Cancer – The Big C

Cancer is a serious health issue for Irish men. About one in every three Irish men will develop cancer at some stage in their lives and about one in six men will die from it. The word ‘cancer’ is often perceived as a frightening one, yet cancer is not the hopeless diagnosis it once was. Many cancers can now be prevented through the combination of a healthy lifestyle and regular check-ups. Those cancers that can be detected early can be treated before it is too late. Unfortunately, research has shown that Irish men tend to ignore warning symptoms and present late to their doctor for check-ups and medical advice. Through a combination of fear, denial, embarrassment and lack of time, men often ignore their own health, to their cost. The national cancer registry has shown that rates of common cancers in Irish men are set to increase by over 50 per cent by 2020. The four most common cancers in men are:

  • Skin cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Lung cancer
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What Is Cancer?

The basic unit in the body is the cell and we all have billions of cells in our bodies. Normally, cells divide to make more cells when the body needs to either repair existing cells or replace those that have worn out or died. This process of cell growth, repair, death and renewal is normally finely tuned and regulated. It is a continual process and helps to keep our bodies in good shape.

The main feature that all cancers have in common is a lack of regulated or proper cell growth. The inbuilt system of checks and balances breaks down. So when a cancer cell begins to grow, it multiplies out of control. If cells keep dividing when new cells are not needed, a mass of tissue forms. This mass of extra tissue is called a ‘growth’ or ‘tumour’.

Benign and Malignant Tumours

Tumours can be benign or malignant. What’s the difference? Benign tumours are not cancer and are rarely a threat to life. Cells from benign tumours do not spread to other parts of the body. They can usually be removed surgically or treated with drugs Australia Pharmacy online  and/or radiation to reduce their size and, in most cases, they do not recur. Malignant tumours are cancer. There are more than 100 different types. Cancer cells can invade and damage tissues and organs near the tumour as well as spreading to form new malignant tumours in other parts of the body. This spread of cancer is called metastasis (pronounced metastisiss). The word cancer itself comes from the Latin word for crab. This is because historically the swollen blood vessels around the area of a tumour were thought to resemble a crab’s limbs.

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