Cancer Stages


Cancer Stages & Cell Replication

Cancer stages are four. Whether Cancer is at its first or fourth stage, it is still a  genetic disease and it occurs by mutation or abnormal activation of cellular genes that control cellular growth during cell replication (division or mitosis). The abnormal genes causing this mutation are known as Oncogenes. As many as 100 different oncogenes exist. There is also another type of cells known as tumor suppressors or anti-oncogenes. Their role is to suppress the activation of oncogenes. In conclusion, cancer occurs when oncogenes are activated and tumor suppressors are inactivated. Despite the mentioned processes, only a minute fraction of the mutated cells in the body could lead to cancer.

Cancer Stages

The survival of cancerous cells depends on the environment or ecosystem of our body we have been creating for a long span of time.
First, the mutated cells have no survival capability and cannot compete with a normal cell unless there is a favorable environment for the mutated oncogenes.  Second, some of those cancerous cells are destroyed by our immune system before they grow into cancer. Hence, a healthier body has a better immune system capable to destroy the unwanted cells. Third, researchers point out aging as contributing factor for cancer. Elderly with a compromised immune system are more susceptible to various infectious disease and cancer. Also,  people on immunosuppressant drugs after kidney or heart transplantation are more prone to develop cancer. Fourth, cancer to develops several oncogenes must be activated. One solo mutated cell cannot cause neoplasm to occur. This simultaneous activation is needed to form blood vessels to transport nutrients to the mutated cells. Without this needed nutrition the cancerous cells will not thrive in our ecosystem and will undergo cellular death  

Mitosis is called also cells reproduction. This process happens when a cell splits to form identical daughter cells. This division happens during tissue growth or replacement.

Malignant tumors known also as cancers are not encapsulated formations and have the tendency to spread to other regions of the body. Whereas, localized cancer does not go beyond its primary region and it is called cancer in situ. While growing cancer needs nutrients, hence the formed neoplasm creates its own system of blood vessels (angiogenesis). The newly formed blood vessels connect to existing vessels and cancer cells migration starts via the bloodstream and lymphatic system. This wandering of cancer cells is called metastasis. Metastatic cancer goes beyond its primary location to form secondary cancer in an adjacent organ or to the lymph nodes. Places the primary tumor migrates to, depends on the type of cancer. For instance, Breast Cancer spreads beyond its primary place to the lungs, bones, and brain; Colon Cancer cells proliferate to distant organs and lymph nodes, such as lungs, liver, peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity); Prostate cancer could migrate to hip, spine, and pelvis bone; Lungs cancer  spreads to lymph nodes, brain, bones, liver, and adrenal glands (located above the kidney); Stomach cancer goes to other locations by the mean of blood circulation to the liver, spleen, pancreas, and aorta. Cancer cells evade the immune system and cause inflammation. As a result the immune system is compromised and the body is more prone to infection. They also compete for nutrients with the normal cells. As mentioned before cancer cells multiply indefinitely and their demand for supply is tremendous. As a result, the normal cells suffer and gradually the tissues undergo nutritive death

Many Types of cancer treatment exists. The type of treatment a patient has strongly depends on the type of cancer and how advanced it is. Some people will gave one type of treatment others will have a combination of treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and/ or radiation therapy. Some patients may also have immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or hormone therapy. As you see, there is a myriad of possibilities for treatments and all depends on the type and stage of cancer. In some cases, clinical trials might be an option for the patient. Understanding all the available options for you, may help ones making an informed decision you feel good about.

Today, when people are diagnosed with cancer, they usually receive the same treatment as others who have the same type and stage of cancer. Even so, different people may respond differently, and, until recently, doctors didn’t know why. After decades of research, scientists now understand that patients’ tumors have genetic changes that cause cancer to grow and spread. They have also learned that the changes that occur in one person’s cancer may not occur in others who have the same type of cancer. And, the same cancer-causing changes may be found in different types of cancer.

Precision medicine helps doctors select treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of their disease. In Precision Medicine, patients that share the same genetic changes (mutations) receive the same medicine or treatment. Using those genetic changes, health care providers can provide more precise treatment is known as precision medicine.

“Precision Medicine in Cancer Treatment was originally published by the National Cancer Institute. ”Updated: October 3, 2017.


Sally D
Health Professional
Public Health