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De-mystifying Cancer

by Stuart Wolfe

A Guide to Prevention, Symptoms,

Treatment and Hope

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De-mystifying Cancer by Stuart Wolfe

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Please Read This First

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This Electronic book is Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved. No

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Disclaimer

The advice contained in this material might not be suitable for

everyone.

The author only provides the material as a broad overview by a

layperson about an important subject. The author obtained the

information from sources believed to be reliable and from his own

personal experience, but he neither implies nor intends any

guarantee of accuracy.

All claims made for any product, treatment or other procedure that

is reported in this book is only the author's personal opinion. You

must do you own careful checking with your own medical advisor

and other reputable sources on any matter that concerns your

health or that of others.

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Research is constantly changing theories and practices in this area.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional

medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of

your physician or other qualified health care provider with any

questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never

disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it for any

reason.

The author, publisher and distributors never give legal, accounting,

medical or any other type of professional advice. The reader must

always seek those services from competent professionals that can

review their own particular circumstances.

The author, publisher and distributors particularly disclaim any

liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals who directly or indirectly

act on the information contained herein. All readers must accept full

responsibility for their use of this material.

All pictures used in this book are for illustrative purposes only. The

people in the pictures are not connected with the book, author or

publisher and no link or endorsement between any of them and the

topic or content is implied, nor should any be assumed.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Please Read This First ........................................................................ 2

Terms of Use ............................................................................................................ 2

Disclaimer................................................................................................................. 2

TABLE OF CONTENTS........................................................................ 4

About the Author ............................................................................... 10

1. Cancer – An Overview................................................................... 11

Types of Cancer..................................................................................................... 11

How Cancer Starts................................................................................................. 11

Symptoms of Cancer............................................................................................. 12

How Cancer Develops........................................................................................... 13

Appearance of Cancerous Tissues ................................................................. 13

Prevention of Cancer ............................................................................................ 14

Treatment ............................................................................................................... 14

2. What is Cancer? ............................................................................ 16

What is Cancer? .................................................................................................... 16

How Do Cancer Cells Develop? ........................................................................... 16

Spread of Cancer................................................................................................... 17

3. What are the Causes of Cancer?.................................................. 18

4. Types of Cancer............................................................................. 22

1. Carcinomas ........................................................................................................ 22

2. Sarcomas ........................................................................................................... 22

3. Leukemia ............................................................................................................ 22

4. Lymphomas ....................................................................................................... 23

5. Adenomas .......................................................................................................... 23

5. The Immune System and Cancer ................................................. 24

6. Who Gets Cancer? ........................................................................ 26

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7. Signs and Symptoms of Cancer................................................... 27

General Signs and Symptoms of Cancer:....................................................... 28

Sores that do not heal....................................................................................... 29

Unusual bleeding or discharge ........................................................................ 29

Problem of indigestion.......................................................................................... 29

8. What Are the Risk Factors for Cancer?....................................... 31

9. Lung Cancer in Men ...................................................................... 33

What is Lung Cancer?........................................................................................... 33

Can Lung Cancer Spread? ................................................................................... 33

How Lung Cancer Starts................................................................... 33

Causes of Lung Cancer in Men ............................................................................ 34

Smoking.............................................................................................................. 34

Passive Smoking ............................................................................................... 35

Radon gas .......................................................................................................... 35

Asbestos fibers.................................................................................................. 35

Lung Diseases ................................................................................................... 36

Air pollution........................................................................................................ 36

Family History .................................................................................................... 36

Types of Lung Cancer in Men .......................................................... 37

Small Cell Lung Cancer ........................................................................................ 37

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer ................................................................................ 37

Adenocarcinomas ............................................................................................. 37

Squamous Cell Carcinomas ............................................................................. 38

Large cell carcinomas....................................................................................... 38

Less Common Lung Cancers............................................................................... 38

Bronchial Carcinoids ........................................................................................ 38

Symptoms of Lung Cancer in Men................................................... 39

Diagnosis of Lung Cancer in Men.................................................... 40

Prostate Cancer in Men..................................................................... 41

