How Cancers Happen

How Cancers Happen

Cancers are without a doubt one of the worst illnesses of the modern era, if not all times. We all feel at least a little bit uncomfortable when speaking about it.

However, most people have a fundamental misunderstanding about how exactly cancer works and what it, in fact, is.

Fortunately, cancer research experts from Odonate Therapeutics have taken a bit of time to explain in simple terms what cancer is and how it affects us.

What Is Cancer

In the simplest terms, cancer is a growth of abnormal cells in our bodies. These cells divide without control and purpose, and can damage the surrounding tissues.

If these abnormal cells spread to other tissues and other organs, it is possible that they will corrupt those cells as well and cause the cancer to spread or metastasize.

What makes cancer different from a lot of other dangerous diseases is that your immune system doesn’t need to fight off any foreign bodies, such as viruses and bacteria. Cancer cells are your own body’s cells which were corrupted in some way.

How Does Cancer Occur

We mentioned that the cells of your own body get corrupted. However, ‘corruption’ is not exactly a precise term.

When it comes to cancer, this term is often used to avoid using ‘genetic mutation’ by doctors. Simply put, it has a much less negative connotation in people’s minds.

However, cancer is just that – a genetic mutation in one or a group of cells in your body, more specifically in the DNA of your cells.

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That is what makes cancer so dangerous. If a mutation occurred in any other part of your cell, the mutation would die with the cell. However, since the mutation occurred within the DNA molecule, all of those mutations are spread when the cell divides itself.

What Is the Cause of Gene Mutation

There are a few reasons why you might experience a gene mutation. As mentioned before, it can happen naturally, as a mistake during the division. If your body’s regulatory mechanisms spot the mistake, it is corrected or the cell is killed off. If, however, the mistake goes unnoticed, it might be the origin of cancer.

There are certain mutations which are passed on from parents, which means that they are innate. However, only a small portion of these mutations can actually lead to cancer.

The vast majority of cancers come as a result of some environmental factor which caused a gene mutation. The most obvious culprit is ionizing radiation which has the power to damage your cells, including the DNA.

However, there are many other factors which might damage your DNA. Smoking, for example, leads to different kinds of problems, including lung and other types of cancer. A lot of chemicals we use or used to use in our everyday life have also been found to damage DNA and cause or contribute to the development of cancer. We call those chemicals carcinogens.

What Can You Do About It

There are some factors, like those inherited from your parents which you simply cannot do much about. However, as mentioned before, the vast majority of cancers come from environmental factors and from your lifestyle, and that is something you actually can change.

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First of all, if you are a smoker, quit as soon as possible. Another important factor is your diet. Not only can bad diet contribute to cancer growth, but also a balanced and varied diet can help you greatly in the fight against it.

With good diet typically comes enough physical activity, which is also a factor which can help you avoid cancer. Just make sure you stay out of the sun in the summer during the hottest part of the day (or at least wear plenty of protection like sunscreen).

Cancer can be a complicated topic of conversation, but there are some universal things which you can do in order to minimize your chances of getting it.

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