How Does Cancer Kill You
Cancer is a severe disease but how does cancer kill you? It usually begins when the body cells grow uncontrollably or abnormally. When cancer is detected and treatment is carried out in the early stages, it would not cause many complications and become life-threatening.
If you are thinking about how does cancer kill you, then one of the most obvious answers is that when it affects major organs in the body and their ability to perform work.
Keep reading to know about how does cancer kills you.
How Cancer Progresses
Our body and organs inside of it produce new cells every second to replace the older cells which are partly damaged. This process is very natural for the division, growth, and death of existing cells.
Our immune system generally has the ability to handle any abnormal cells growing in our body from time to time. When these abnormal cells do not die or killed by the immune system and they keep on growing by reproducing they just evade the response of the immune system causing uncontrollable growth.
As a result of this entire process, each generation of new cells keeps becoming more and more abnormal. These cells generally build up causing tumors that spread to other tissues and then organs of the body. The spreading starts from cells to tissues to nearby tissues and then the entire organ gets affected.
These cancer cells have the ability to break off from the primary tumors to form new tumors. If they keep developing and reach the lymphatic system or bloodstream, they travel to the entire body. When they are able to travel, these cells just form new tumors on all organs and other tissues. This process of spread from one tissue to all organs is known as metastasis of cancer.
There are many types of cancer but among them, blood cancer does not normally form solid tumors inside the body, they metastasize and end up causing severe life-threatening complications in one’s body.
Depending upon which organ cancer starts spreading when the cancer is diagnosed in a person during early stages it can be easily treated with the help of medical science nowadays. However, when it spreads to essential organs like the lungs, liver, or brain to stop their functioning, it is difficult for it to get treated.
There are many complications in cancer too which might be due to the presence of tumor cells in essential organs, for example, complications in brain cancer are common. Complications can also arise when cancer metastasizes from one tissue to another tissue or organ. For example, when there is cancer in the breast but it travels to reach the lungs.
As cancer cells travel throughout the body, they become more difficult to treat to stop. Cancers are of different types among which some tend to spread fast while spreads slowly inside the body. Cancer that spreads aggressively is harder to stop.
It is not difficult to figure out how cancer kills you as it spreads to all parts of the body. Let’s see some of the major complications that cancer can cause inside the body.
When a person develops an advanced form of cancer, malnourishment is the most common cause of people dying. This usually happens because when the tumor is present inside the digestive system, it forms a blockage or it interferes with the processes taking place inside the digestive system like absorption of essential nutrients.
In addition to cancer and various treatments available for cancer, it may also lead to loss of appetite in many people and they are unable to keep their food. Some major signs of malnutrition in people include a weakened immune system, cognitive difficulties, fatigue, wasting of muscles, and loss of lean mass in the body.
Malnourishment might also affect the person’s response to overall treatment thus affecting their survival.
Lack Of Oxygen
When the tumor is present inside the cells. it may block a part of the lung this causing the lungs to collapse. When the lungs collapse or they are diseases, it may lead to:
- Lung infection that becomes very difficult to get treated.
- The inability for a person to absorb enough oxygen for their survival.
- Trouble in breathing.
We all know that liver has some important roles to follow inside our body. The liver has many essential jobs like filtering the toxins present inside the blood and maintaining a balance of various chemicals inside the body.
Some important signs to consider that tells that the lungs are not in proper working condition include:
- Eyes and skin starts turning yellow in color
- Bloating or swelling in the abdomen
- Having dark-colored urine.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Too Much Calcium
When cancer is present inside the bones or it reaches bones, it can cause the calcium levels to rise thus causing a condition known as hypercalcemia. The calcium levels become high and release into the bloodstream.
Once the level of calcium rises inside the bloodstream, it reaches various other parts of the body like kidneys, heart, and muscles. Later it may also cause neurological symptoms like loss of memory, confusion, and depression. Also, the levels of calcium may cause a person to go coma and lead to death.
Cancer can also get inside the blood vessels in a person and cause some serious damage. When it reaches the brain, it may lead to brain stroke.
When cancer affects the bone marrow in a person, it might interfere with the release or production of the following:
- White blood cells are important in the body to fight against infections.
- Platelets are very important to stop bleeding from wounds and healing.
- Red blood cells are necessary for carrying oxygen inside the bloodstream to various body parts.
There are several factors that might increase the risk of developing some serious infections like malnutrition, lack of white blood cells, and tumors inside the lungs that usually make it difficult to fight against any kind of pneumonia developing.