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Start of Prostate Cancer ....................................................................................... 41

Causes of Prostate Cancer in Men ...................................................................... 41

Symptoms and Detection of Prostate Cancer in Men .................... 43

Detection and Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer in Men...................... 44

Treatment of Prostate Cancer in Men.................................................................. 45

Prevention of Prostate Cancer in Men............................................. 46

Colorectal Cancer in Men ................................................................. 48

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer in Men ............................................................. 48

Risk Factors of Colorectal Cancer in Men .......................................................... 49

Diagnosis and Detection....................................................................................... 50

Treatment of Colorectal Cancer in Men .............................................................. 51

12. Lung Cancer in Women .............................................................. 53

Causes for Lung Cancer in Women..................................................................... 53

Nonsmokers and Lung Cancer in Women ...................................................... 54

Detection of Lung Cancer in Women .................................................................. 54

Effect of Lung Cancer in Women ......................................................................... 54

Effects of Quitting Smoking and Lung Cancer in Women ................................ 55

Survival Rates of Lung Cancer in Women ...................................................... 56

Breast Cancer in Women .................................................................. 57

Anatomy of the Breast .......................................................................................... 57

Start of Breast Cancer........................................................................................... 57

Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Women .............................................................. 58

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Women ......................................................... 58

Screening to Detect Breast Cancer.................................................. 61

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer.............................................................. 62

Treatment Options for Breast Cancer in Women............................ 63

Surgery ................................................................................................................... 63

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Colorectal Cancer in Women............................................................ 66

Colorectal Cancer.................................................................................................. 66

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer .......................................................................... 66

Common Factors that may Encourage Colorectal Cancer ............................... 67

Diagnosing Colorectal Cancer in Women....................................................... 68

Treatment Avenues for Colorectal Cancer ......................................................... 69

Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer ................................................. 71

Imaging Techniques.............................................................................................. 71

1. X-rays:............................................................................................................. 71

2. CT scans: ....................................................................................................... 71

3. MRI scans:...................................................................................................... 72

4. PET scans: ..................................................................................................... 72

5. Ultrasound: .................................................................................................... 72

Endoscopy: ........................................................................................................ 73

Tissue samples through biopsy: ..................................................................... 73

Different types of Biopsies ............................................................... 74

3. Incisional Biopsy:.......................................................................................... 74

4. Endoscopic Biopsy: ...................................................................................... 74

5. Colposcopic Biopsy:..................................................................................... 74

6. Punch Biopsy: ............................................................................................... 75

7. Bone Marrow Biopsy:.................................................................................... 75

Molecular diagnostics:...................................................................................... 75

Prognosis of Cancer ......................................................................... 76

Statistical Survival Rate.................................................................................... 77

Treatment Options for Cancer.......................................................... 78

Cancer Treatment Options ............................................................... 79

Surgery ............................................................................................................... 79

Chemotherapy ................................................................................................... 80

Radiotherapy...................................................................................................... 80

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Hormone Therapy.............................................................................................. 81

Gene Therapy..................................................................................................... 82

Immunotherapy.................................................................................................. 82

Other Cancer Treatments ..................................................................................... 82

Laser treatment: ................................................................................................ 82

Hyperthermia: .................................................................................................... 83

Cancer – Complementary and Alternative Therapies..................... 84

Complementary Systems of Treatment............................................................... 84

Acupuncture: ..................................................................................................... 84

Aromatherapy: ................................................................................................... 85

Hypnosis: ........................................................................................................... 85

Massage: ............................................................................................................ 85

Diet Modification: .............................................................................................. 85

Different Types of Diets: ................................................................................... 85

Herbal Tea: ......................................................................................................... 85

Plant Derivatives: .............................................................................................. 86

Plant based treatments:.................................................................................... 86

Detoxification:.................................................................................................... 86

Anti-Cancer Compounds: ................................................................................. 86

How to Prevent Cancer ..................................................................... 88

Action Plan for Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis ........................... 90

Inform Yourself:................................................................................................. 90

Choose the Right Doctor: ................................................................................. 90

