• Nadir Ul Kaysar

Cancer: what you need to know in 2021

Updated: May 23


Horoscope? No! We have jot down some information about the disease known as Cancer. Never heard of this disease? That’s odd…Sip your coffee and read the blog we made for you.

what you need to know about cancer in 2021?

How does cancer develop?

Cancer is a disease that develops as cells divide uncontrollably and spread into surrounding tissues, and it is caused by changes in DNA. The majority of cancer-causing DNA changes occur in parts of DNA known as genes. Cancer develops when a cell's genetic code, or DNA, is damaged, causing the cells to expand and reproduce uncontrollably. Most of the time when DNA becomes damaged, the cell is able to repair it or the cell simply dies. However, in cancer, the damaged DNA is not repaired and the cell does not die, and if the abnormal cell can not be eliminated, it can grow and multiply. This is how cancer develops.

A cancerous cell is a healthy cell that has stopped working properly and is now rapidly growing and dividing uncontrollably. When normal processes fail, this occurs. So, what's going to happen next?

Cancer is a disease that develops as cells divide uncontrollably

Mutations Develop: A mutation is a mistake that occurs when the incorrect nucleotide—A, T, C, or G—is inserted into a gene during its development. If a nucleotide is deleted, a mutation may occur. A mutation can be passed on from generation to generation. Mutations may occur at any time during a person's life. The majority of mutations will never cause a problem. Thousands of DNA errors are found and repaired during the cellular division process as is estimated. A single mutation isn't enough to prevent a typical cell from working properly. A cell's transformation from normal to cancerous requires a series of mutations. As a result, most cancers become more common as people get older.


Cancer symptoms, can cancer cause high blood pressure?

Symptoms are signals that the body is attempting to show that we have an injury, illness, or disease. In cancer, the symptoms vary depending on the location of cancer, its size, and the extent to which it affects underlying organs or tissues all influence cancer symptoms. Different parts of the body may show signs or symptoms of cancer that has spread (metastasized). Cancer has the potential to spread to nearby tissues, organs, blood vessels, and nerves. Fever, severe tiredness (fatigue), and weight loss are all cancer symptoms.

Is it possible for cancer to cause high blood pressure? Perhaps! High blood pressure can be caused directly by some cancers, such as primary adrenal gland tumors, and these cancers are relatively uncommon. Cancers of the lung, breast, and colon, for example, are more common but these cancers may make a patient anxious or worried, and worrying all the time can increase blood pressure. Moreover, some cancers such as primary adrenal gland tumors, as above each kidney are the adrenal glands. They make many hormones, including adrenaline also known as epinephrine, which raises blood pressure, and norepinephrine, which is the chemical messenger that sends signals through nerve cells' synapses.


Are cancer lumps hard?

Finding a new lump or bump on your body will definitely make you concerned, but knowing simple characteristics is enough to figure out if it is dangerous or not. Bumps appear spontaneously, however, when it is not cancerous, they usually disappear after a few weeks. On the other hand, if the bump does not go away and continues to grow steadily over the weeks and months, more examination is required. Generally, a cancer bump is hard and painless to the touch and can be felt from the outside of your body. In case of noticing similar signs, it is essential to visit the doctor for further analysis.


Cancer is a virus?

When we think of viruses, mostly what comes to our mind are the nasty seasonal colds or flu. But, in fact, some viruses can lead to cancer, with an estimated 15-20 per cent of all human cancers attributed to viruses. Viruses are tiny organisms, made up of either DNA or RNA, both associated with cancers. These are usually called oncogenic viruses and include viruses like HBV, HIV, HPV, and more. However, different methods such as lifestyle changes or vaccines can protect you from catching those viruses in the first place and reduce cancer risks.


Where cancer can occur?

Cancer can start in any area of the body. Which occurs inside cells. This can usually begin with a creation of change in a single cell or within multiple cells also known as (a group of cells). Which in most cases leads to the reproduction of many cells, and often makes the cells divide at an exceptional rate which in most cases causes too much production of cells often causing cancer. These cells also start to damage many of the normal cells causing harm to helpful and healthy cells.


