What is Cancer?
Normally, the cells in our body grow, divide and die in a certain order. Cell division and proliferation, which is quite rapid until puberty, stabilizes after this period. After this stage, cells multiply only to repair cells that die or are injured by various factors. All these events take place in the body in a controlled manner. Cancer can be defined as cells that go out of control as a result of various factors, and that they constantly divide, multiply and differentiate. The main damage is in the DNA structure that controls all cell functions. DNA is the molecule in which the characters of living things are encoded.
-What is a tumor?
Continuously dividing and proliferating cells form masses that we define as tumors. However, there are also types of cancer that do not show tumors. In types such as leukemia, ie blood cancer, the cancer does not form as a tumor, but instead circulates as different cells in the blood and tissues. It would not be correct to define all tumors as cancer. Most benign tumors do not go far from their location and are rarely life threatening. However, malignant tumors often go far from their origin and pose a serious threat to life.
– What is metastasis? How does cancer spread? Is there any treatment to prevent it from spreading? Does it spread at the same rate in everyone with the same conditions (Age, Gender, Stage, etc.)? If no why?
Metastasis is when cancer cells go to a distant place in the body by mixing with the blood, mostly from the area where they originate, and multiply there. Cancer usually spreads through blood and lymph (fluid) vessels.
The most important factor preventing the spread is the destruction of the cancer at the place of origin. For this reason, the success of treatment of centers using advanced cancer treatment methods will result in a decrease in metastasis rates.
Not all tumors spread at the same rate. Some tumors like to spread far at the time of diagnosis. Others may remain regional for years. While the spread is more in young ages when the blood circulation and functioning of the body is faster, it is observed that the tendency of some tumors to metastasize decreases in advanced ages.
Why are there great differences between cancer types?
The factors, behavior and response to treatment of each cancer type are different. For example, lung cancers and breast cancers are two completely different types of cancer, and treatment options and survival rates differ according to cell differentiation and stages of the same cancer type.
The importance of early diagnosis is always mentioned. Is the difference clearly evident in patients?
Certainly. To give an example, the 5-year survival rate of patients with breast cancers detected at an early stage is over 90 percent, while this rate drops to 10-15 percent in late cases.
-Which types of cancer can be completely eliminated?
It is possible to completely eradicate the disease in some types of leukemia (blood cancer), lymph node cancers, and some types of male ovarian cancers such as uterine-cervical cancers and seminoma that are caught at an early stage. However, despite all treatment efforts, the disease cannot be eliminated, especially in the advanced stages of some types of cancer. Relapses and worsening can be seen in these. For this reason, taking measures to reduce the risk of cancer and early diagnosis are at least as important as treatment. For early diagnosis, we recommend a physical examination every 3 years between the ages of 20-40 and every year after the age of 40.
IS CANCER A PREVENTABLE DISEASE?
Although it is taken into account that about half of the patients diagnosed with new cancer in the last 30-40 years due to the developments in cancer treatment can recover from their disease, it cannot be denied that the number of patients diagnosed with cancer has doubled in the same time period, that is, in the last 40 years, and that almost half of the people are at risk of developing cancer. is a fact.
Despite the successes in treatment, only the patients and their relatives can know best the problems that the patients suffer due to years of practice. It is not even possible for those who have not experienced them to visualize them in their minds.
As with all diseases, prevention of cancer is much easier and cheaper than treatment. It is now known that cancer depends on environmental factors and lifestyle. Almost half of all cancers occur due to smoking and tobacco products use, malnutrition and lack of exercise. Elimination of these known factors and abandoning the use of substances known to cause cancer will be basic but very simple prevention methods to protect people from cancer.
For example, instead of fueling the consumption of cigarettes, which is an undeniable fact that it causes cancer, by some circles, keeping this substance away from this substance, which prepares the ground for cardiovascular diseases and causes death by creating many types of cancer, will eliminate smoking and tobacco-related cancers.
Malnutrition, that is, foods that are rich in calories, fat, low in pulp, burnt, salted, pickled, cooked many times, subjected to chemical processes, in short, destroyed by useful foods, shorten our lives. It shortens it by causing heart disease. It shortens it by causing us to become cancer. Changing the eating habits will reduce the risk of cancer related to this.
Improvement of environmental and working conditions and prevention of environmental pollution are the preventive measures that should be taken in cancers that occur due to exposure to carcinogenic substances due to working conditions, especially air pollution.
Preventing transmission in cancers known to be related to certain viruses, such as liver cancers, cervical cancers, will reduce these cancers. Again, prevention of the reproduction of fungi that cause liver cancer and storage of foods in suitable conditions can be easily achieved.
Life is beautiful and precious. But we need to understand its value before we get to the point where we lose it. The best help we can give ourselves, the best gift we can give, is trying to be introduced to us as the flavors of life, causing us to be faced with treatments that will shorten our life with everything we consume and cause pain and distress for years. and changing environmental conditions.