Communicate with Your Family:...................................................................... 90

Try Innovative Approaches to Treatment: ...................................................... 91

Modify Your Diet: ............................................................................................... 92

Continue with Your Daily Life: ......................................................................... 92

Twenty Tips to Help Deal with Cancer............................................. 93

Cancer – Frequently Asked Questions............................................ 97

What is cancer? ................................................................................................. 97

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What are the Major Types of Cancer? ............................................................. 97

What are primary and secondary cancers?.................................................... 97

What is the difference between a malignant and a benign tumor?.............. 97

Is cancer infectious?......................................................................................... 97

What causes breast cancer? ............................................................................ 98

How do I detect breast cancer in its early stages? ........................................ 98

How do I help people with cancer? ................................................................. 98

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About the Author

Stuart Wolfe is a person whose family has been touched by cancer,

like most Americans, friends and other relatives who have had

various kinds of cancer.

He needed to know more about the current state of knowledge of

cancer, its effects and recommended treatments. Now, he has put

what he found into this ebook.

He feels that this material has helped him to deal with his family

and friends who suffer from cancer and also been helpful to their

close family and friends.

Stuart emphasizes that he is not an expert, just a lay person with

some knowledge and experiences that can help other people to cope

with the disease and help those close to them.

He hopes that you will find this material useful and benefit from it.

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Part-I: Introduction

1. Cancer – An Overview

Cancer is a deadly disease and one of the leading causes for

death in developed countries. Cancer can affect people across all

age groups, although it is predominant in the elderly. Cancer

develops due to an unrestricted and uncontrollable division of body

cells. Normal body cells grow, divide, and die systematically.

Cancerous cells follow no set pattern. These cells form, develop, and

spread anywhere and at any rate too. These cells outlive normal

cells and thereby cause harm to body organs and their functioning.

Types of Cancer

There are numerous types of cancer. You can arrive at a proper

diagnosis only after a pathologist conducts a histological

examination of specific tissue. A biopsy or surgery can help doctors

obtain such tissue. A thorough examination of such tissue can

detect the presence of specific type of cancer.

How Cancer Starts

Your body consists of innumerable small cells. These cells are the

living units and control all your body functions. All these cells

contain DNA. These cells grow, divide, and die according to set

patterns. They confirm to strict regulations. However, changes in

the DNA structure of any single cell can cause drastic changes in

this set pattern.

Mutations in DNA structure of your cells could happen due to many

reasons. This causes changes in the organized working of your body

cells. Cells start growing and dividing without any control or system.

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Such uncontrolled division can lead to growth and development of

tumors. Tumors are an accumulation of such diseased cells.

Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors do not spread

and are not cancerous. Malignant tumors are cancerous and spread

to different body parts. Sometimes, you can contract cancer through

organ transplants. Tumors remain within the transplanted organs

and start creating problems after transplantation.

Symptoms of Cancer

There are three predominant groups of cancer symptoms. Although

these are generalized symptoms, occurrence or presence of such

symptoms may or may not cause cancer.

These are:

1. Metastasis symptoms: These cancerous symptoms arise

due to continued spreading and multiplication of cancerous

cells. Common symptoms include enlarged liver, enlarged

lymph nodes, pain in the bones, fracture of affected bones,

and other neurological symptoms.

2. Local Symptoms: These symptoms include excessive and

unusual swellings like tumors, pain, bleeding and internal

hemorrhage, and compression of tissues leading to jaundice.

3. Systemic symptoms: Active cancer in your body could

cause continued weight loss, lack of appetite, anemia,

excessive sweating and night sweats, and striking hormonal

changes too.

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How Cancer Develops

DNA damage is the predominant cause for cancer. Such damage

causes mutations in the genes. These genes are responsible for

controlling cell division through proper regulation of proteins. A

single mutation to DNA cannot and does not result in the

development of cancer. It is necessary for many mutations to take

place before a normal cell will transform into a malignant cell.

Mutations occur due to various reasons like viruses inserting their

DNA into your genome, or radiation, or the presence of carcinogenic

chemicals or physical agents, and other causes.

