Cancer is a group of several diseases caused by faulty cells. The faulty cells grow, multiply and spread far much faster than normal cells. These cells vary from the normal cells to the extents that they do not die when they are supposed to like the normal cells. They divide uncontrollably and eventually clump together to form tumors. A developing tumor is very dangerous as it grows into a lump and of cancer cells (O'Dell, 983). This lump destroys all the neighboring normal cells and damages the healthy tissues of the body. In some severe cases, the cancerous cells break away from their original tumor to a different part of the body through the process of metastasis. These cells keep growing even in their new location in the body to form new tumors.
Unhealthy living habits, particularly smoking of cigarette and excessive consumption of alcohol are some of the major causes of cancer in the long-run. The symptoms of cancer are not distinct and are similar to symptoms of common infections such as, fevers and swollen glands. This makes it difficult for one to know whether they are infected or not unless they undergo medical testing.
Ailing individuals suspected to have cancer are checked by an oncologist. An oncologist basically treats and takes care of cancer patients as well as determines what kind of cancer one is suffering from. They determine whether the cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the body by conducting various tests. Once such tests is a biopsy where a small part of the tumor or a suspected area with cancer is extracted. The obtained tissues are then observed for cancerous cells and treatment begins straight away if cancer is detected. The oncologist decides on the best way to treat the diagnosed individual. The sooner the treatment for cancer begins the better the chances of ones recovery or cure.
There are basically four known standard methods of cancer treatment. These methods are chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and biological therapy. An oncologist provides these cancer treatment options to the infected individual. They recommend the most suitable cancer treatment options based on an individuals type of cancer. The extent to which the cancer has spread, the age and general health of the infected persons are some of the factors considered by oncologists in recommending for a suitable treatment plan. The infected individual makes the final decision on the type of treatment to undergo based on the advice from the oncologist and other qualified professionals.
A cancer diagnosed individual can opt to use drugs to treat the cancer. However, not all drugs in the past have been accomplishing their purpose successfully since some have resulted to unpleasing results. It is essential to note that, drugs that were once considered too toxic to treat human cancer have been reprogrammed by the JohnsHopkinsKimmelCancerCenter (Hopkins). The researchers have breathed new life to the drugs with the aim of making them less toxic for human use. In the past these drugs have been harmful to human health and have brought more harm than relief to cancer patients. The two drugs, decitabine (DAC), and azacitidine (AZA), are epigenetic-targeted drugs and work to alteration that cause cancer and modify the DNA (Hopkins).
The drugs as analyzed by the researchers, take aim at cancer stem cells which are self renewing and rather dangerous. These cells have an ability to evade most of the cancer drugs and in some instances cause recurrence and spread. According to a report by John Hopkins team, low doses of the drugs tested on cancerous cells cause antitumor responses in lung, breast and colon cancers.
Chemotherapy agents are very effective in their purpose as they poison and kill all rapidly dividing cells indiscriminately. These actively dividing cells include cancer cells and are done away with by damaging of their cellular machinery and DNA. According to he deputy director of JohnHopkinsKimmelCancerCenter, low doses of AZA and DAC are able to re-activate genes that inhibit the growth of cancer cells (Hopkins). It is able to do this without killing the cell immediately or damaging the DNA.
The toxic nature of AZA and DAC led to majority of the cancer experts to abandon them since they affected normal cells negatively at standard high doses (Hopkins). There action on cancer had not been given much effort in relation to research. When a sample of the drugs at low doses were administered to a pre-leukemia patient, they were beneficial. Low doses of the drugs also benefit patients with lung cancer. This low-dose therapy is completely effective as it reverses all the cancer cells gene pathways and makes cells revert to a normal state before dying. These valuable results were obtained due to the alteration of the epigenetic of DNA. AZA is also known to reduce metastatic breast cancer cells despite floating nature that makes them difficult to control.
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An individual’s chest contains two lungs located inside the ribs that appear as a cage (ribcage). These lungs function majorly in two different ways, which is by passing oxygen through the blood into the body and in the process removing carbon dioxide from the body. When an individual inhales through the mouth or nose, the air inhaled passes through the windpipe or trachea into two alienated airways. These airways, namely the right bronchus and left bronchus, hold the two lungs and direct air into the lungs. Furthermore, the two airways are divided into lesser tubes (bronchioles) that still form small air sacs (alveoli) which in the end filters in the air containing oxygen where else carbon dioxide is filtered out from the blood.
Lung cancer starts when there is a magnitude of cells growing, which can be intricate to manage, in the lungs. This growth piles up to form a lump. Mostly, this lump is malignant meaning it can be cancerous or at times not cancerous (benign). The lump (tumor) forms mostly on the inside layer of the bronchi or the tissues of the lungs. This is the initial stage or the primary stage of lung cancer. Afterwards, the tumor might spread through the bloodstream to the entire immune system of the body, hence advancing to the secondary stage.
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Lung cancer can be categorized into two major types, namely; non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Mainly, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is divided further into three different types; firstly are the Squamous cell carcinoma (O'Dell, 983). These cancer cells are flat shaped and appear as fish scales and commonly affect the bronchi. Secondly are the Adenocarcinoma cancer cells. They appear as mucus substances and affect the outer part of the lungs. Women are mostly affected by this type of cancer. Lastly is the Large cell carcinoma. This type of caner is rare and can affect the cells that for the outer part of the lungs.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) grows and spreads rapidly, affecting various parts in the body generally the cell of the bronchi. Usually, they affect the less large cells of the lungs thus treating it becomes difficult. This type of cancer might be caused by various factors including preceding lung ailment, being exposed to radioactive emission or smoking.
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Efforts made by several health centers to treat lung cancer provide results that indicate tumors respond positively to azacitidine and decitabine. This indicates that cancer patients who fit particular profiles (epigenetically and genetically) can be considered in a treatment approach using these drugs instead of a detached therapy (Hopkins). U. S health department approved applying low doses of these drugs to treat myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and myelomonocytic leukemia (MML) which might be chronic. Generally, trials have already begun in treating patients with advanced lung and breast cancer while planning to start trials in treating colon cancer.
It is thus justifiable to conclude that researchers have made huge success in the attempt of suppressing cancerous cells and cancer as a whole. The eradication of this dangerous disease has not been easy since some of the drugs used to treat it have been totally transformed to give positive results. Treating lung cancer might seam a difficult task but with availability of these drugs it becomes manageable. The AZA and DAC drugs for instance have been administered in lower doses to prevent them from destroying normal cells and on the same note damage cancerous cells.