The bare mention of cancer is reason good enough to leave you in shivers. But it isn't all that deadly as is made out to be, by way of common perception. Through the course of several decades, researches have been carried out in umpteen numbers to unravel the exact nature, symptoms and causes of this malignant disease. Before drawing any drastic conclusion it is important to find answers to queries such as what cancer is. What are its antecedents and consequences?

Cancer - what is its origin?

Has its origin in cells : Cancer has its origin human cell- the essential entity of a living organism. Growth and multiplication of cells are but natural for the healthy sustenance of life and living. Replacement of damaged cell is also one of the natural processes. But things may go wrong impairing the natural flow of growth, damage and repair. Consequently, cellular growth goes beyond the limit of optimized control, giving way to cancer.

Affects other tissues and organs : The uncalled for multiplication of the abnormal type; tends to invade and affect other tissues and organs. Blood circulation along with lymphatic system aids the process of spreading. Consequently, surrounding tissues and organs also come under the influence of this abnormal spurt in growth.

Generally named after the organ of growth : Usually, the organ to be affected for the first time round guides the type and name of cancer. For instance, if such abnormal growth shoots off in the uterus, it is to take the name of uterus cancer.

It may have its origin in a tumor : Generally, the unusual multiplication of cells takes the shape of an additional growth. The growth shows up as a tumor. But it is important to bear in mind that not all lump formations are malignant/cancerous in nature, just as all cancers may not have their origin in tumor like lumps. Blood cancer is one such exception. You needn't break your head about a tumor for most of them are benign in nature.

Categories of cancer according to the organ/systems of origin

Affecting the tissues of the circulatory system : Cancer affecting the tissues involved in the blood formation is referred to as leukemia.

Affecting the immune system.The one affecting the immunological scheme of the human physiology is referred to as myeloma.

Affecting the skin/tissues lining the different organs. Carcinoma is one of the categories of cancer that originates in skin/lining tissues of different internal organs.

Affecting muscles, bones, blood vessels and cartilaginous tissues Abnormal growth in any of these connective tissues/organs is typed as sarcoma.

Causes of cancer

Genetic causes of cancer : The abnormal multiplicity of cells leading to cancer originates with the change/destruction of the genetic matter of a particular cell. Now that abnormal propensity for multiplication may affect several generations. According to the studies carried out in this line, there are reasons to believe that a limited number of cancer types may be hereditary in nature; but the same is not true of the most other variations.

Tobacco driven cancer : There are reasons to vouch for the direct connection between tobacco and cancer. Smoking is thus one of the antecedents. Apart from nicotine, the various carcinogenic inputs of cigarette are potential contributors to cancerous growth, particularly those affecting oral cavities and respiratory organs. Even passive smoking can be one of the causes of cancer.

Exposure to Ultraviolet rays and cancer : UV radiation and for that matter sunlight which happens to be the basis of harmful UV rays is one of the leading risk factors abetting the development of skin cancer.

Lifestyle and its relation to cancer : Lifestyle options including sedentary way of living, obesity, disproportionate body weight, alcoholism, junk palette and dietary imbalance are also some of the other risk factors of cancer.

Environment and cancer : The environment with its envelope of carcinogens including radon, UV light and infection causing agents are some of the hazardous factors as well.

Drugs and cancer : Prolonged exposure to radiation and drugs inimical to immune system can also aid the development of cancer.

Symptoms of cancer

Weight loss : Weight loss over no rhyme and reason is one of the leading symptoms of cancer. Usually cancerous growth affecting the organs of the digestive system leads to abnormal loss of weight.

Vulnerability to infection and fever : Cancerous growth with its influence on the immune system makes one more susceptible to infections. Fever is one of the common symptoms of blood cancer.

Anemia and extreme fatigue : Anemia and blood loss happen to be some of the leading symptoms as well. These are more relevant to the advanced stage in the growth of cancer. This in turn gives way to fatigue and weakness of the extreme kinds.

Common symptom types The aforementioned symptoms are more generic/common in nature. They are some of the possible indicators of cancer.

Symptoms may vary with cancer types

While bleeding may be indicative of cancer affecting the lungs down to that affecting kidney and urinary bladder; constant cough and voice hoarseness may well indicate larynx or throat cancer. Symptoms can be general as well as those specific to cancer types.