Mutations can pass from one cell generation to the other. Cancer

can also occur due to excessive exposure to specific factors like

alcohol, tobacco, certain viruses, and others.

Appearance of Cancerous Tissues

Cancerous tissue has a distinct appearance under the microscope.

You can easily distinguish a cancerous tissue from a normal tissue.

Striking features include differences in cell sizes and shapes,

numerous dividing cells, absence of specific cell features, lack of

normal tissue organization, absence of definite tumor margin, and

other similar factors.

Microscopic examination and later biopsy can reveal if specific cells

are cancerous. Sometimes, cells continue to grow and divide at an

excessive rate. However, these may not be cancerous. Such cell

division is according to a set pattern. This is hyperplasia and it is

possible to reverse the situation too.

Although cancer is not hereditary, there are instances of heredity

related cancer occurrences. Certain inherited mutations cause

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ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Retinoblastoma is an example of

inherited cancer in young children. Endocrine tumors, brain tumors,

and colon cancers are examples of such inherited cancers.

Prevention of Cancer

Cancer prevention centers on simple remedial measures. You can

make small changes in your lifestyle and restrict exposure to cancer

risks like smoking, alcohol consumption, and controlling body

weight. Nevertheless, smoking and alcohol consumption do not

necessarily cause cancer, as statistics indicate otherwise. More than

twenty percent of women and ten percent of men developed lung

cancer without smoking.

Restricting body weight and being physically active can prevent the

incidence of cancer. Occupational and chemical exposures and

infectious agents also cause cancer. Although studies indicate a link

between diet and the occurrence of cancer, there is no conclusive

evidence of any specific diet leading to the incidence of cancer.

Different types of cancer are prominent in different parts of the

globe. Immigrants face exposure to such risks in a new country and

therefore could develop cancer.

Treatment

Not all cancers are fatal. It is possible to treat and cure cancer.

Normal treatment options for cancer include chemotherapy,

radiation therapy, surgery, and medications. All treatment options

cause many side effects too.

Cancer treatment depends on the extent of damage in your body. In

some cases, doctors prefer to remove diseased organs to arrest

further spread of cancer in your body. There is no single cure or

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treatment option for cancer as a whole. Recent research has been

able to detect a cure for specific types of cancer. If untreated,

cancer can lead to imminent death.

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Part-II: Understanding Cancer

2. What is Cancer?

Cancer is fast evolving as one of the major causes of death.

Estimates say that more than half of the male population and one-

third of the female population in the United States will develop

cancer sometime in their lives. It therefore becomes imperative to

understand what cancer is.

What is Cancer?

Your body consists of millions of small cells. Cells are the smallest

biological units of every living being. Normal cells grow, divide, stop

growing at a specific time, and die too. All such processes take place

systematically and in accordance with your biological constitution.

However, at times, certain abnormal cells start growing at an

alarming rate. These are cancerous cells. These cells do not follow

any pattern and keep on growing. They divide uncontrollably and do

not die. Normally, such abnormal cells accumulate together to form

a lump or a tumor. These cells destroy other healthy cells within

your body and hamper the normal functioning of body organs.

Resultantly, you feel sick.

How Do Cancer Cells Develop?

Every cell contains DNA, which regulates cell activities and body

functioning. If DNA in your body cells suffers damages due to

smoking or other causes, your body is unable to repair this damage.

Many a time, this leads to the formation and development of

cancerous cells. You can inherit damaged DNA and thereby inherit

cancerous cells too.

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Certain cancers like leukemia do not form tumors or groups of cells.

It circulates in your body using your blood as a medium. It forms

and develops cancerous tissues in different parts of your body too.

Irrespective of where it spreads, cancer takes the name of its origin.

Therefore, leukemia is blood cancer and remains so even if it causes

cancer in the liver or the stomach.

Spread of Cancer

Cancerous cells do not follow any particular pattern. Sometimes,

cancerous cells break away from their original lump and form new

lumps at different parts of your body. This is metastasis. This

process continues and leads to the spread of cancer.

