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Misunderstandings of Cancers

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Infographics from anidea.com

Cancer is a disease that is caused by the division of abnormal cells in the body that are uncontrolled. Some types of cancer cause tumors in the body, while there are other types of cancer, such as leukemia, that do not. There are some misconceptions about cancer that many people have.

All Types of Cancer is the Same

Many people believe that all cancer is the same and that there is one wonder drug to treat the disease. There are over 100 types of cancer and they all cause different symptoms. Each different type of cancer has a different treatment. We know more about some types of cancer, such as breast cancer, and less about esophageal and pancreatic cancer.

There is No Cure For Cancer

Technically, there is no cure for cancer. There is no magic pill that will kill off all the cancer cells in a day, making the patient 100 percent healthy. While there is not a true cure, the individual cancer patient can be cured. Remission is the first step to a cure. If the patient remains in remission for 5 years, they are considered to be cured. While there is no actual cure for cancer, there are treatments that can cure the patient.

Cell Phone Dangers

The idea that cell phones cause cancer is a common misconception. Cell phone technology has advanced rapidly over the past few years. The phones today contain fewer carcinogens than the phones before them. Recently, a study was published by the Danish Cancer Society, which found no links between cell phone use and brain cancer.

Cancer Lumps

Many people believe that if they find a lump or a mass is detected during a screening, that it is cancerous. The truth is, every abnormality is not cancerous. The problem could be a cyst or a benign tumor, which is not cancerous. While it is not always going to be cancer, there are instances where the lump is pre-cancerous or cancerous. This is why regular screenings are necessary.

Artificial Sweeteners Cause Cancer

Since the 1970’s, people have been saying that artificial sweeteners cause cancer. This is because, in 1969, a study was done on the effects of the active ingredient in artificial sweeteners, cyclamate, on mice. When the mice developed cancer, people panicked. What they didn’t know is that the doctors were giving the mice the equivalent of a human drinking 800 cans of diet soda each day. Too much of anything can cause cancer, and artificial sweeteners in moderation will not.

You Need More Than a Positive Attitude

There are some people who believe that just a positive attitude can treat their cancer. While a positive attitude can help, you need more than that when you have cancer. There is more than mind over matter when it comes to cancer. Being positive and even alternative treatments can help, however, you need to take the medications and accept the treatments offered by your doctor.

Surgery Can Cause Cancer to Spread

Decades ago, doctors could only diagnose cancer when it was in advanced stages and surgery was for exploratory purposes. Also, there was no way to tell if all of the cancer cells were removed. Because cancer treatment was so new, people believed that if the doctor tried to remove a tumor, the cancer cells could spread throughout the body. This is not true. Surgery is one of the most effective ways to treat cancer.

There are many misconceptions when it comes to cancer. Most of the misconceptions began years ago and have been since proven false.

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Understanding Breast Cancer

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Inforgraphic from the CDC

Breast cancer, like any other cancer, occurs when a mutation or abnormal change deforms the genes responsible for healthy cell growth. Such a change could lead to uncontrolled or undesirable cell growth. The cells that result from this also carry the faulty gene combination meaning that the cell growth becomes exponential resulting into a tumor.

The resulting tumor could be either malignant or benign. Benign tumors grow slowly and contain almost normal cells. They do not invade surrounding tissue or spread to the rest of the body hence are not really a big threat.

Malignant tumors, on the other hand, consist of highly mutated cells that not only grow fast but also have the power to invade and affect other parts of the body.

How Does This Relate to Breast Cancer?

A cancer becomes breast cancer if a malignant tumor develops from the breast cells. These could be cells in the milk-producing glands (lobules,) the ducts or sometimes the stromal tissues.

If left unchecked, the cancer can invade surrounding healthy tissue and later make their way to the underarm lymph nodes. If the cells make get to the lymph nodes, they will have unlimited access to other parts of the body and the condition can escalate faster.

The spread of the mutated cells from the initial tumor determines the stage of the cancer. Comparing this against the breast cancer stages chart will give you a visual impression of the infection.

The Causes of Breast Cancer

Contrary to the common belief that most of the breast cancer is inherited, research has shown that only 5 to 10 percent of the cancers result from inherent genetic material mistakes. 85 to 90 percent of the conditions result from abnormalities arising from aging, exposure to mutagens and the natural tear and wear of life.

Staying on Top of Breast Cancer

The best card you could ever deal malignant tumors is by discovering them as soon as possible. The simplest way to identifying tumors before they spread is by taking regular mammograms. Mammograms are x-ray pictures of the breast tissue. They are a sure way to identifying tumors that are too small to feel or detect during a physical exam.

  • Screening mammograms search for any changes in women without any signs of breast cancer. They are an early warning sign and the physician will only act when he or she sees something suspicious.
  • Diagnostic mammograms are taken when you have identified a lump during the physical examination or the screening mammogram. It involves taking x-rays from different angles for better inspection of the anomaly.

While the mammogram is the real deal in identifying breast cancer, a regular physical examination between the regular mammograms will be another early warning strategy. Feel your breasts and underarms looking for:

  • Lumps in or near the breasts
  • Lumps under the arms
  • Thick or firm tissue near the breasts or sometimes under the arms
  • Changes in breast size and shape

Contacting an expert when you spy a lump is always wise. You must note that the breasts will feel lumpy during pregnancy or during your menstruation period. This should cause any alarm unless it persists beyond menstruation or sticks to one part of your breast for a month or two during pregnancy. Only then should you seek medical advice.

Since breast cancer is in essence cancer, understanding cancer in general will help you know the dynamics of breast cancer better. Exploring the different treatment and maintenance options as soon as you get a positive diagnosis will give you a better shot at beating the cancer.

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