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Cancer Overview

Cancer finds mention in the Sanskrit literature that goes on to illustrate that cancer is not a recent disease of modern era, but that people knew about its origins long back in ancient times. Cancer was mentioned in Sanskrit Texts and in Ayurvedic literature.

Cancer is a dreaded disease that is affecting more and more people, particularly with modern living styles.
Though the cure rate of cancer is improving, the rate of cure is better only if detected early. It is said that "the fear of cancer" and the associated mental stress kills more people than cancer itself (close to 1/3 or more). Another one third or more are killed by the treatment (mainly Chemotherapy) given and by the patient's inability to withstand the treatment. It is well-known that for every cancer cell that Chemotherapy destroys,
it destroys 100 good, healthy cells also. It means that cancer itself kills fewer people directly. People
who have confidence in their ability to pull on with the disease and how to manage it survive and survive long.

Cancer occurs when cell division gets out of control. Usually, the timing of cell division is under strict control, involving a network of signals that work together to say when a cell can divide, how often it should happen and how errors can be fixed. Mutations in one or more of the nodes in this network can trigger cancer, be it through exposure to some environmental factor (e.g. tobacco smoke) or because of a genetic predisposition, or both. Usually, several cancer-promoting factors have to add up before a person will develop a malignant growth with some exceptions.

The predominant mechanisms for the cancers featured are:

  • Impairment of a DNA repair pathway
  • The transformation of a normal gene into an oncogene and
  • The malfunction of a tumor supressor gene

All types of cancers are a result of the above mechanisms. Details about various types of cancers can be obtained from standard textbooks. Some highlights are given in this section.

The reader is requested to go through the important section on preventive measures.