Chemistry of Cancer

Molly HubnerPeriod 1Extra Credit Paper Chemistry of Cancer Cancerous cells develop when conditions for cells are favorable, therefore following the divisions to continually occur, never stopping. When this happens, a tissue mass of cells called a tumor is formed and does not respond to normal controls regarding cell growth. Cancer cells have the following characteristics: profound changes in the plasma and membrane cytoplasm, abnormal growth and division weakened capacity for adhesion, and lethality. The membrane permeability is intensified and some proteins may be altered or added.

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Enzyme activities may also change and the cytoskeleton shrinks, causing a chaotic atmosphere. Controls are lost and cell populations will dramatically increase. New proteins cause abnormal increases in small blood vessels. Due to the high numbers, the cells can no longer attach itself to the parent tissue. Unless the cancerous cells are removed, they will kill the individual. Cancer is the number one killer in America today. We can say the known causes of cancer are radiation, sunlight, pollution, cigarette smoking and improper diets. I will explain the major causes of cancer, but before I proceed let me define the term “cancer. To be defined cancer is an abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells that can spread beyond their natural boundaries to other parts of the body. Cancers can develop in numerous parts of the body. At first oncogene, genes with highly specialized functions were said to be the ” cancer genes “. This of course was wrong as oncogene promote normal cell division and growth as well as the repair and replacement of damaged cells. Cancer starts when one out of as many as one trillion cells goes awry. When first damaged the cell loses its external controls and then the internal controls defect.

From this it tries to develop a new set of internal controls by multiplying at a rapid pace which spreads colonies throughout the body. Cancer has been said to have two steps: mutation and promotion. During mutation the cell has been hit and permanently damaged; the cell is primed and ready to be molded known as a cancer cellPromotion is the cell division of the cancerous cell which then loses its controls- it then compensates itself by becoming an autonomous body Cancer can take 10 – 15 years to become fully developed, this depending on the cause or the ggressiveness of the tumor. Mature cells tend to progress slower. Metastases is the final stage when cancer is spread through the body by blood vessels or lymphatic channels. Single metastases can be cured usually by surgery or radiotherapy and multiple metastases is cured by chemotherapy . Metastases follows a path- from the primary tumor to a specific organ or organs. Lung Cancer is a disease marked by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The abnormal cells may no longer do the work of normal cells and in turn crowd out and destroy the healthy tissue.

Most of the victims of cancer die from lung cancer. Many of these cases could have been avoided because it most often occurs in people over the age of 50 with a history of smoking. There are different types of lung cancer involving different parts of the lungs. They have different symptoms and are all treated differently. If the cancer is located in one of the bronchi it can irritate the lining of the bronchus and cause a chronic cough. Otherwise known as “smokers cough”. In serious conditions of this cough some might actually cough up blood.

If the cancer spreads it may fill up the bronchus so air cannot easily pass in or out. Repeated lung infections and pneumonia are common with this condition. The leading cause of lung cancer is smoking. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, many of which are carcinogens (may cause cancer). The three of the most damaging toxins are nicotine, tars, and carbon monoxide. Second-hand smoke inhaled by both smokers and nonsmokers is another important cause of lung cancer. Smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancer deaths among men, 79% among women.

Also smoking accounts for about 30% of all cancer deaths. Smokers that inhale two or more packs of cigarettes a day, have a cancer mortality rate 12-25 times greater than a nonsmokers. It has been estimated that if all the smokers in America stopped smoking, lung cancer would be virtually gone. The best known carcinogen is asbestos. Others include nickel, chromate, and vinyl chloride. Risk of lung cancer is greatly increased when combined with smoking. It is obvious that cigarette smoking is the single most powerful cause of lung cancer.

