Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide and grow uncontrollably in any part of the body. It is a very frequent disease due to the increase in the aging of the population and early detection systems. Cancer treatments are aimed at curing the disease or, in its absence, to chronify it. Blocking the genetic abnormality of the cancer cell or stimulating the patient's immune system are the main lines of cancer research.

Reading time: 2 min

Cancer explained in first person

Professionals and patients explain how you live with the disease
I am sure that the future will bring more medications, and procedures to treat the vast majority of disease cancers.
It is all bearable. The chemotherapy really is hard, but I thought it would be worse.

The term cancer encompasses a very large group of illnesses that are all characterised by abnormal cell growth; cancer cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled manner and in any part of the body.

Cells normally grow and divide to form new cells as, and when, the body requires them. When a normal cell ages or is damaged, it dies and is replaced by a new cell. In the case of cancer, however, the body loses control over this highly ordered process. As the cells become increasingly abnormal, the old or damaged cells survive instead of dying and new cells develop when they are not required. This uninterrupted cell division forms masses, otherwise known as tumours.

How does Cancer develop?

El càncer té el seu origen en els gens que són els encarregats de controlar la reproducció de les cèl·lules. Aquest origen genètic pot ser de caràcter hereditari o per canvis que es produeixen en l'estructura dels gens al llarg de la vida, ja sigui d'una manera espontània o per l'impacte de factors ambientals que afecten l'estructura dels gens.

Les cèl·lules canceroses es diferencien de les sanes per presentar alteracions moleculars que provoquen modificacions del seu normal funcionament. És a dir, es trenca el procés normal de creixement i mort cel·lular el que provoca una divisió cel·lular descontrolada amb un excès de cèl·lules que s'acumulen al cos i creen tumors.

In the case of benign tumours, there is an increase in the number of cells, but they continue to have a normal structure and function.

Malignant tumours can spread to nearby tissues. Some cells can grow in neighbouring organs beyond where the initial tumour developed, spreading by means of blood vessels or the lymphatic system. This process is called metastasis.

Substantiated information by:

Albert Tuca Rodríguez
Aleix Prat Aparicio
Francesc Balaguer Prunes
Meritxell Mollà Armandà
Montserrat Valverde Bosch
Vanessa Vilas
Álvaro Urbano Ispizua

Published: 12 November 2018
Updated: 20 November 2018

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


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