The Mysterious Face Of Cancer Every person on
earth will eventually one day have to leave it
behind. It is not the choice of the person whether
they go peacefully or whether they go with pain.
More often than not a person will go with pain.
This is the case with cancer. More and more people
die everyday from cancer and it appears to ruin
the lives of all those associated with it. What
people need to understand though is yes cancer is
a life altering chain of events but cancer is not
the end of the world. Death is inevitable; there
is no way around it. Perhaps cancer patients
realize this more than anyone.
All creatures born
upon this earth must, in the end, die. Some live
long and peaceful lives. But others are caught up
in struggles-must fight for their lives
(Silverstein 12-13). This is the case with cancer.
Cancer patients will struggle and fight for their
lives and not have the luxury of dying peacefully.
The cause of cancer is still unknown to scientists
but they have been able to come up with some
possible explanations. Cancer affects newborn
babies, boys, girls, women, men, animals and even
plants. The possible causes of the cancers that
affect each of these groups include chemicals in
the body, viruses, ultraviolet rays, smoking, and
it has been proven to be hereditary in some cases.
Many people who develop cancer have had repeated
or prolonged contact with one or more of these
cancer causing agents (Silverstein 27).
many different types of cancer it may, for some
people, seem impossible for scientists to discover
a cure. There are more than one hundred known
types of cancer. Scientists are sure there are
many more they just have not yet been diagnosed.
The cancers that are most common in women are
breast cancer and cancer of the uterus. The
cancers that are most common in men are lung
cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. Lung
cancer kills more than 50,000 men a year. More men
are likely to get lung cancer because in general
men smoke more than women.
Along with these
leading cancers among women and men there are
several other cancers that are common in both.
Cancers of the colon, rectum, and large intestine
kill more than 45,000 Americans a year (Altman and
Sang 78). With numbers like that a person may
begin to wonder if anyone survives the cancer
battle. There are three main ways doctors and
scientists detect cancer in a patient. About 50
percent of all cancers start in parts of the body
that a physician can routinely examine during an
office visit. Even though a doctor may think he or
she has come across a cancer he or she has to have
further examinations to determine if he or she is
right. The three tests that are performed most
often are an X-ray technique called mammography,
Pap tests, and colonoscopys.
For a final
diagnosis, on what a doctor has found, a biopsy is
conducted (Anderson 56). The sooner cancer is
discovered, the better the chance that it can be
treated successfully. If a patient does have
cancer and it is caught in the early stages there
is a greater chance of a recovery, or remission
period. Although cancer is the second biggest
killers in this country, in the past five years
nearly 3,000,000 people have been successfully
cured of the cancer disease (LeShan 98). When a
person looks at a statistic like that it can
really make them think on how serious and deadly
cancer really is. There are three main types of
cancer treatment doctors perform with patients.
Surgery, radiation therapy, and drug therapy have
all proven to be somewhat effective in the battle
In most cases a combination of two
or three of these methods are used for treatment.
Surgery is most often used to treat cancers of the
breast, colon, lungs, stomach, and the uterus.
Although surgery may not cure the cancer
completely it aids in the healing process of
patients and may give them a longer time period to
live. Radiation therapy involves attacking cancers
with X-rays or with rays or particles from
radioactive substances. Radiation is most often
used to treat cancers in the bladder, cervix,
skin, and parts of the head or neck. Although
radiation therapy can be effective it comes with
many undesirable side effects. These side effects
include; hair loss, not only does it kill
cancerous cells it kills normal cells, and it
makes the patient weak and susceptible to other
viruses. The last form of treatment doctors often
us is to prescribe drug therapy or as it is most
commonly known chemotherapy.
More than 50 drugs
are used to fight various cancers, these drugs
have been highly effective in treating leukemia
and lymphoma. These anticancer drugs are designed
to destroy cancer cells with as little injury to
normal cells as possible. Along with radiation,
drug therapy produces many undesirable side
effects ranging from nausea to high blood pressure
(Auerbach 28-49). Even though these treatments
have undesirable side effects many patients would
much rather prefer to endure those side effects
rather than have to cope with the cancer and the
chance of death. Most cancers are treatable if
they are detected in the early stages. In fact
nearly half of all cancer victims could be saved
if they had known they had cancer earlier.
have successfully treated many types of cancer
because they caught it before it could run wild.
Using the treatments that were previously listed
are the most effective ways cancer patients are
treated (Anderson 139). Cancer researchers are
searching everyday for additional cures for cancer
and they have high hopes that on day there will be
a cure. Sadly, many people discover they have
cancer after it is too late. Doctors are able to
prolong the life of the patient to an extent, but
that holds no guarantee of how long the patient
will live. Cancers ability to spread to other
parts of the body makes the disease extremely
difficult to treat unless it is detected early.
