Cancer FAQ – The seven most important questions and answers

About four million Germans are suffering in their lives already to cancer (as of 2017). For 2018, the cancer information service (KID) has estimated the number of new cases to almost 500,000. Cancer is one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century. and 21. Century and one of the world’s most common causes of death. Maybe so many fairy tales and half-truths about the treacherous tumors are circulating. The star would like the world cancer day on 4. To make February to answer the most important questions on the topic, with half-truths and Affected and their families courage. The most important questions and answers.

1. What is cancer actually?

Simply put, cancer is a disease in which a body degenerate in its own cell and in the result of uncontrolled multiplies. The starting point of most of the cancer diseases, the inner and outer body surfaces. The so-called tumor cells destroy in the sequence healthy tissue. Healthy cells have a sort of internal clock, which regulates, among other things, the time of the division, growth, maturation, and, ultimately, the death of the cell. This clock controls the phases in the life of a cell, called the cell cycle. In a cancer or tumor cell, this rule is disturbed mechanism.

Important: distinction between benign and malignant tumor cells. The latter often via the blood and lymph vessels into the tissue of other organs, they settle there, and ultimately form metastases of the original tumor, so-called metastases. Benign tumors can become very large, growing, but, in General, about their formation layer. You are no metastases.

2. Where does the name “cancer”?

The disease “owes” her name in fact, the eponymous crustacean. The Greek physician Hippocrates is said to have been the First, the beads welded as “Karkinos”, to be referred to – and in 5. Century before Christ. Literally translated, this means as much as “sideways, over cancer”. The superficial growths in the female breast should have remembered the time of Hippocrates to the shape of the animal. Similar records there are of Claudius Galenus, a physician and philosopher of the 2. Century after Christ. He described his observations as follows: “… and on the chest we saw often, tumors that were in the shape of a cancer very similar. As the legs of the animal on both sides of the body, the vein leaving the Tumor, similar to its Form in accordance with the cancer of the body.“

3. How does cancer develop?

Healthy cells follow one of the nature for the health of defined mechanism. They divide, Mature, learn their specific tasks, aging and dying, when the organism requires it. Cancer occurs precisely when the System, the internal clock, the device clock. The result is that the cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably, do not differentiate properly, if at all, so your task to learn – the natural cell death.

But why degenerate cells at all? What are the causes for this Dysregulation? The key lies in our genes, and more specifically the fact that genes change or mutate. In rare cases, genetic defects or mutations will develop the disease is inherited, that increase risk in childhood cancer.

There is not often a cause of Cancer, the disease can be traced. However, a number of factors that increase the risk of developing cancer, including Lifestyle and environmental factors, but also pathogens and a family history.

Include cancer risk factors include cigarette Smoking, alcohol, Obesity, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and UV radiation. Smokers and people who expose themselves frequently exposed to the sun, for example, have a higher risk of cancer than people who avoid these risk factors consistently. Around half of all cancers, according to experts, could be due to Changes in life style to avoid.

In addition, there are other cancer-inducing substances – called carcinogens – on the you as an Individual, have little to no influence. To do this, especially toxic substances such as asbestos, some chemicals and environmental toxins and the natural radiation count. Also, pathogens, such as HP viruses can cause cancer. Experts recommend that for certain at-risk groups, therefore, a preventive inoculation against the virus.

In some families, it often comes to cancer. This is because there is an increased risk of disease can be inherited but not the disease itself. Not every person with an increased risk of Contracting the disease inevitably to cancer. This is mainly due to external influences that can affect the risk of cancer, despite the predisposition. According to the German cancer research center for about 5 to 10 out of 100 cancer diseases due to a hereditary predisposition.

Important: Not every damaged cell develops automatically to cancer. The immune system fights damaged cells and can destroy them in the rule. It creates a cell to divide in spite of the damage, can cancer.

