Chances are you will probably die from cancer.
We are getting better at detection which has got to help.
Do you even know what cancer is?
We have a perception of cancer that it is some great evil that consumes people from the inside out.
Its quite simple, and really not evil.
It starts with a cell.
The normal cells in our body have one of two sets of instructions.
- One set (stem cells) have instructions that say “build a liver” or “build a heart”.
- The other set says “replicate to replace yourself”.
For example, a skin cell is coming to the end of its life and so creates a new version of itself.
Cancer starts with one cell that gets short circuited and confused, and “forgets” the latter part of its instructions, so the only items on it’s daily “to-do” list is “replicate”.
So, the cell does just that.
It creates a cell with the same instruction “replicate” which creates new cells and so on. The result is a tumour. Simply a glob of cells with the instruction to replicate. If all these cells stay in the same place it can be easy to just cut it out (benign tumour), but if some of these cells have escaped to other parts of your body you are stuffed (malignant).
That’s why it’s so important to either kill these cells with radiation or cut them out with a scapel – because every single cancerous cell left over will blindly carry on with its instructions.
Does this explanation make the concept of “Cancer” a little less scary?