What Lowers Risk Of Complications During Cancer
When a person develops cancer, there is a lot of emphasis on the detection of cancer in the early stages for many good reasons. When cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, it becomes very easy to treat it. It is important to find cancer before it reaches other parts of the body and complications arise in the process.
This is the reason many people suggest getting cancer screenings from time to time to help the doctors figure out whether the cell growth is fine inside the body or not.
When cancer reaches most body parts, it is difficult for the doctors to treat it, they can only slow down the entire process and stop cancer from spreading further to other tissues and organs but the damage is usually done till that time. The doctors also help in managing the various symptoms of cancer making it less painful for the patients.
There are many treatments available for cancer. Different treatments vary based on the type of cancer present inside an individual, where cancer has spread, and the type of complication developed due to cancer.
In most cases, it is seen that various combinations of treatments are necessary to treat cancer which is adjusted by the specialists from time to time.
Systemic Treatment For Cancer
Systemic treatments for cancer are generally those treatments that are needed to target the whole body and not just a specific area from where the tumor cells started growing. Some of these treatments are generally taken through IV and some are given through oral medications with prescriptions from specialists.
Chemotherapy is a popular treatment for cancer. These drugs are used for targeting and attacking cancer cells and shrinking the tumors. This treatment is usually given when the doctors want to stop the spread or metastasis of cancer. When the tumors start interfering with the function of major organs like the liver, lungs, brain, etc, then this treatment is used to shrink those tumors.
Pain-causing tumors are also treated using chemotherapy. Some types of cancer tumors can also be treated using immunotherapy. In this therapy, the doctors help the immune system to identify and distinguish between various cell growths and attack the cancer cells thus destroying them.
When cancer depends on certain types of hormones for its growth, then endocrine therapy or hormone therapy is used to spread cancer and kill tumor cells. Different hormones causing the spread of cancer are:
- Adrenal cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- some types of breast cancer in women.
There are few therapies to treat cancer that are more targeted to be used for a specific type of cancer such as:
Signal Transduction Inhibitors
These are used for the treatment of some types of chronic leukemia. This therapy is used in patients to block the signals that are passed between various molecules present inside the cells. These molecules usually interfere with how the cells of cancer grow and divide.
These can treat multiple myeloma in patients. This is a type of drug that helps in stopping the recycling of proteins within a cell this causing that cell to die and prevent the abnormal growth further.
These can work with some types of cancers but not suitable for all cancer types. These antibodies are produced in the laboratory to help in restoring or mimicking the body’s immune system to attach to different cancer cells thus stopping the spread of further cells.
This can prevent the blood vessels to supply blood to some kind of tumors that spread cancer thus resulting in their shrinking or death.
Localized Therapy For Cancer
Localized therapy as the name suggests is for treating a specific part of the body affected by cancer cells. This is carried out in a person either to relieve them from cancer symptoms or slow down the growth of tumor cells.
Surgeries to remove the tumors may help improve the functioning of different organs and in relieving pressure and pain. Surgeries might also be needed to clear any obstructions in the kidneys and clear the digestive tract.
Radiation therapy is also used to target specific regions in the body to shrink the growing tumors and destroy cancer cells. There are a number of drug therapies and complementary therapies that can be used to relieve symptoms but they also have some side effects that one has to keep in mind, these are:
- Breathing problems
- Diarrhea and constipation problems.
- Upset becomes upset, vomiting, and nausea.
- Loss of appetite.
Clinical trials are also done. These are some studies to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of various treatments that are not yet approved to be used in general.
The Bottom Line On How Does Cancer Kill You
I am sure by now you all know how does cancer kill you. Cancer usually kills when the tumor in cancer affects major organs inside one’s body. The complications in cancer can become life-threatening due to other related diseases like weakening of the immune system, malnutrition, and lack of oxygen.
Cancer treatments are available to prevent some of these complications from occurring inside the body as well as preventing the spread of tumor cells from one organ to another.
Cancer is often treatable and one can survive even after developing cancer in essential organs given that it is diagnosed during the early stages of their life. It is very important that you go for regular check-ups even if you start feeling minor symptoms of cancer. Even if you do not have any symptoms, it is still important to go for check-ups yearly to find out if everything is working fine within your body or not.
Discuss the risk of cancer and factors associated with it with your healthcare providers and find out different screening tests which are appropriate to be used by you.
This was everything you needed to know about how does cancer kill you and associated treatments to be done.
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