Cancer

  Cancer cells  

How Cancer Arises

Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide.

Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited from our parents. They can also arise during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or because of damage to DNA caused by certain environmental exposures. Cancer-causing environmental exposures include substances, such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and radiation, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Each person’s cancer has a unique combination of genetic changes. As the cancer continues to grow, additional changes will occur. Even within the same tumor, different cells may have different genetic changes.

In general, cancer cells have more genetic changes, such as mutations in DNA, than normal cells. Some of these changes may have nothing to do with the cancer; they may be the result of the cancer, rather than its cause.

Tissue Changes that Are Not Cancer

Not every change in the body’s tissues is cancer. Some tissue changes may develop into cancer if they are not treated, however. Here are some examples of tissue changes that are not cancer but, in some cases, are monitored:

Hyperplasia occurs when cells within a tissue divide faster than normal and extra cells build up, or proliferate. However, the cells and the way the tissue is organized look normal under a microscope. Hyperplasia can be caused by several factors or conditions, including chronic irritation.

Dysplasia is a more serious condition than hyperplasia. In dysplasia, there is also a buildup of extra cells. But the cells look abnormal and there are changes in how the tissue is organized. In general, the more abnormal the cells and tissue look, the greater the chance that cancer will form.

Some types of dysplasia may need to be monitored or treated. An example of dysplasia is an abnormal mole (called a dysplastic nevus) that forms on the skin. A dysplastic nevus can turn into melanoma, although most do not.

An even more serious condition is carcinoma in situ. Although it is sometimes called cancer, carcinoma in situ is not cancer because the abnormal cells do not spread beyond the original tissue. That is, they do not invade nearby tissue the way that cancer cells do. But, because some carcinomas in situ may become cancer, they are usually treated.

Cancer progression

Normal cells may become cancer cells. Before cancer cells form in tissues of the body, the cells go through abnormal changes called hyperplasia and dysplasia. In hyperplasia, there is an increase in the number of cells in an organ or tissue that appear normal under a microscope. In dysplasia, the cells look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer. Hyperplasia and dysplasia may or may not become cancer.

Credit: Terese Winslow
 

Types of Cancer

There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. For example, lung cancer starts in cells of the lung, and brain cancer starts in cells of the brain. Cancers also may be described by the type of cell that formed them, such as an epithelial cell or a squamous cell.

Risk Factors

KEY POINTS

  • Factors That are Known to Increase the Risk of Cancer
    • Cigarette Smoking and Tobacco Use
    • Infections
    • Radiation
    • Immunosuppressive Medicines After Organ Transplant
  • Factors That May Affect the Risk of Cancer
    • Diet
    • Alcohol
    • Physical Activity
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes
    • Environmental Risk Factors
Anti cancer herbal remedies
 
Ceylon cinnamon America Skullcap Sarsaparrilla berry
90 capsules
$21.00
Ceylon Cinnamon - three a day  
90 capsules
$31.00
American
Skullcap - three a day
 
60 capsules
$16.00
Sarsaparrilla
berry - two a day
 
Ctas claw plant Wild celery plant Lion's mane mushroom
30 capsules
$11.00
Cat's
claw - one a day
 
30 capsules
$11.00
Celery
 seeds - one a day
 
60 capsules
$16.00
Lion's mane
mushroom - two a day
 
Shiitake mushroom Red clover Fenugreek plant
30 capsules
$11.00
Shiitake
mushroom - one a day
 
60 capsules
$21.00
Red
clover - two a day
 
90 capsules
$21.00
Fenugreek seeds - three a day  
Burdock plant
60 capsules
$16.00
Astragalus - two a day  
30 capsules
$11.00
Brahmi - one a day  
90 capsules
$21.00
Burdock root - three a day  
Dandelion plant Horse chestnut Bladderwrack
30 capsules
$11.00
Dandelion
root - one a day
 
30 capsules
$11.00
Horse
chestnut - one a day
 
30 capsules
$11.00
Bladderwrack - one a day  
Saw palmetto Schizandra berry St Johns wort
30 capsules
$11.00
Saw palmetto
berry - one a day
 
90 capsules
$31.00
Schizandra berry - three a day  
30 capsules
$11.00
St John's
wort - one a day
 
     
 
 
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*Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera)
*Astragalus
(Astragalus membranaceus)
*Brahmi
(Bacopa monnieri)
*Burdock
(Arctium lappa)
*Black Cohosh
(Cimicifuga racemosa)
*Bladderwrack
(Focus vesiculosus)
*Celery seeds
(Apium graviolens)
*Chanca piedra
(Phyllanthus niruri)
*Ceylon cinnamon
(Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
*Cat's claw
(Uncaria tomentosa)
*Dandelion root
(Taraxacum officinale)
*Fenugreek
(Trigonella foenum graecum)
*Ginkgo biloba
(Ginkgo biloba)
*Horse chestnut
(Aesculus hippocastanum)
*Hawthorn berry
(Crateagus oxicanthus)
*Horny goat weed
(Epimedium sagittatum)
*Juniper berry
(Juniperus communis)
*Milk thistle
(Sylibum marianum)
*Maca
(Lepidium meyenii)
*Red clover
(Trifolium pratense)
*American Skullcap
(Scutellaria lateriflora)
*Saw palmetto
(Serenoa repens/serrulata)
*Stinging nettle
(Urtica dioica)
*St John's wort
(Hypericum perforatum)
*Sarsaparrilla
(Smilax aristolochiifolia)
*Schizandra berry
(Schisandra chinensis)
*Vitex
(Agnus castus)
*Valerian root
(Valeriana officinalis)
*White willow
(Salix alba)
*Yarrow
(Achillea millefolium)
*Lion's mane
(Hericium erinaceous
)
*Shiitake
(Lentinula edodes
)