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What is cancer?

What is cancer?

No, cancer is not a death sentence, but instead is a rapid proliferation of cells in the body. In basic terms, this just means it is an uncontrollable division of abnormal cells. It is essential to understand that we all have cancer cells in our body, however the normal biological functioning of the body detects these abnormal cells and kills them immediately. Our beautifully constructed immune system is the hero in this process and our immunity poses as a defense mechanism, commonly known to be our second line of defense (skin being the first), while detecting and destroying the ones that seem unfamiliar. Also called apoptosis or cell suicide.

As cells divide, multiply and are replaced about 300 billion times every single day in the human body, we are bound to produce many abnormal ones that don’t belong to the pack. In a normal situation they are then quickly detected and killed, however some escape the process mainly because our defense mechanism, A.K.A immunity does not do a very good job. This is when these abnormal cells start making a place for itself, creating its own nutritional and blood supply in a process named angiogenesis. New cells are born in what becomes a cluster of cells and a mass of tissue known as neoplasm and to us more commonly as a tumor. The tumor grows if untreated, directly invades nearby tissues and or metastasizes to various parts of the body to form malignant cells within that area as well. This is known to be secondary tumors, while the cancer of primary origin is where it first originated. In some cases, the cancer of primary origin cannot be detected. All tumors are not malignant and not all cancers are in the form of tumors such as a lymph cancer known to be lymphomas or blood borne cancers, which are leukemia’s.

It is necessary to point out that cancer is a slow growing disease. Contrary to what is believed, cancer cells take many years to become malignant and form tumors. Some are rapid and become detectable in a few months or years however many cancers are growing in the body for approximately 5 – 10 years and sometimes even longer before finally diagnosed as malignant. Therefore, it is most likely that cancer has been in the body for a substantial amount of time already, however there some cancers that are aggressive in nature and spread more rapidly.

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