I’ve Got What?
- If you have been told you have cancer, or someone you know has, it can leave you feeling upset about what it all means and a bit scared. Finding out a bit more about it can really help.
- There are over 200 different types of cancer and they all have there own way of being treated and their own name.
- Cancer will affect 1 in 3 of us in our lifetime. It can affect us at any age, but is most likely to happen when we are older, over 70% of cancers happen to people who are over the age of 60. But there are some cancers that are more likely to affect younger people than others. For example, leukaemia (a cancer of white blood cells) , testicular cancer which usually strikes between the ages of 15-35 and osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer).
- Cancer starts in cells and to understand what it is, it helps to know about cells, what they are and how they reproduce. This can also help with understanding treatment for cancer and its side effects.
- Organs are made up of tiny blocks known as cells, cancer is a Disease of these cells. Cells in different parts of the body may look similar but most of them will reproduce in the same way. They grow old and die, then reproduce to replace the dead cells. Under normal circumstances the cells will divide in an orderly manner. Sometimes the process can get out of control and Change into a lump which is called a tumour.
- These tumours are called benign or malignant. Malignant tumours are called cancer. A biopsy or checking a sample under a microscope is the way doctors can tell if it’s benign or malignant.
- If the tumour is benign, it means that the rogue cells haven’t spread to other organs of the body, although they can grow where they are and cause problems to surrounding organs by pressing on them.
- A malignant tumour means that the cells can travel to other parts of the body, away from the original site. If it’s left for long enough it can spread and destroy surrounding tissues. Some cells break away from the primary cancer and spread through the lymphatic System or bloodstream.
- The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system. It’s made up of organs such as, the spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes.
- When the cells reach a new site in the body, they sometimes divide and create a new tumour. This is known as metastasis or secondary cancer.
- You should always remember that there are more than 200 different cancers, each with their own name and treatment.