January 25, 2014
Cancer is a disease with no regard for age, gender, or ethnicity. In 2013 nearly 1,600 people a day died from cancer; and “cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US” (ACS, 2013). There are twenty three cancer types currently identified. However, many people still do not understand what a diagnosis of cancer means, how cancer progresses, or the common complications with cancer. All valuable information that must be addressed before choosing a treatment option, discussing treatment side effects, and identifying the support systems a person will need while receiving treatment.
Despite advances in treatment and care the public continues to have a great deal of anxiety and fear when diagnosed with cancer. Partially because people do not understand what having cancer means. Every living organism is made up of cells. These cells divide at a controlled rate with a specific function and multiply to replace damaged cells. While cancer cells grow and multiply with no control, destroying healthy cells in its’ path, and ultimately invading parts of the body inhibiting its’ function. Biologists have labeled cancer cells as any invading cell that can control proliferation and differentiation. Proliferation is the lifecycle of normal cells, to include regeneration of new cells as cells die. One of the phenomenon’s of normal proliferation is that the cells remain in their territory and do not inhibit cellular growth to surrounding cell membranes (Lewis, 2007). Differentiation is when a stem cell is coded to perform a specific function and under normal conditions these cells are unable to change their function. However, cancer is able to alter these naturally occurring processes. Cancer begins are a mutation in replicating DNA, either by genetics or a chemical, radiation, or viral exposure. The mutated DNA then starts proliferation and develop mutated cells; however, these cells do not stay within the boundaries of its originating cellular territory like healthy cells. At this stage the cancer cells have not interrupted normal bodily functions ...