The number of deaths in Korea due to cancer (malignant neoplasm) is increasing every year. According to ‘Statistics Results for Causes of Death in 2020’ published by the Office for National Statistics, the death rate per cancer site was calculated to be the highest in the order of lung cancer, liver cancer and colorectal cancer for people (1.2% ) to increase.
What is Cancer?
The smallest unit that makes up the human body is called a cell. Normally, cells divide according to intracellular regulatory functions, grow, die and disappear to maintain cell number balance. However, when a cell’s gene changes for various reasons, the cell changes abnormally, matures incompletely, and proliferates excessively, which can be defined as cancer.
Are there specific areas of the body where cancer develops?
Cancer can occur in any part of the body, and depending on race, country, sex, age, lifestyle, and diet, cancer can occur in different parts of the body.
How are cancer and tumors different?
Tumor is a generic term for all abnormally formed masses. In other words, all or tumors. However, these tumors can be broadly divided into benign and malignant, the malignant tumor being cancer. A benign tumor can cause problems in terms of appearance or inconvenience in life depending on its location, but it does not have an important meaning such as affecting life.
What are the characteristics of cancer?
Cancer has very different characteristics to a biologically normal cell or tissue.
First, cancer originates from a single cell. In other words, when a cell undergoes several mutations and becomes a cancer cell, it continues to divide and multiply to develop into cancer.
Second, once the cancer has developed, it is not subject to normal growth control. Normal tissue no longer grows when it reaches a certain size, but cancer continues to grow, sometimes forming very large masses.
Third, it is invasive growth. This means that as the cancer grows, it digs into the normal tissue around it, and sometimes it invades large blood vessels or tissues around the cancer, making surgical resection difficult.
Fourth, cancer has the characteristic of an undifferentiated condition. Normal tissue has histological characteristics that are unique to each organ, but cancer does not. This is called undifferentiated, and because of this undifferentiated feature, in some cases, the primary site may not be known even after performing a biopsy.
The last feature is metastasis. Metastasis is the spread of cancer to tissues that are not directly related to it. Once metastasis is detected, it is usually classified as terminal cancer. Therefore, the presence or absence of metastases is very important in deciding the treatment policy.
Common causes of cancer
– Cigarette smoke contains more than 24 chemicals that can cause cancer
– Closely related to cancer of the mouth, larynx, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney and bladder
– Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, colon and rectum, liver and breast cancer
– The risk of cancer is proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed.
③ Occupational exposure
– Exposure to certain chemicals in the work environment can cause cancer
– Lung cancer is the most common occupational cancer, and skin cancer, urinary tract cancer, nasal cancer, and pleural cancer can also occur.
– It is estimated that 1 to 2 in 10 cancer patients develop cancer due to chronic infection.
– Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human papilloma virus (HPV), Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), liver fluke (C. sinensis), etc. belongs to a group 1 carcinogen designated by the Korea Cancer Society, and Kaposi’s sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV) and human T-cell virus (HTLV-1) cause cancer.
– Radiation causes chromosome fragmentation and translocation and, rarely, point mutations, causing genetic damage that causes cancer.
– Leukemia and thyroid cancer are common, but in fact, any cell can be converted into cancer cells when exposed to a lot of radiation.
– Female hormones, childbirth and menopause affect the incidence of endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer
Oral contraceptives are known to slightly increase the risk of breast cancer but reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.
– About 30% of cancers are related to diet and nutrition
– Excessive salt intake increases arterial blood pressure and increases the incidence of gastric cancer
– A high calorie / high fat diet increases the incidence of colon and rectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, etc.
– Appropriate exercise, weight control, and eating fresh vegetables reduce the risk of oral cancer, lung cancer, and cervical cancer