causes, detection and treatment of cancer

  • Created by: Laurie
  • Created on: 16-04-12 15:02

what is cancer?

Cancer is a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the body

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Metastases are secondary tumours – these are formed when cells from malignant tumours when they break off and spread to other parts of the body via blood or lymphatic system (metastasis)

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what causes cancer?

Radiation radiation that are high in energy can damage the bonds in DNA- this leads to mutations, ultraviolent radiation can cause skin cancer.

Carcinogens carcinogens cause changes in DNA, DNA can be repaired by cells – it often takes lots of carcinogens before cancer is triggered. Carcinogens in cigarettes causes cancer, carcinogens in alcohol can cause cancer.

Ageing older people have been exposed to more factor that cause cancers, they have also more time to accumulate damage DNA. 

Heredity some people inherit genes which make them more likely to develop cancer.

Viruses some viruses cause cancer, viruses infect cells by inserting new genetic materials into cells – cause changes in cell’s DNA.

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how cancer is detected?

X-rays - X-rays use high energy rays to take pictures of the inside of your body; they can show changes in tissues and organs.

Mammography – type of x-ray used to detect small tumours in breast

CT scans/CAT scans – tunnel shaped machine – that takes x-ray pictures from different angles – a computer builds up 3D images of the body; making it easier to see tumours

Thermography – digital infrared images – warmer parts of body give off more infrared radiation; cancer tumours are warmer as they respire more.

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Ultrasound - use sound waves to build up a picture of the inside of the body, the radiographer can see if there are any abnormalities

MRI scans - scan uses magnetism to build up a picture of the inside of the body, taking measurements of different parts of body. A computer makes these measurements into 3D images (more detailed than CT scans but more expensive)

PET scans patient is injected with radioactive substance that breaks down and releases gamma rays; the gamma rays emit a pattern which is used to build up an image of body, these can be used to see abnormalities

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how cancer is treated?

Chemotherapy – a chemical that is toxic to dividing cells, cancer cells divide more rapidly than normal cells.

Radiotherapy – ionising radiation destroy the cancer cells, ionising radiation destroy actively growing cells   

Surgery – where the tumour is removed

Lumpectomy - removal of the tumour a in breast and a border of breast tissue

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