Summary – Cancer is a disease whose cure has not been discovered till date. However, an increasing number of people who have cancer are able to beat it and come out victorious. Most people want to know how cancer occurs at a cellular level. To know more about it and its causes, read this article to find out.
About Cancer in a Nutshell
Cancer is one disease which people fear the most. Despite being decades after being discovered, researchers are yet to find a cure for it. However, many strides have been taken in this direction and the result is that there is a greater chance of people winning over it than what it used to be earlier. In recent times, cancer treatment in India has also gained a lot of traction with people from all across the globe thronging the country to find cost-effective medical solutions for treatment.
One of the very basic questions which almost every individual who has heard about cancer seems to ask is how does it begin? The simplest is that it begins at the cellular level. The human body is made up of billions of cells having different functions and cancer starts when changes happen in either one of these billions of cells or a small group of them.
There is a finite number of cells of each category. Each of these group of cells emit signals to determine the number of times cells must divide and the rate at which they must divide. When these signals are not given or are erroneous, then cells begin to multiply much more than needed which leads to the formation of what is known as a tumour. The point in the body from where the cancer spreads is known as a primary tumour.
Not every cancer is solid. For instance, cancer can also form in the blood cells, a condition known as leukaemia. Such cancer cells form in the blood and also in the bone marrow.
Despite having different jobs, the cells in our body have the same structure more or less. At the centre of any cell is the nucleus inside which are chromosomes which contain thousands of genes.
What are genes?
The long strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) are what is contained in genes. These are coded messages which tell any cell which function to perform which can include making something such as proteins. Proteins along with RNA (Ribonucleic acid) together determine how to control the cell along with other functions such as what will be its primary function, when it will undergo division, and when its life cycle will end.
Genes determine all the functions of a cell. However, there are certain instances when changes in the gene occur at the time of cell division. This is known as mutation and during such an occurrence the gene is lost, damaged, or reproduced twice. Such an occurrence is purely based on chance.
The result of such an event is that the cells do not have the necessary instructions regarding what they need to do next and as such begin growing out of control. When this happens either the cells multiply too often or they stop multiplying.
The exact causes behind cell mutation are not known. It can happen at the time of cell division and also due to external factors such as chemicals in tobacco. Another factor can be genetic wherein people inherit the faulty genes from their predecessors.
While cells are good at repairing damaged genes, there are some instances wherein too much damage gets caused overtime. When the mutation happens at a very fast rate it becomes increasingly difficult for the cells to repair the damaged genes.