Cancer: An Overview
Cancer is not a single disease. Rather, the term refers to a group of diseases that involves abnormal cell growth. These cells have an invasive potential, they can spread to other body parts. Cancer cells undergo unregulated growth. As a result, these cells form a mass or lump. The process in which a normal cell is converted to a mass of cancer cells is termed malignant progression. Some of the key characteristics of cancer cells are the absence of proper cellular signals, continuous growth, and division, increased blood vessel formation, and invasion of surrounding tissues.
Causes of Cancer
Multiple causative factors can lead to many different types of cancer. Tobacco leads the chart, it is believed that about 22 percent of the deaths worldwide are caused because of cancer. Other leading causes of cancer include obesity, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle. Less common causes of cancers include radioactive radiation and infections like EBV and HIV. Infections leading to cancers are a theme that is more common in developing countries. Genetic defects are another causative factor for cancer, however, the incidence of such an event is low i.e. only 5-10%.
Cancer: Signs & Symptoms
In the beginning, cancer doesn’t produce any noticeable symptoms. However, as the cancerous mass of cells grows, signs and symptoms began becoming prominent. These symptoms vary with different types of cancers. For example, lung cancer involves blockage of the bronchus leading to pulmonary conditions like pneumonia. Similarly, one of the typical symptoms of esophageal cancer is narrowing the esophagus itself. Bleeding observed in many cancer patients is primarily because of ulceration.
Types of Cancer
As we discuss some of the most common types of cancer in the following lines, you should know that there are more than one hundred types of disorders that have been classified as cancers. However, owing to the limitations of time and space, we are going to discuss only a few major types of cancer.
This is cancer that starts developing in the bone marrow cells. Plasma cells are a type of cells found in our immune system. When abnormal plasma cells form in the bone marrow, they can form tumors in pretty every bone in our body.
This type of cancer forms in the white blood cells called lymphocytes. This type of cancer is further divided into two types i.e. Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Melanocytes are the cells that give our skin its characteristic color. Melanoma is the type of cancer that begins in the melanocytes.
This refers to cancers that form in the blood-forming tissues of the bone marrow. A major distinction between lymphomas and leukemias is that lymphomas are solid cancers while leukemia is liquid blood cancers. Leukemia is further divided into four different types. Leukemia can be acute or chronic.
Chemotherapy: The Major Cancer Treatment
Chemotherapy is a treatment in which medicines are used to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is either intravenous or oral. More often than not, chemotherapy involves using a combination of medicines. In adults 60 years of age or younger than that, 2 to 4 rounds of the intermediate or a high dose of the cytarabine are given. The most suitable number of cycles for different individuals and the precise dosage of the chemotherapeutic drug is still a debatable point. An intermediate dose of the cytarabine is administered in the patients who have leukemic cells with a more favourable genetic risk profile. The cure rate is 60% to 70% in these patients. However, outcomes are still very dissatisfying in patients who are older than 60 years of age. According to the current recommendations, patients with good performance status and favourable-risk ELN genetic profiles are treated with an intermediate dose of the cytarabine-based regimen. This kind of therapy would not be beneficial for patients with an unfavourable genetic risk and other clinically important comorbidities. The results of this kind of treatment are also very dire in patients with intermediate-risk genetic factors with a cure rate of 10% to 15%.
A Bit about Transparent Hands
Transparent Hands is Pakistan’s biggest crowdfunding platform. It offers a complete range of free healthcare services including medical and surgical treatments, medical camps, and telehealth facilities to the underprivileged community of Pakistan. The platform provides visibility to underprivileged patients and builds a personal and trusted bond between patients and donors while ensuring complete transparency. It also sets up free medical camps in the rural areas of Pakistan in which, free medical consultation, free medicines, and free diagnostic tests are provided to deserving patients. Donors from all over the world can use the Transparent Hands crowdfunding web portal and donate through 100% secure payment modes. They could select any patient, fund the treatment and receive regular feedback and updates until the patient has recovered completely.
Sarcoma: A Key Type of Cancer Treated by Transparent Hands
Sarcoma is a term used to describe a group of cancers that begins in the soft tissues of the body, for example, the connective tissues. Some of these issues include muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, and different joint linings. Some of the symptoms that give a clue to sarcoma include lump formation, pain in bones, abdominal pain, and weight loss. A key causative factor for sarcomas is genetic mutations. Apart from that, certain risk factors also increase the chances of the development of sarcoma. These risk factors include inherited syndromes, chronic swellings, exposure to certain chemicals and viruses.
That would be all from this discussion. It is believed that annually, cancer causes around 9 million deaths worldwide. These numbers are increasing with every day passing. Our plan to fight cancer should also evolve in light of these figures. There is a serious need for novel treatments since conventional cancer treatments are expensive, and lose their efficacy after a certain period of treatment. With the hope that may we find the magical solution to this major health challenge, we bid you farewell from this space.