Cancer: Immune System and Damaged Cells Essay Sample
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. When cells in part of the body become overactive, cancer begins. Many kinds of cancer start because of the out of control growth of abnormal cells. How can you prevent cancer? Research shows that there are ways to prevent cancer. Avoiding smoking cigarettes and exposure to smoke will decrease the chances of getting lung cancer. Fruits, vegetables and a well balanced diet are important to keep healthy and will help repair damaged cells. Colleen Huber stated, “All foods should be whole, not processed because of all the synthetic chemicals in packaged food.” (Huber) Keeping track of your personal and family medical history will help the risk factor for certain types of cancer. Lastly, getting screened for cancer regularly will be useful for detecting cancer and will also prevent it. Treatments can also help get rid of cancer. Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancer where one takes certain types of drugs to treat the cancer.
Shortened to “chemo,” it has been helping people since the late 1950’s. Because of chemo, many people with cancer live full healthy lives. To a person with cancer, chemotherapy means something can be done to try to control or cure the cancer. This realization gives cancer patients something that is also essential besides medication: hope. Different chemo drugs can be used to treat different cancer. The drugs go through the body to kill the cancer cells. Chemo is given in many ways; it may be given in a pill or a liquid to take home with directions. One may be given chemo shots in a doctor’s office, hospital or a clinic. Ultimately, chemo may be given in the veins through a needle or a tiny plastic tube called an IV. One may be given chemo once a day, once a week, or once a month. Since chemo drugs are very strong, healthy cells in the body may grow quickly and become damaged which causes side effects. Cells in the bone marrow, cells that grow hair, of skin and mouth and in the stomach and intestine are all affected.
These side effects can be prevented with medication, growth factors, and transfusions. This treatment has a lot of side effects but may change the lives of people who have cancer. Radiation is a treatment for cancer where the use of radiation from x-rays, gamma rays and other sources are used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation can be given through a machine or implant and it can damage both cancer cells and normal cells. Fortunately, most normal cells can recover from the radiation and function properly. The goal of radiation therapy is to damage as many cancer cells as possible while trying not to harm healthy tissue. Some side effects are tiredness, skin reactions, rashes and scarring. The scarring of the body, however, is nothing in comparison to the emotional scars a cancer patient receives through the ongoing treatments. Gene therapy is an extremely experimental technique that uses genes to treat cancer or prevent disease. This therapy consists of the treatment of a disorder by inserting a gene into a patient instead of using harmful drugs and surgery.
If they wanted to treat someone with gene therapy doctors have to know what cells were altered or missing. When using gene therapy, viruses are used to infect cancer cells. Viruses used in gene therapy are only used if the doctor thinks it’s useful in killing cancer cells. Viruses sometimes cause problems such as unwanted reactions to the immune system and unwanted mutation. Another strategy in using gene therapy is liposomes. Liposomes are tiny fat bubbles that are injected into the body to empty plasmid DNA contents into cells. Compared to viruses’ liposomes are good for holding large amounts of DNA, but the liposomes are not as good as viruses because DNA isn’t likely to going in the cells. The first successful Gene therapy was reported to treat cancer in 2006. Immunotherapy is a treatment used for cancer and other diseases that uses specific parts of the immune system to fight cancer.
Immunotherapy is sometimes used with other treatments to treat cancer or is used by itself. When using immunotherapy, it is better to treat smaller earlier stages of cancer and not advanced diseases. People with weak immune systems are likely to get specific cancers, but people with normal immune systems are still likely to get cancer. The two main types of immunotherapy are active immunotherapies and passive immunotherapies. The difference between these two treatments is clear: active immunotherapies stimulate your body’s immune system to fight diseases and passive immunotherapies use immune system components to fight off infections.
Cancer, an uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in the body, can be treated by various forms of medication which can help heal the cancer in a patient’s body. The cancer can occur again at any time in the body after treatment, so follow up treatments are necessary to ensure the body remains cancer free.