When you are young, the growing and division of normal cells is

rapid in your body. As you grow into an adult, such growing of cells

stops. Your body cells grow and divide only if you injure yourself

and require new cells to replace damaged or worn-out cells.

However, abnormal cells keep on growing and often outlive normal

cells. Such growth can be benign or malignant. Benign growth is

non-cancerous and does not spread. You can remove these cells

too. Malignant growth is cancerous and dangerous.

Cancerous cells in different parts of your body behave and react

differently. Their response to treatment also differs. Hence, it is

essential to diagnose prevalent cancer correctly and thereafter

administer suitable treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment can

ensure fast recovery.

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3. What are the Causes of Cancer?

With the evolution of new techniques and ongoing research, you

must realize that what we “know” about cancer is being revised

constantly. Our understanding of the causes of cancer is still far

from complete.

But, there are certain facts which seem quite clear about cancer.

Some believe that certain viruses increase the risk of cancer, but

cancer is not contagious and is not due to any form of injury.

Environmental factors, heredity, and lifestyle seem to be very

significant in the development of cancer.

Let us study in detail the conditions that are responsible for causing

cancer.

1. Tobacco: Using tobacco and continual exposure to its smoke is

largely responsible for cancer deaths around the world. However,

cancer caused by tobacco is preventable, but the irony is people do

not quit this habit at all.

Smoking accounts to 85% of lung cancer deaths. If you are a

smoker, the risk of lung cancer in you depends on the type of

cigarette you smoke and the number of cigarettes you smoke per

day.

2. Your Diet: The kind of food you consume also affects your

chances of developing cancer. There is evidence of a link between a

high-fat diet and breast, uterus, colon and prostate cancer.

If you are obese or overweight, there are chances that this might

lead to colon, ovary, pancreas, prostate or breast cancer in woman.

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However, enough researches also suggest that food rich with fibers

and particular nutrients are responsible to curb certain forms of

cancer.

3. Sunlight: Ultraviolet radiation from any source be it sun or

tanning booths and sunlamps, damages the skin to cause skin

cancer. If your skin is fair and you easily freckle, then the chances

are higher for you to develop skin cancer if you continuously expose

yourself to ultraviolet radiations.

During summer, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are strongest from

somewhere around eleven in the morning to three in the afternoon.

This means that the risk is highest at this time.

4. Alcohol Consumption: Large amounts of alcohol consumption

leads to cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus. Here,

your chances of developing cancer become higher if you smoke

cigarettes too. Alcohol can damage your liver and as a result lead to

liver cancer. There has been research which shows that the high

consumption of alcohol tends to lead to breast cancer.

5. Radiation: Frequent exposure to radiation, which is from

medical X-rays, can lead to cancer. However, X-rays used for cancer

diagnosis involves very little radiation, but repeated exposure is

harmful.

Early X-rays were a diagnosis for adenoids, enlarged tonsils and an

enlarged thymus, acne, and ringworm of the scalp, in children and

young adults. Moreover, in such conditions there are higher chances

of developing thyroid cancer later in life. If you have a history of

such treatment, it is advisable that you go for a careful examination

of the neck once every year or two.

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6. Exposure in the workplace to Chemicals and Other

Substances: If you work in an environment where you

continuously expose yourself to dust, metals, pesticides, chemicals,

etc., then you definitely stand the chance of developing cancer one

day. The most well-known carcinogens are nickel, asbestos,

uranium, cadmium, radon, vinyl chloride, benzene, etc. These may

or may not need other carcinogens to ignite cancer in your body.

For example, inhalation of asbestos fiber increases the chances of

developing lung diseases, and here one cannot wipe out cancer

either. However, smoking in such circumstances only acts as a

catalyst to causing cancer.

7. Hormone Replacement Therapy: Estrogen therapy is used by

many women to control vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and

osteoporosis, which may occur during menopause. However, there

are studies that reveal that the use of estrogen increases the risk of

cancer of the uterus. There is also enough research, which suggests

that breast cancer in women is the result of the high dose of

estrogen.