After cancer reaches the lymph nodes and affects
the majority of the cells in the body there is no
stopping it. When the cancer reaches these parts
it takes over a persons system and he or she has
little chance of survival (Altman & Sarg 143).
Knowing a person is at risk will greaten his or
her chance of successfully fighting cancer.
are several warning signs of cancer that may save
a persons life. Cancer shows no symptoms in its
beginning stages but symptoms may appear before
the disease has a chance to spread. Using these
warning signs/symptoms may save a person from
becoming another one of cancers helpless victims.
If a person has any of these symptoms for a period
of two weeks or longer he or she should contact a
doctor immediately. Some of these symptoms
include; change in bowel or bladder habits, a sore
that will not heal, unusual bleeding or discharge,
thickening or lumps in the breast or elsewhere,
indigestion or difficulty in swallowing, an
obvious change in a wart or mole, and the last
symptom is a nagging cough or hoarseness (Auerbach
31). These seven warning signs/symptoms can save
many lives if they are taken seriously and a
physician is consulted immediately. Scientists may
not know right now why cancer affects certain
people but they do know that it has nothing to do
with age or gender.
Cancer is simply the outcome
of abnormal cell reproduction that can happen to
anyone. This abnormal reproduction can be
inherited or caused by a cancer-causing agent.
Although cancer does not have a specific target
the people who are most susceptible are
middle-aged individuals and the elderly. This is
mainly in part because their immune systems are
not as strong as younger people and that they have
been in contact with many of the cancer causing
agents long before anyone knew that these agents
could cause cancer. Cancer does not strictly
affect men or women; in fact it occurs about
equally between the sexes (LeShan 34). Cancer is a
huge problem that affects everyone and it will
continue to be one until doctors and scientists
discover a cure to stop it. In the United States
about 8.4 million Americans alive today have a
history of the cancer virus.
These people may be
survivors of cancer or may have developed the
cancer virus. An estimated one out of every three
of these people has been saved from the cancer
virus and is now in remission. When comparing this
with the early 1900s, where anyone who had cancer
died, cancer research and development has come a
long way (Altman & Sang 98). With the hope
that cancer research and development will continue
to grow the hope that a cure will soon be found
will continue to flourish. Almost 552,000
Americans will develop cancer in the next year.
Some of these people may be saved where as others
will fall victim to the virus and die. With hopes
that these people discover they have cancer early
on, the death rate of these people will not rise
to extreme heights.
Many of these people could
have avoided the cancer virus by not smoking,
avoiding cancer causing agents, and taking better
care of themselves (Silverstein 67). When thought
about the majority of these people could have
avoided the cancer virus completely or even beat
it just by taking an extra step and watching their
health and taking note of cancer causes and their
symptoms. There are several things a person can do
to reduce his or her risks of getting cancer. Even
though these suggestions hold no guarantee that a
person who uses them will not get the cancer virus
they are a smart way to stay fit and reduce the
risk of the development of the disease. These
suggestions include; a significant intake of
vitamins A, C, and E, eating certain foods such as
whole grain breads, cereals, seafoods, broccoli,
cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, and carrots,
avoiding a significant contact with cancer causing
agents such as Ultraviolet rays, prolonged
exposure to the sun, tanning beds, avoiding
smoking, and having tests done yearly if cancer is
in your family (Auerbach 250). People who use
these suggestions are less likely to develop
cancer and will not only be preventing cancer but
will be healthy and preventing other life
threatening diseases and viruses.
There are still
many unanswered questions about cancer, its
causes, and its effects. Until these questions are
all answered there can and will not be a cure.
Cancer will go on to affect people in this world
as it has for many years. It will alter the lives
of every person involved and it will change their
lives forever. The people with cancer are not the
only victims; their friends, families, co-workers,
or anyone else associated with them are also
victims. Sometimes the people who are still here
after the cancer patient has passed on are the
ones that will suffer more than anyone else. These
people are the people who will not stop until
there is a cure and this deadly disease is
This may be the only way for them to be
assured that their loved ones did not die for no
apparent reason, but died to perhaps light the
path for further research and development for a
cure. Works Cited Altman, Roberta. The Cancer
Dictionary. New York: Fact On File Inc., 1992.
Anderson, Greg. 50 Essential Things to Do When The
Doctor Says Its Cancer. New York: The Penguin
Auerbach, Michael. Conversations
About Cancer. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins,
1997. LeShan, Lawrence Ph. D. Cancer As A Turning
New York: The Penguin Group, 1989.
Silverstein, Alvin & Virginia. Cancer. New
York: The John Day Company, 1972..
Research essay sample on Important Information People Should Know About Cancer