Cancer is a disease that can occur in nearly any part of the body. It happens when abnormal cells divide uncontrollably, form a tumor and destroy nearby body tissue. The most common type of cancer in women and men are breast cancer and prostate cancer, respectively.
In the early stages of cancer, abnormal cells begin to grow and divide rapidly in a certain part of the body. This is known as cancer growth or carcinoma in situ. As the disease progresses, cancer will eventually form a tumor (growth), which may contain millions of abnormal cells. Cancer spreads when cells from the original tumor break away and enter the bloodstream or lymph system. From there they are carried to other parts of the body.
How does cancer spread?
Cancer cells need oxygen and nutrients to grow and spread. As a tumor grows, its center gets further away from the blood vessels that carry their much needed oxygen and nutrients. In order to survive, cancer cells send out signals known as angiogenic factors, which encourage new blood vessels to grow into and nourish the tumor.
In order for cancer to metastasize (spread) into other organs, it has to go through the following phases successfully:
- Abnormal cells need to break away from the original tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymph system.
- Once inside the bloodstream or lymph system, these cells need to attach themselves to the wall of a blood or lymph vessel and move through it into a new organ.
- During each step of metastatic growth, the cells need to avoid attacks from the body’s immune system, so it can grow and thrive in its new location.
How can I prevent cancer?
Taking preventative steps against cancer is the best way to ensure your health. While there is no way to completely prevent cancer, there are many preventative steps you can take to help lower your risk, including:
- Eating plenty of fruits and leafy green vegetables
- Limiting or avoid processed foods, especially meats
- Avoiding tobacco products
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Protecting your skin from the sun
- Getting immunized from Hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Asking your doctor about regular cancer screening
No matter what comes your way, the team at Regional Cancer Care Associates’ Central Jersey Division is here for you every step of the way. Our network of providers offers a wide variety of options for the best possible cancer treatment outcomes. For more information about skilled, precise treatments, including cancer surgery in Central Jersey, call 732-390-7750 today.