By Ameena Drammeh
My name is Ameena Drammeh. I am currently enrolled in the Islamic Leadership School in the Bronx. The topic that I will be discussing today is Cancer. The reason I chose this topic is because one of my friends or classmates recently died of this deadly disease.
Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth. Researchers divide the causes of cancer into two groups: those which with an environmental cause and those with a hereditary genetic cause. Cancer is primarily an environmental disease, though genetics influence the risk of some cancers. Common environmental factors leading to cancer include: environmental pollutants, diet, obesity, tobacco, infections, radiation, and lack of physical activity.
These environmental factors cause or enhance abnormalities in the genetic material of cells. Cell reproduction is an extremely complex process that is normally tightly regulated by several classes of genes. Hereditary or acquired abnormalities in these regulatory genes can lead to the development of cancer. A small percentage of cancers, approximately five to ten percent, are entirely hereditary.
The presence of cancer can be suspected on the basic of symptoms or findings on radiology. Cancers are classified by the type of cell that the tumor resembles and therefore presumed to be the origin the tumor. Cancer pathogenesis is traceable back to DNA mutation that impact cell growth metastasis. Substances that cause DNA mutations are known as mutagens, and mutagens that cause cancers are known as carcinogens. Particular substances have been linked to specific types of cancer. Tobacco smocking is associated with many forms of cancer and cause 90% of lung cancer.
The concept that medications can be used to prevent cancer is an attractive one and many high quality clinical trials support the use of such chemoprevention in defined circumstances. Aspirin has been found to reduce the risk of death from cancer.
Vitamins have not been found to be effective at preventing cancer, although low levels of vitamin D are correlated with increased cancer risk.
Vaccines have been developed that’s prevent some infection by some viruses that are associated with cancer and therapeutic vaccines are in development to stimulate an immune response against cancer specific epitopes.
Most cancers are initially recognized either because signs or symptoms appear or through screening. Neither of these may lead to a definite diagnosis, which usually requires the opinion of a pathologist.
People with suspected cancer are investigated with medical tests.
Many management options for cancer include: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, immunotherapy, monoclonal antibody therapy, and other methods. Complete removal of cancer without damage to the rest of the body, is the goal of treatment for most cancers.