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Cancer - Research Paper Example

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Cancer Cancer cells differ greatly from normal healthy cells. While healthy cells stay where they are and only go to parts of the body where they are required, cancer cells completely ignore this rule and go wherever they please. In this way, they spread to various parts of the body, circulating the disease…
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Cancer Cancer cells differ greatly from normal healthy cells. While healthy cells stay where they are and only go to parts of the body where they are required, cancer cells completely ignore this rule and go wherever they please. In this way, they spread to various parts of the body, circulating the disease. Another way that healthy cells differ from cancer cells is that healthy white blood cells can detect damaged cells, such as viruses, and attack them, stopping them before they spread the virus to the rest of the body. Cancer cells, however, can pass through this system without being detected, which means that the immune system is not notified to their presence (Skehan 15). They are able to move about at will through the body. Cancer cells can also divide faster than normal healthy cells, then becoming able of causing tumors. Pancreatic cancer, just as the name suggests, effects the pancreas, which then effects the rest of the abdominal region, including the digestive system. Unlike other cancers, pancreatic cancer tends to spread faster, which is why is is seldom discovered during its early stages; once the cancer forms, there is only a short amount of time between the early stages and the advance stages (Evans 83). Due to its rapid spreading, signs and symptoms of the cancer do not always appear right away, making pancreatic cancer one of the cancers with the greatest death rate. There is no known cause to pancreatic cancer. The cancer forms when cells in the pancreas develop genetic mutations. Once the cells have developed mutations, they grow at a rapid, uncontrollable rate. Instead of dying off as a normal cell would, these mutated cells continue to live in the body. As they continue to multiply and grow, the assembled cancer cells can then develop a tumor on the pancreas. To diagnose an individual with pancreatic cancer, ultrasounds are usually the first method undergone, as this can detect whether or not tumors have begun to form on the pancreas. Endoscopic ultrasonography is another method, which involves inserting a tube through the mouth and down into the stomach. Ultrasound images are then obtained, though this method is only reliable for smaller tumors. However, a biopsy with a fine needle aspiration can also be done during the ultrasonography. The most common method to diagnosing pancreatic cancer is computed technology, or a CT scan, which can locate tumors and blood vessels that a tumor might be effecting. The treatment that a person receives for pancreatic cancer depends on the age of the person and the location of the cancer. The first step is to remove the cancer if possible. Unfortunately, do to the rapid spread of the cancer, very few people are able to have their pancreas, and thus the cancer, surgically removed in time. If the cancer is confined only to the pancreas, the person may still be able to have it removed, but this is not possible if the cancer has spread. In the event that the cancer has spread, the individual can undergo radiation therapy to rid their body of the cancer cells. Chemotherapy and targeted therapy can also be used as treatment, both of which involve using drugs to attack and kill the cancerous cells. Pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis, which stems from its rapid spread to the rest of the abdomen; if the cancer kept itself confined to the pancreas, the prognosis would be greatly improved. The size of the tumors also determine the survival rate in a patient. The smaller the tumor, the more likely surgery and treatment will be able to cure them of their cancer. If the tumor is larger, very little can be done. The rates of survival have increased over time, but pancreatic cancer is still considered to be incurable. Works Cited Evans, Douglas B. Pancreatic Cancer. New York: Springer-Verlag, 2010. Print. Skehan, Philip. Growth, Cancer, and the Cell Cycle. Clifton, NJ: Humana Press, 1984. Print. Read More
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