The increase in risk has been observed not only in men, but more recently in women, for smoking has come engage in activities formerly considered the domain of men. Depending upon the number of cigarettes smoked, and the number of cigarettes smoked each day can increase the risk of lung cancer. It is clear that there is a definite and direct dose-response relationship between the smoking dose and the development of cancer. I believe that if someone smokes even a pack of cigarettes a day it will increase the risk of getting cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

It is a radioactive gas found in the earth’s rocks and soil, formed by the natural breakdown of radium. Excessive exposure of radon in the home may increase the risk of lung cancer especially in smokers. If the radon levels are found to be to high, remedial actions should be taken. Another cause of cancer is on the job exposure to carcinogens . You can’t see radon. And you can’t smell or taste it, but it may very well be a problem in your home. It is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas, and when you breathe air containing the gas, you can get lung cancer.

In fact, radon has now been declared the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. Radon can be found all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets in to the air you breathe. Radon can get into any type of building, homes, offices, and schools and build up to high levels. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure in your home because that is where you spend most of your time.

In recent years Cancer is disease that has seemed to scared and infected Americans. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U. S. with more than 1 million new cases occurring a year. With each day scientific findings give a better understanding of the causes of the disease. These findings have opened doors to help treat cancer patients more effectively. Scientists have gained a more specific knowledge of individual cancers and now through the wonders of science have found effective treatments for the disease. To treat Cancer doctors and scientist need an understanding of what the disease actually physically does.

Cancer is defined as “new growth of tissue resulting from a continuing proliferation of abnormal cells that have the ability to invade and destroy other tissues. ” Cancer is not restricted to what type of cell and tissue it may emerge from. Therefore, they describe the disease as a large number of diseases as opposed to just on single disease. Because Cancer involves cells that can easily enter the bloodstream the disease has the ability to spread quickly through the body making it an even more dangerous disease and harder to stop. The idea behind surgery for treatment of cancer patients is to remove all malignant cells and tumors.

With new, more precise, surgical advances, far less tissue is required to be removed thus resulting in a quicker recovery and less chance for serious disability. Surgery is most effective if done in the early stages of Cancer, although it is effective in more developed stages in relieving symptoms. Surgery is also used to make other forms of treatment, such as radiation, more effective. With the reduction of the tumor through surgery radiation treatment may effectively eliminate the tumor. Radiation treatment of cancer uses gamma rays attack Cancer causing tissue.

Since tumors are more sensitive to radiation than normal tissue radiation can effectively eliminate or reduce harmful tissues that surgery can otherwise not remove. Since normal tissues are not as easily harmed by radiation, the negative effects on healthy tissue are not as severe. If the tumor is reduced through radiation, it may become possible for a doctor to eliminate the tumor through surgery. Radiation can also sterilize tumors thus preventing or slowing the spread of the Cancer through the body. This can also help doctors remove the tumor more easily through surgery, and provides a much less involved, painful surgery.

The combination of radiation and surgery, if effective, can offer a cure with fewer negative side effects to the patient. The final traditional means of treating cancer is Chemotherapy. This form of treatment involves the use of drugs. Chemotherapy is used when Cancer has grown throughout the body and is no longer accessible through radiation or surgery. Although after chemotherapy, surgery is often used to eliminate remaining Caceres tissue. In this treatment drugs are administered and pass through the blood stream effecting Cancer tissue and healthy tissue.

Since the drugs affect healthy tissue the patient will become sick from the treatment but because healthy cells divide faster than malignant cells the patient is able to recuperate. Chemotherapy, like all Cancer treatments, is most effective when administered early the early stages of the disease. It is also important that the treatment is consistent and administered frequently in order to achieve the most successful results. Cancer is one of the most leading causes of death in women, children and the elderly in the United States of America.

Cancer is the number one killer in America today. We can say the known causes of cancer are radiation, sunlight, pollution, cigarette smoking and improper diets. Until this day we can say the causes of cancer are many and definitely complex, while the development of most cancers still remain unexplained. Bibliography Avendano, Carmen, and J. Carlos Mendes. Medicinal Chemistry of Anti- Cancer Drugs” ElSever: Hardbook. April 2008 Kotasek, Dusan, and Peter Pannall. Cancer and Clinical Biochemistry. UK:ACB. Venture Publications, 1997