XiMED’s oncologists are leaders in various areas of cancer care and treatment. Among these are prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, head and neck cancers, gastric cancer, lymphomas, radiation oncology services, and blood and bone marrow diseases. Our oncologists are up to date on new cancer care protocols and treatments and are actively involved in clinical trials.
Every minute, ten million cells divide in the human body. Normally, cell division, accompanied by growth and specialized development, takes place in an orderly pattern. But when a cell becomes malignant, it acts in profoundly abnormal ways.
Cancer develops from a single cell that has undergone mutations in its DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the genetic material which carries the body’s hereditary instructions. Instead of maturing normally and dying, cancerous cells reproduce without restraint. It’s not that they divide faster, but that they never stop dividing, and they fail to mature. When removed from the body and placed in a laboratory dish with nutrients, they actually seem to be immortal.
The Word “Cancer”
Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, is credited with being the first to recognize the difference between benign and malignant tumors.
The invasion of tumors so reminded him of crab claws that he called the disease karkinos, the Greek name for crab. In English this term survives as carcinoma.
The English language also adopted the word cancer, which is the Latin word for crab.
Causes of Cancer
Researchers would be glad to find a single, major cause of cancer, but cancer represents many diseases, each consisting of a complex, multistage process.
What seems clear is that some cancers have much more to do with our lifestyles than with our genetic inheritance. This is indicated by the finding that when people migrate from one country to another, they and their descendants pick up patterns of cancer in their adopted country. For example, when Japanese people move to the U.S., they lose the high risk for gastric cancer which exists in Japan and assume Americans’ high risk for cancer of the colon and breast.
Extensive, worldwide population studies suggest that factors limited to race or genetics play a relatively small role in causing cancer. In fact, only about ten percent of cancers are truly genetic. However, it is increasingly clear that genetic predisposition combined with environmental factors is the major cause of cancer.
Nine Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
The causes of cancer are complex; therefore, nothing can guarantee that you will never get it. However, individually we have some power of prevention over many cancers. By adhering to guidelines such as the nine listed below, your personal liability to cancer can be reduced.