Cells, Cancer, and Cigarettes | Teen Ink

Cells, Cancer, and Cigarettes

October 1, 2007
By Anonymous

There are several ways that healthy cells are different from cancer cells.
Healthy cells live and die, but cancer cells continue dividing and it's never known when they will die off. Cancer cells are more concerned with growth, then their competitors healthy cells are with function. Cancer cells can produce enzymes that will digest protein barriers, making it possible for them to cross into neighboring tissues. Cancer cells have higher nutrient demands then normal cells so they are unable to make their own food. Cancer cells aren't as cohesive as normal cells, making it easy for them to break off, grow and reproduce at an abnormal rate. Cancer cells invade tissue, surrounding it so it can�t function properly, forming growths that attack the organs destroying vital functions. Proto -oncogenes are normal cells that with the slight alteration by cell mutation become oncogenes, which are found in the chromosomes of cancer cells. The activation of oncogenes is the initial conversion of normal cells to cancer cells.

Carcinogenic substances are known to help convert proto oncogenes into oncogenes.
These carcinogens can be linked to the tar that's found in cigarette smoke, Lung cancer was extremely rare before people started smoking.There are two kinds of lung cancer, primary and secondary. Primary lung cancer has two divisions, small cell lung cancer, and non small cell lung cancer, however small cell lung cancer is the more aggressive of the two. Small cell cancer is generally found in people who are heavy smokers; this type will spread to the organs within a short time. Smoking is the main suspect for this deadly disease that so many Americans get diagnosed with.

There are ways that lung cancer is treated based on the type, the amount that it has spread, and the condition of the patient, because small cell lung cancer spreads so quickly throughout the body it Is treated with cancer killing drugs such as chemotherapy. Surgery is rarely used to treat small cell lung cancer, it is only considered if the tumor that the patient has didn't spread to other places in the body, but in most cases the tumor has already spread prior to being diagnosed making it very few people with small cell lung cancer candidates for surgery. The combination of chemotherapy and radiation is used, but is only effective to relieve symptoms, it doesn't cure the disease. This type of cancer is very deadly and the survival rate after five years is very slim.
Non small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer; it grows and spreads more slowly then small cell lung cancer. Surgery is a more open option for patients with non small lung cancer, patients who have surgery will have part of, or their entire lung removed. Surgery is often the first area of treatment the patient receives, if successful, surgery can cure the disease. Chemotherapy helps prolong life and improve the quality of life for patients with non small lung cancer.
It is important to be educated on this disease and how you can decrease your chances of not getting it, maybe the biggest is to discontinue any smoking habit you may have. Smoking kills, and so does lung cancer.

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