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World Cancer Day is recognized internationally on February 4. The idea behind this day is to bring awareness to the potentially deadly disease known as cancer. It was first recognized in 2000 at the first World Summit Against Cancer. This event was held in Paris, France.
Each year nearly nine million people die from cancer worldwide. The mission for The American Cancer Society — and other similar organizations — is to hopefully lower this number by bringing this terrible disease to people’s attention.
This disease comes in many different forms and can affect people at any age. A few different types of this disease are breast, prostate, lung, brain, and bone. Of course, this horrible disease is not limited to these areas. For it can literally affect any part of the body — including the skin.
It is extremely important for people to follow all recommended screening guidelines — especially those who have a family history of the disease. Early detection can help prevent the disease from progressing too far.
Being able to receive proper treatment for these diseases can and may prolong a person’s life. There are some genetic changes that can contribute to cancer.
The three main types of these genes are proto-oncogenes, DNA repair genes, and tumor suppressor genes. Sometimes these changes are called “drivers” of the disease.
Proto-oncogenes are part of normal cell growth and division. When these genes become altered in certain ways — or become more active than normal — they become cancer-causing genes.
Also involved in controlling cell division and growth are tumor suppressor genes. Certain cell alterations in tumor suppressor genes may divide in an uncontrolled manner.
DNA repair genes are involved in fixing damaged DNA. Cells with transformations in these genes tend to develop additional mutations in other genes. These mutations can end with the cells becoming cancerous.
Becoming aware of these issues could help bring awareness to these deadly diseases. Many people have been affected in one way or another by a type of cancer. The phrase “knowledge is power” really holds true for these types of diseases.
Written by Sheena Robertson
National Cancer Institute: What Is Cancer?
UICC: World Cancer Day 2021
Featured Image Courtesy of Mindmatrix’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Theresa Murray’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License