8. Diethylstilbestrol (DES): Diethylstilbestrol or DES is a type of

estrogen, which prevents miscarriage. However, it is seen that the

daughters born to women who used estrogen during pregnancy, did

not have a normally developed vagina, uterus, and cervix. These

baby girls also have also the chance of dysplasia, (development of

abnormal cells). In addition, it has also come to light that a rare

type of cervical and vaginal cancer and a slightly higher risk of

developing breast cancer has existed in women exposed to DES.

9 Certain Types of Cancer in Close Relatives: Ovary, breast,

and colon cancer most often occur in the same family. It is however

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not clear whether similar form of cancer that occur in the family due

to hereditary reasons or the environment. Therefore, if these forms

of cancers are there in your family it is advisable that you are

cautious enough and go for proper checkups regularly.

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4. Types of Cancer

There are over more than 200 types of cancer, but they are

grouped into five main types.

1. Carcinomas

This form of cancer arises from the epithelial cell. 85% of the

cancers in the world are carcinomas. They are malignant and invade

the tissues surrounding them and other organs too. This type of

cancer starts from the cells that line the body surface, both internal

and external. Some of the common carcinomas are breast cancer,

bowel cancer, and lung cancer.

2. Sarcomas

Sarcoma is the cancer of soft tissue and supportive or connective

tissues, for example, cartilage, muscle, fat, bone, and blood vessels.

This form of cancer is treated differently because of its different

microscopic and clinical attributes.

Osteo sarcoma or osteogenic sarcoma is the common form of bone

cancer among children. However, soft tissue sarcomas are mostly

common in adults than in children.

Less than one percent of cancer is sarcoma. However, treatment of

this form of cancer is slightly difficult because it has more than

seventy different varieties. The most common form of sarcoma is

gastrointestinal stromal tumor.

3. Leukemia

Leukemia is the cancer of the bone marrow or the blood. The

abnormal production of blood cells, mostly the white blood cells, is

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the main characteristic of this form of cancer. They cause damage

to the bone marrow by displacing the normal bone marrow cells by

multiple white blood cells, which are immature and lack blood

platelets. The blood platelets help mostly in the clotting of the

blood. This means that a person suffering from leukemia may

develop petechiae, bruise, or bleed excessively.

4. Lymphomas

The malignant tumors of the lymph system are lymphoma. This is

the serious form of cancer because the disease can spread

throughout the body through the lymph vessels. The lymph vessels

are a chain of glands or nodes that are located throughout the body

and connect via multiple vessels that carry lymph fluids. This is the

reason why this form of cancer spreads throughout the body.

5. Adenomas

The source of adenoma is glandular and it is a benign form of

tumor. Adenoma cancer forms when there is an excessive growth of

epithelial cells. These cells actively participate during secretion and

spread throughout the body. However, it is not necessary for

adenomas to develop into a cancerous form but the chances are

always there.

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5. The Immune System and Cancer

People get cancer because of a defect in their immune system. In a

normal person, the immune system destroys foreign cells like

cancer cells. Conventional cancer treatment involves lethal doses of

chemotherapy and medicines that leave the patient weak.

Studies are underway at the premier Cancer Research Centers

around the US to modify this defect in a bid to cure cancer in

patients. These clinical trials work on the premise of strengthening

the body’s defenses to fight cancer. The results are promising and

hold hope for millions of cancer sufferers towards a new lease of

life.

Scientists are currently testing a vaccine to prevent an HPV infection

that is a major cause of cervical cancer. This next generation of

research is developing vaccines that prepare the body to attack cells

with a cancerous tag. The vaccine fools the body’s immune system

into attacking cancerous cells and thus stops the growth of the

tumor. This research adopts a constructive approach by not harming

healthy living tissue in a patient already debilitated by the disease

and holds hope for patients of brain tumors, melanoma and blood

cancer.

Patients who fail to respond to chemotherapy and have a remission

of cancer respond well to immune therapy, especially for different

types of leukemia. Another type of treatment involves customization

of the vaccine for every patient. In this, doctors use a combination

of the patient’s lymphatic cells and specific antigen-carrying cells

and give them to the patient with an immune system booster. These

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