February 4 is recognized as the world’s cancer day. Cancer has a significant impact on society in Canada and across the world. Every year tens of thousands of new cases of cancer emerge and thousands of people including children lose their lives to it. Although there are treatment options available for cancer, not everyone responds to the currently accessible therapies. The stage at which cancer is diagnosed also plays an important role in determining whether a certain therapy would be effective. In most cases, the sooner it is diagnosed, the better are the chances of treatment. Therefore, we took this opportunity to talk about cancer and spread awareness regarding common types of cancer, their causes, and risk factors.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is described as a group of related diseases involving cells growing at an abnormal pace and spreading into surrounding tissues. Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. In regular circumstances, cells form, grow, divide if new cells are needed, and eventually die as they grow old and damaged. This is a very well-calculated and balanced process that is regulated by the genes in our DNA. However, when certain genes get damaged or mutated, this process is disturbed, and cells are no longer being replaced as needed. Instead, cells form and divide rapidly to create new cells while the old damaged cells survive, resulting in an abnormal mass of cells. The rapidly dividing cells also do not get a chance to grow into specialized cells, thus leading to improper functioning.
Cancer could arise almost anywhere in the body. They could be solid tumors like those of skin cancer or they may form in the blood such as leukemia, which are not generally solid tumors. Cancer can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors, usually do not spread to other areas but may become cancerous in some cases such as brain tumors. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, spread to the surrounding tissues and other parts of the body. The genetic changes leading to cancer are often inherited from our parents but could also be acquired over a lifetime as a result of faulty changes in DNA. In addition, cancer may also be triggered following prolonged exposure to irritants, such as cigarette smoke, and radiation, such as sunlight.
People of a certain age or population group can get screening tests for certain types of cancer even before they have noticed any symptoms. It is important to have regular visits with your doctor and be aware of when you should be screened for certain cancers. To learn more about cancer screening, visit the following link: https://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/reduce-cancer-risk/find-cancer-early/screening-for-cancer/?region=on
For more information on cancer and to find out about activities happening around the world to raise cancer awareness, visit https://www.worldcancerday.org/.
You may also contact us at Guildview pharmacy if you have any questions.