Cancer…The problem of the century. In a moment you think you are healthy and live a normal life, the next moment you discover you have cancer. That’s when the fight begins. Being in a family where cancer was present made me get an interest about it, trying to understand it better and what cause it. So yeah..me and cancer have a long ‘friendship’ together.
Let’s start with some basic information about cancer.Cancer is when abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way(mutation). Or how I like to say when one cell or several cells throw a party, they drink too much and start behave in a weird way. 😀 (Check the video below for a better understanding)
How does cancer spread? Cancer cells can spread from where they started to other parts of the body, where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis.
Cancer can spread in 3 ways:
- invasion – the tumour grows into surrounding tissues or structures.
- through the bloodstream – cancer cells break away from the tumour, enter the bloodstream and travel to a new location in the body.
- through the lymphatic system – cancer cells break away from the tumour and travel through the lymph vessels and lymph nodes to other parts of the body.
The video below, presented by Ivan Seah Yu Jun, explains the three common routes of metastasis. Worth seeing it!
Most people ask, it is enough to have a healthy life to prevent cancer? Well…yes and no. I used to believe that if you smoke, drink and practically have an unhealthy lifestyle you will surely make cancer. This statement was strengthened by my grandfather’s death who died of liver cancer. To be honest it was a shocked for me when he died, probably because nobody told me that he was sick. I was just 6 years old back then and although I saw that my grandmother used to cry every night and that something was different, that he looked so different, like a completely new person, I’ve never thought that those months will be the last with him. Much later when I grew up I found out that he had last stage of cancer and that nothing could have been done for him.
Years past by and another case of cancer was discovered in my family, like I said in the beginning.. me and cancer have a looooong friendship. This new case of cancer made me think again about the reasons why cancer start to develop in some people. My grandmother has never smoked, she always been active, moderating how much alcohol she drinks ( like one glass of red wine once a month) and eating five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. But does all of it prevent her from cancer? No it doesn’t. Even though this healthy lifestyle didn’t prevent her from cancer, it made her combat it and win the fight against it.
We always think that we will make cancer because we have an unhealthy lifestyle but we should also consider our genes. Is cancer genetic? Yes it is. Some people have an increased risk of particular types of cancer because they have an inherited gene fault. These genes can be passed on from parent to child. This occurs when there is a mistake or a fault in the genes in an egg or sperm cell. These genes would normally protect us against cancer – they correct DNA damage that naturally occurs when cells divide. Inheriting a faulty copy of one of these genes means that it cannot repair damaged DNA in cells. This means the cells may become cancerous. Being born with one inherited faulty gene doesn’t mean that a person will definitely get cancer. But they have a higher risk of developing particular types of cancer than other people. They are also more likely to develop cancer at a younger age.
Currently tests are available for gene faults that increase the risk of breast cancer, bowel cancer, ovarian cancer, womb cancer and prostate cancer. Tests are also available for rare gene faults that may increase the risk of kidney cancer, melanoma skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer and a type of eye cancer called retinoblastoma. So if you think you might have cancer or you might develop it in future don’t hesitate to do a cancer test. It may save your life.
Other aspects that I strongly think produce cancer are the pollution and radiations we live in. I thought about it after a child, she was just 5 year old, died of thyroid cancer. There hasn’t been anyone with cancer in her family before so a genetic cancer is excluded, also her mother gave her everything as natural/bio as possible. All the food from bread, cheese to vegetables and fruits were made by them. So why she died of cancer? The only explication that I could find in this case are the radiations and pollution we are living in. (what do you think about it?)
Let’s now talk about the psychiatric trauma that the patients with cancer go through and not just the patients but also their families.
There are 3 phases:
The patient cannot accept the problem, the diagnosis being an inconceivable problem for him, becomes a mist of his own consciousness, incapable of correctly perceiving the causes that led to that disease.
Accepting and searching for symptomatology of the disease, finding a temporal solution in solving the situation, the silent confrontation with yourself in order to solve the thoughts that made you give up.
Reconciliation with diagnosis, with the illness itself, cooperation with peers. The emergence of hope that clarifies the division between life and death.
The only thing that remains to do is to fight against it with all the resources we have in this moment. Just because you have cancer doesn’t mean your life is over, you have a thousand of reasons to fight for. Never give up! Fight for your life when everything seems impossible because if you just give up your battle against cancer is already lost. There will always be people that will help you, that will try to find solutions even if that means they won’t sleep for days just to give you another chance to life. So prove them that you want to win this battle and after you win it you can help other people in the same situation, you can be an example for them that it is worth fighting. Never give up! You can do it no matter what!
P.S. If you want to find out more about cancer I recommend you Cancer Research UK