Cancer to the liver

Liver cancer can often be located in the liver. And it happens due to the reproduction of the cells, which have become out of control. Liver cancer is most likely to be caused as secondary liver cancer, which is when cancer moves from the primary source of production form inside the body, which is most likely to have come from the colon, pancreas, breast, lung or stomach. This is known as (metastasized). As liver cancer is known as secondary cancer, this is officially treated the same as primary cancer. Therefore, if it had come from the stomach, then it would be treated as stomach cancer.


Cancer near tonsils

Cancer near tonsils occurs when there is an unusual growth of cells being formed in the affected area. It is deadlier than other types of throat/mouth cancers. Many people who are diagnosed with tonsil cancer can have good outcomes if it is caught at an early stage.

The symptoms of tonsil cancer have similarities with the symptoms of common upper respiratory infections, like streptococcal sore throat or tonsillitis. However, infections tend to worsen quickly then resolve, but the consequences of cancer generally linger or slowly worsen.

Several risk factors can predispose to tonsil cancer. You are more likely to get tonsil cancer if you drink alcohol, smoke, or are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) or HIV.

This cancer is additionally more common among men than women, people over age 50 (although tonsil cancer can occur at any age), and people who have had a transplant.

Doctors use different tools to assist diagnose cancer of the tonsils. The first step of this process is to get an accurate health history from you. Your physician will then examine you.

The treatment you receive for your condition will depend upon what stage of tonsil cancer you've got, what type you've got, and thus the decision that you simply take and your physician agrees on.


What cancer is caused by smoking?

Smoking causes lung cancer which is the most common cause of cancer death.

When a smoker coughs, it may be showing a sign of lung cancer. Although, there are other conditions that may cause someone to cough such as a person affected by Coronavirus. If the cough doesn't get away, see a doctor.

You can always try to reduce the risk of having lung cancer by just stopping smoking. It might be difficult for some people to quit smoking but it is possible through consultation, meditation or seeking help from friends and family.

There is a definite link between smoking and cancer. It causes a minimum of 15 different kinds of cancer, including two of the foremost common, lung and bowel cancer.

Diseases such as heart disease or various lung diseases can be caused by smoking.


Which cancer is most dangerous?

Studies report that lung cancer stands as the most dangerous variation of cancer. Abnormal cells grow uncontrollably in the lungs and obstruct the healthy functions of lung tissues. Since we are susceptible to catching anything from the air, 1 in every 13 men is diagnosed with lung cancer. Among all variations, breast cancer has become a topic of concern and discussion among people. Lung cancer, on the other hand, is rarely given a thought. Lung cancer research and care units receive less funding than breast, colon, pancreatic and prostate cancer combined. As far as numbers go, lung cancer is three times deadlier than breast cancer (around 140,000 per year).

Researchers attribute the dangers of lung cancer to the mutative cells that travel away from the site of the original tumor and infect other parts of the body. The lungs take heavy damage before we diagnose cancer, and so treatment chances are thinner. Tragically, lung cancer patients are primarily diagnosed at a later stage, when despite the advancements in technology, their survival rates are still lacking. Sadly, if not appropriately treated, about half of the total number of patients diagnosed with lung cancer die within a year. It becomes difficult to diagnose lung cancer due to the symptoms and causes (air pollution, radiations, genetics, etc.).


Cancer like diseases

Before arranging a proper diagnosis, cancer is a little different from a protruding lump. Many conditions cause small masses of tissue to form clots, yet not all are cancerous. Many infections or inflammatory diseases cause lumps or cysts to develop owing to hormonal imbalance, degeneration of tissues or inflamed joints. Hyperparathyroidism, a metabolic condition that relates to the functioning of our glands, may create deformations. Benign masses may also result from high blood fat levels or deposits near joints (like knees or elbows). At times the bones may alter in form and rigidity to give the impression of a tumor. Osteomyelitis, an infection that targets the bone, may give the appearance of a growing tumor. However, surgery and timely treatment can snub the growth of these deformations, perhaps, even completely treat it by tackling the site of infection or inflammation.


Cancer versus Covid-19

Cancer is a disease that results from the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a body portion. However, coronaviruses are a wide group of viruses that cause infections in the lungs. These illnesses can range from a simple cold to more severe illnesses. Covid-19 is a disease that was identified in late 2019 in Wuhan city in China and was declared a pandemic in March, 2020.


