cancer

Families who are affected by cancer, is often a long ordeal. The sufferer and his family run through phases of hope, of negotiating with God, despair and inner retreat. These phases strain on the patients up to the limit of the possible. Nothing is like before, the future is uncer-tain, the time undetermined, nothing makes sense no more. The life collapses. A family with a cancer patient is emotionally heavy burdened, particullary if it concerns a child. All family members need support, guidance and education about the phases they are going through and the impact on every person of the family.

Cancer is fundamentally a disease of tissue growth regulation failure. In order for a normal cell to transform into a cancer cell, the genes which regulate cell growth and differentiation must be altered. Possible signs include: a new lump, abnormal bleeding, a prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowl movements, among others. While these symptoms may indicate cancer they may also occur due to other issues. There are over 100 different known cancers that affect humans. Many cancers can be prevented by not smoking, eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, eating less meat and refined carbohydrates, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, minimizing sunlight exposure, and being Vaccinated against certain infectious diseases. Early detection through screening is useful for cervical and colorectal cancer. The benefits of screening in breast cancer are controversial. Cancer is often treated with some combination of radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Pain and symptom management are an important part of care. Palliative care is particularly important in those with advanced disease. The chance of survival depends on the type of cancer and extent of disease at the start of treatment. In children under 15 at diagnosis the five year survival rate in the developed world is on average 80%. For cancer in the United States the average five year survival rate is 66%.

Replication of the enormous amount of data contained within the DNA of living cells will probabilistically result in some errors (mutations). Complex error correction and prevention is built into the process, and safeguards the cell against cancer. If significant error occurs, the damaged cell can “self-destruct” through programmed cell death, termed apoptosis. If the error control processes fail, then the mutations will survive and be passed along to daughter cells.
Some environments make errors more likely to arise and propagate. Such environments can include the presence of disruptive substances called carcinogens, repeated physical injury, heat, ionising radiation, or hypoxia.
The transformation of normal cell into cancer is akin to a chain reaction caused by initial er-rors, which compound into more severe errors, each progressively allowing the cell to escape the controls that limit normal tissue growth. The progression from normal cells to cells that can form a discernible mass to outright cancer involves multiple steps known as malignant progression. 

This rebellion-like scenario becomes an undesirable survival of the fittest, where the driving forces of evolution work against the body’s design and enforcement of order. Once cancer has begun to develop, this ongoing process, termed clonal evolution drives progression to-wards more invasive stages. Characteristic abilities developed by cancers are divided into a number of categories. 

Six categories were originally proposed, in a 2000 article called “The Hall marks of Cancer” by Douglas Hanahan and Robert Weinberg: evasion of apoptosis, self-sufficiency in growth signals, insensitivity to anti-growth signals, sustained angiogenesis, limitless replicative po-tential, and metastasis. Based on further work, the same authors added two more categories in 2011: reprogramming of energy metabolism and evasion of immune destruction. 

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