Despite the advances in the field of medical sciences today, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. Last 2018, approximately 9.6 million lives were lost to this disease.
In the Philippines, cancer is the third leading cause of death. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 141,021 new cases of the disease. Data also shows that 79,019 of these cases were women.
Before learning more about which types of cancer are more prevalent in women, there should be a basic understanding of this disease.
What Is Cancer?
Cancer can start in any place of the body like the blood, the colon, or the lungs. It begins when some cells begin to behave abnormally. Normally, the body produces cells that grow and divide. And once they reach a particular age, some cells die and the body creates new cells.
However, cancer develops when the normal cell cycle is disrupted. Cell division is a tightly controlled process. Normally the body has mechanisms that prevent individual cells from dividing excessively. Some cells escape this process and they become clonogenic, meaning they reproduce themselves indefinitely, thus, creating clones.This overproduction of cells causes tumors.
However, not all tumors are cancerous. When a tumor isn’t cancerous, it is a “benign” tumor. What sets it apart from a cancer-related tumor is that it won’t spread or invade other parts of the body.
Tumors that are formed because of cancer are called “malignant” tumors. These are tumors that can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymph vessels.
Removing a malignant tumor can prevent the spread of cancer. Once the cancer has spread, it would be very difficult to guarantee disease control.