As in 2019, there was a new coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), and both Covid-19 and cancer are deadly. They sneak into one's life like robbers, and one doesn't notice them in the body until they've gotten so far into the system that you need to see a doctor. COVID causes 3, 175, 207 new cases and 224, 172 deaths every 24 hours, according to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics as of May 1st 2020. On the other hand, according to Department of Health data, 904 COVID deaths have been recorded in the Philippines out of 15,049 cases as of May 27.


On the other side, cancer took the lives of 9.6 million people in 2018. According to the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer shows that one in five men and one in six women get sick of cancer in their lifetime.

On the other hand, the COVID virus has a life span of less than a month, it can die on its own. However, cancer cells, on the other hand, do not die on their own. It does not know how to die. It can only be removed by surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. If all cancer cells in the body are not killed or removed, the remaining ones will grow back, even more aggressively than before.


Cancer vs Tumor

Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the uncontrollable division of abnormal cells with the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. However, a tumor is an uncontrolled growth of cells that serves no purpose in the body. On the other hand, tumors can be cancerous, but this does not indicate that tumors and cancers are synonymous (as the majority of people think).

It's important to remember that not all tumors are cancerous. There are benign tumors that only develop in a certain area of the body. When a tumor becomes malignant, it becomes cancer. This means that the primary growth will produce several secondary growths, invading essential body parts and spreading throughout the body. Just as all tumors are not cancerous, all cancer cases are also not characterized by tumor growth. There is no tumor involved in blood cancer, for example. However, when a tumor appears, a biopsy is needed to decide if the growth is malignant or benign.

A tumor may or may not become cancerous. Cancer on the other hand is a malignant condition in which the spread of abnormal cellular growth could become uncontrollable.


Cancer or IBS

Colorectal (Colon) Cancer and Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affect the same part of the body, which makes it difficult to distinguish between the two, without knowing the differences between the two. The common symptoms of IBS are changes to bowel movements, such as constipation and diarrhea, irregular gastrointestinal tract movements, or increased body consciousness. The condition is chronic; however, the symptoms are not constant. For the most part, the symptoms are not severe and can be treated with lifestyle changes. Symptoms of colorectal cancer, on the other hand, may not be obvious until cancer starts to spread. Signs of colorectal cancer include changes to bowel habits, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, constipation, and rectal pain. The key difference from IBS is that the symptoms remain constant for several days. These signs lasting more than two weeks should trigger a trip to the doctor. As it is slow-growing cancer, it is important to do screenings to prevent it from developing further. You can benefit from regular screenings especially if cancer runs in a family.


Why cancer research is important

The goal of studying cancer is to accumulate extensive knowledge about cancer prevention, early detection, screening, diagnosis, which is essential for a successful treatment. The progress we have seen so far in cancer research is made possible by the discoveries of scientists who are working to better understand and cure the diseases. We should take into account that cancer isn’t just one disease but more than 100 diseases, which means that research is a slow, step-by-step process. There is no one cure to be discovered but many cures for many types of cancer, that requires large-scale data collection and analysis. Progress in research can allow cancer patients to gain access to new treatments faster, which could be the difference between life and death and give hopes for future cancer research for many patients.


Cancer with the highest survival rate, when cancer spreads to the bones how long to live?

Cancer is a never-ending disease. Having taken up multiple lives of those who are close to you. It can be seen that over time cancer can spread throughout the body to multiple organs, tissues and cells within the human body, this is known as metastasis. Cancer spreading through the bones causes a great reduction in the life expectancy of many individuals. It can often mean that people are only able to live between 6 months to 2 years, with effective care and treatment provisions put into place.


WHO cancer statistics 2020

WHO statistics for 2020 state that Cancer is the world's second-largest cause of mortality rates in the world. Suggesting that 1 in 6 deaths are due to cancer. In addition to this, it can also be seen that about 70% of deaths which are caused by cancer occur in the more middle to low-income class countries around the world. Due to the lack of access to assistive resources and equipment, the health care systems in low-income countries is very low, as a result, mortality rates are very high.

estimated age-standardized mortality rate in 2020 around the world about cancer.
Global Cancer Observatory

Data source: Globacan 2020; Graph production: Global Cancer Observatory


Will cancer be cured by 2030

Unless a cure for cancer is found, Asia will have the highest number of deaths by the time it will be 2030. Asia is going to have 3 times more deaths than Europe while Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Nothern America will have similar increments. Oceania will have the lowest.