4. What are the most common types of cancer?

In science, more than 300 types of cancer are currently known, which differ in the incidence, prevalence, and their effects are part of each other. Among the most common cancer in Germany breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and skin cancer. More than half of the annual new cases, approximately 270,000, are attributable to these five types.

a) breast cancer

Nearly 60,000 women are diagnosed according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Germany annually of breast cancer. About 17,000 die of it. In women, breast cancer is by far the most common cancer. As with most other types of cancer also increases the risk of developing breast cancer with age. Physicians speak here also of the General age-related risk. The average age of onset is 63 years.

b) prostate cancer

Prostate carcinoma is the 26 percent in the first place, of tumor diseases in men, the fatal. Almost 65,000 men in Germany are diagnosed each year with prostate cancer. The average age of onset is about 70 years. The special feature is that we distinguish between the malignant Tumor and benign enlargement of the prostate. The latter, while not causing problems with urination, but over the gland, in the cells.

c) colorectal cancer

In the Ranking of the annual new cases of colorectal cancer for women and men is on the second place. More than 73,000 people, according to the RKI each year, this diagnosis. Every third Patient does not survive the Tumor. Most bowel cancer occurs in the rectum. But also the colon and the rectum, and the anus can be affected. The cancer is detected early and treated appropriately, today it is curable.

d) lung cancer

In more than 90 percent of the disease cases of the carcinoma of the lung are malignant. Around 50,000 people, including 15.200 women, are diagnosed according to the RKI each year of lung cancer. The number of new cases is increasing in women. In nine out of ten cases, Doctors can cause lung cancer to Smoking. Cigarette smoke contains numerous carcinogenic substances. Rarely, lung cancer is curable. To precisely quantify the chances of a cure. However, that lung cancer is the leading cause of death with almost 30,000 deceased per year in men currently, the cause of all types of cancer.

e) skin cancer

The consequences of the so-called black skin cancer (Malignant melanoma) die each year about 3000 people. 24.000 developing new. Detected early, is to treat the cancer but well. Excessive exposure to the sun is one of the most important risk factors for both the white (about 195,000 new cases per year), as well as for the black skin cancer.

5. How can you protect yourself against cancer?

There is probably no disease more research is needed on how cancer. Also so you know by now, such as certain types of cancer can be prevented. In one of the cancer researchers around the world agree: A reasonable life-style can reduce the risk of getting cancer, significantly. A recipe for a life without cancer. Scientists suspect, however, that only a change in nutritional habits could reduce the incidence of Cancer by up to 40 percent. In order to give everyone the Chance to keep his cancer risk as low as possible, cancer experts from all over Europe created the so-called European code of conduct for the prevention of cancer. It contains twelve simple rules for the prevention and early detection.

6. How is cancer treated?

Because there is no “cancer”, is ranging the spectrum of therapies to treat tumors, wide. Each tumor type is different – the course of the disease vary from Patient to Patient. It is therefore important that treatments are always tailored to the individual Situation of the patient – Doctors talk of personalized cancer medicine. Three important pillars of therapy in the past years and decades. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Also, the so-called immunotherapy, in the case of the different methods, the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, played in the last few years, an increasingly important role. To this end, stem cell transplantation, hyperthermia treatment and complementary medicine, with herbal medicines, which is mainly used as a Supplement to cancer therapy popular.

The tumor is suffering so far advanced that the Patient will not survive the cancer, the palliative medicine. Here it is, in particular, to maintain the quality of life for the remaining weeks or months, as well as to give pain relieve and the patient care and proximity to.

In 2016, the US-biomedical scientist, Leroy Hood, his concept of the so-called P4 medicine. He also aims at the principle of the tailor-made cancer therapy. The concept is considered to be one of the possible therapies for the future. The phrases präventiv, personalisiert, partizipativ and pprecise to give him his name.

7. Why is cancer so difficult to cure?

A difficult question. “Each cancer is biologically unique,” says cancer researcher Michael Baumann in an Interview with “VDI Nachrichten”. Therefore, each Tumor to speak differently to certain approaches to therapy. “The power to treat him so hard.” Malignant tumors can proliferate in all the tissues, organs and organ components, and sprinkle. Each cell can degenerate. This is what makes the disease so unpredictable. The causes for the idiosyncratic history of each individual disease is not understood cancer researchers. But it is also true that the chances of a cure on all cancer types are currently at about 50 percent. It looked 20 years ago. Many types of cancer are now quite treatable. And the cancer researchers around the world are tinkering more and more methods and therapies, the chances of recovery – even in the currently difficult-to-control types of cancer continue to improve.

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German cancer research center DKFZ / / German cancer society DKG / cancer Advisor / centre for cancer registry data at the Robert Koch Institute / VDI news