiply. Masses of excess cells form a size or tumor.

In the center of the cells, there are microscopic strands called DNA, which can be viewed with an electron microscope, in which the genetic information of the cell and the organism is stored. DNA is necessary for the cell to function normally. Cancerous cells are formed due to damage to this DNA strand. Even if there is DNA damage in the normal life cycle of the cell, the cell either repairs it or dies. In cancer cells, damaged DNA cannot be repaired and uncontrolled proliferation begins. DNA can be damaged by environmental factors (such as chemicals, viruses, tobacco products or excessive sunlight, etc.).

Cancer cells accumulate to form tumors. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not cancer. These are taken frequently and often do not recur. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. Most importantly, benign tumors are rarely life-threatening. Malignant tumors are cancer. Cells in malignant tumors are abnormal and divide uncontrollably and irregularly. These tumors can compress, infiltrate, or destroy normal tissues. If cancer cells leave the tumor where they formed, they can travel to other parts of the body via the blood or lymph circulation. They form tumor colonies where they go and continue to grow. The spread of cancer to other parts of the body in this way is called metastasis.

Source: https://hsgm.saglik.gov.tr/tr/kanser-nedir-belirtileri
Photo: https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-51395263

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