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Radio Shows | Understanding Cancer | mp3wmawav

Today, we'll discuss Cancer: The enemy within.

Cancer is so prevalent you probably know someone who's had the disease. That's partly because there are so many kinds of cancer.

In fact there are more than two hundred different types of cancer with one common property: Cancer cells can grow unchecked. Our bodies are constantly producing new cells. The programmed removal of old cells, called apoptosis, balances this growth.

In cancer, these processes become unbalanceds. The result is runaway cell growth which can cause tumors and disrupt normal tissue function. Cancers are characterized by the types of cells affected.

Carcinomas are the most common and arise from cells of the internal surfaces and your skin. Sarcomas involve cells within the supporting and connective tissues such as bone. Lymphomas are cancers of cells of the immune system and leukemias originate from blood cells.

Often cancer spreads from the original site to invade neighboring tissue. Cancer cells can also metastasize, and that's worse. That's when cancer cells spread through the blood or lymphatic system and penetrate tissues anywhere in the body. Highly metastatic and invasive cancers are generally the most deadly.

Cancers can arise anywhere in the body and twelve top the list. Number one is non-melanoma skin cancer with more than a million new cases expected this year alone. Breast, colon, lung, bladder, and prostate cancers are some other examples. All of these can be deadly.

The causes for most cancers remain unknown. Some are due to exposure to harmful chemicals; others are caused by certain viruses; and habits like cigarette smoking certainly do it too. In future episodes, we'll explore how genes and heredity also play a role in cancer onset.

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