estimated number of deaths from 2020 to 2030 both in sexes and ages around 0 to 85 years old.
Estimated number of deaths from 2020 to 2030

Estimated number of deaths from 2020 to 2030, both sexes, age [0-85+], all cancers. IARC - All Rights Reserved 2020


Jeffrey Weber, M.D., Ph.D thinks almost any cancer could be treatable with immunotherapy. Immunotherapy didn't get that much recognition until the possibility of using checkpoint inhibitors to stop blocking the natural immune system was revealed. It has become a topic to be curious about in the world of medical science as well as among the commoners. As the research continues, things will only get better and better at finding a perfect cure for cancer.


Fatima Al-Fihri Open University offers a course on Cancer Immunotherapy. It is self-paced and you can learn the basics from it. Sign Up is FREE!

Cancer can be killed

Jeff Witzeman’s documentary movie reveals rather a surprising story of how his wife got cured of her cancer naturally in Germany within 30 days. His discovery can change the perspective of how cancer is being treated in countries like America. This 2017 documentary movie has opened the eyes of many people to think that long term chemotherapy and radiotherapy which often lead to dangerous results is not the only option to treat cancer.


Cure Cancer without chemotherapy (immunotherapy)

Recently, researchers have directed their efforts towards making cancer treatments chemotherapy-free. To accomplish this, they have started focusing on developing techniques and strategies for Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is an innovative method of treatment that strengthens our immune system to resist cancer. Initially, our immune system guards our bodies against infections and diseases, though, with time and an influx of cancerous cells, its defenses grow weaker. Some cancerous cells may outlive in the body owing to genetics or interference by other cells in the body. To counter the growth of abnormal cells, Immunotherapy looks to restimulate our immune system. Various strategies have been researched, trialed, and reported, which have increased the survival rates of cancer patients. Specific methods of Immunotherapy are combined with traditional treatment methods to yield promising results.


Vaccines that boost the immune system’s response have been developed as a form of Immunotherapy. The BCG vaccine, used in the treatment of tuberculosis, induces both local and systemic immune responses and helps treat bladder cancer. Cells may artificially enhance in labs through T-cell transfer to equip normal cells to attack cancerous cells. Since Immunotherapy is a developing strategy under research, certain treatments may work on selective people or be expensive. Still, they have given cancer patients a new avenue to treat the disease. One generated vaccine uses a patient’s tumor cells to locate and destroy the cancerous cells anywhere in the body. The treated immune cells, now known as myeloid cells, have been genetically engineered to alert organs of cancerous cells' presence. Experiments show that after injecting a vaccine into the body, the cancerous cells decrease in number. Immunotherapy strengthens our defence mechanism against cancer, yielding impressive therapeutic results in trials compared to chemotherapy. With Immunotherapy accompanying traditional treatment methods, the life expectancy of a cancer patient has jumped to five years.


FAOU COURSE ON CANCER IMMUNOTHERAPY

The man of science, as we know him today, has come a long way. With time and technology, the man of science has tackled and conquered most of the concerns that stunted his life expectancy. Now, cancer remains perhaps one of the few troubles that threaten our well-being. Researchers are exploring newer ways of combating cancer. Among their recent breakthroughs, Immunotherapy seems to be garnering more and more professional and academic attention. By genetically modifying blood cells, tissues, or tumors to aid the immune system in combating cancer, Immunotherapy paints a promising future. To align future researchers with the growth prospects of this breakthrough in health sciences, Fatima Al-Fihri Open University offers a comprehensive course that details Immunotherapy basics. Our immune system holds center stage in our battle against cancer. So, the course is modelled to introduce our immune system basics, its fundamental role, and all its elements. Various types of immunotherapies are under study, which developed over time. The course presents new medications and techniques that help the student get insights into the ongoing debates within health sciences and keep the research spirit alive. Sehija Dizdarevic details all the principles and methods of Immunotherapy in present-day oncology in just over five weeks.


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Nafi Ul Kaysar | Deputy Director

Gvantsa Kvirikashvili | Social Media Editor

Aneeqa Tariq | Social Media Editor

Tarcisio Tomas De Fatima | Social Media Editor

Prabhjot Kaur | Social Media Editor

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Fatima Al-Fihri Open University | FAOU

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