Cancer, also referred to as a malignant tumor, refers to a group of diseases that are characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells. Some tumors have the ability to move from the primary site of development to affect other parts of the body (Cassileth 2004). The cells of the body that are cancerous determine the classification of cancer. The most common examples of cancers include lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, brain cancer, colon cancer, and lymphoma, among others (Cassileth 2004).Cancer Disease and Its Impact Report
The symptoms of the disease vary greatly, depending on the size of the tumor, location of the tumor, and the manner in which the tumor spreads. Treatment mainly involves chemotherapy, surgery, use of radiation, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, gene therapy, and the use of immune system cells that are cancer-specific (Hanahan & Weinberg 2011). This essay discusses cancer in detail by addressing the disease history, impact of the disease on human lives, and the scientific efforts to deal with the disease.Cancer Disease and Its Impact Report
Cancer has been affecting humans and animals through history. Although it was not earlier on referred to as cancer, many people, particularly scientists and medics, had written about the syndrome. The presence of cancer signs in human mummies and some fossilized bone tumors in Egypt serves as evidence to confirm the occurrence of cancer in the early days. The first-time cancer case was described in the year 3000BC in Egypt, although the actual word cancer was not used by then (Mukherjee 2010). This description of cancer is in the book called “Edwin Smith Papyrus”, which is a copy of the oldest textbook of Egypt referred to as “Trauma Surgery”. However, the condition was described as having no treatment (Mukherjee 2010).
The name of the disease was founded by Hippocrates, a Greek Physician. Tumors that would cause ulcers were termed as carcinoma, while those that did not form ulcers were termed as carcinos. These words mean crab in Greek. They were probably used owing to the spreading projections that are finger-like, which mimic the shape of a crab. Later, Celsus, a Roman physician, translated it into cancer (crab in Latin) (Mukherjee 2010). Another Greek physician, Galen, described the tumors as oncos. Although this term is not used often, it is used to describe the specialists in cancer, the oncologists (Kardinal & Yarbo 1979).
Scientists had developed a better understanding of the syndrome by the 15th century. The foundation of the study of modern day cancer dates back to 1761, when Giovanni Morgagni performed autopsy procedures to establish the relationship between the illness of the patient and the findings after death. Later, John Hunter, a Scottish surgeon, suggested that certain cancers could be cured through operations.
He also described the conditions in which surgeons could choose to operate or not (Mukherjee 2010). The development of anesthesia in the 16th century allowed surgery to be used widely in the treatment of cancer. The development of the microscope and complex technology in the 19th century resulted in scientific oncology. Tissues can now be well studied, precise and accurate diagnosis can be made, and effective medical procedures can be applied to manage the disease (Kardinal & Yarbo 1979).Cancer Disease and Its Impact Report