Cancer – Abnormal Cell Growth
Cancer is described as a group of diseases that have a characteristic of abnormal cell growth. Cancer is not so much a disease of the body as it is a disease the cells of any living organism are.
In our body, we have control of a regulating mechanism that permits its birth, life, ability to reproduce, and death. The rate at which this happens is carefully controlled. When something goes wrong with this controlling mechanism, cell division becomes much more rapidly tumors then develop. When these tumors are malignant, their atypical cancer cells can erupt into the blood and lymphatic systems and be carried to various parts of the body. This spreading of cancerous cells is known as metastasis. What happens to the controlling mechanism that permits this wild growth of cells is for the research scientist to discover. The cancer cells are not only produced more rapidly but are different in “their nature”. Their structural differences are such that they can in many instances be recognized under the microscope. Although; the specific causes of cancer are unknown, only a number of related contributing factors and possible causes have been identified. Overexposure to radiation has been found to be a predisposing factor to development of cancer.
Animal cancers have been identified as having been produced by viruses. There is suspicion that these microorganisms also play a role in the development of some human cancers. To date, however, no specific virus has been identified as being cancer-producing in man. The recent association of a herpes-type virus with lymphoma (cancer of the lymph gland) occurring primarily in African children, and the Baylor University researchers noting a herpes-type II virus present in 83 per cent of Cervical cancer patients provide new tools for investigation along this line.