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Posted: 2/7/2006 3:48:12 PM EDT
I'd like some input for cancer victims, survivors or family members that may be able to answer a few questions about Cancer.

I know that there is NO cure.

So without further delay; here are my questions:

1. Is there a definite as to where it comes from?

2. Is there such thing as Pre-Cancerous ________ (insert part of anatomy here)?

3. Can a Dr. tell you for sure that something has to be treated ________(again insert anatomy)
or it will FOR SURE become cancer.

Any help w/ these questions will be a great help and likely spur more questions...

Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:01:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/7/2006 4:12:38 PM EDT by ipsilateral_7]

Originally Posted By quijanos:

I know that there is NO cure.



not entirely true. Different cancers in different levels of invasiveness and location define the treatment and curability of the cancer, there are many cancers that are "curable"


Originally Posted By quijanos:
1. Is there a definite as to where it comes from?



There are many different causes by many different known mechanisms, and to confuse you even more, there are known genetic predispositions that lead to certain cancers as well. Then there are genetic mutations that lead to over-expression of genes that set up the condition for cancers,


Originally Posted By quijanos:
2. Is there such thing as Pre-Cancerous ________ (insert part of anatomy here)?



yes, like actinic keratosis can lead into skin cancer, colon polyps can turn into colon cancer, scar tissue in the lung can turn into lung cancer, barrett’s esophagus is a precursor for esophagus cancer. But be careful in your definition of pre-cancerous. Just because it is pre-cancerous, does not mean it will turn into cancer, more aptly it means that there is a high correlation and incidence of turning into cancer


Originally Posted By quijanos:

3. Can a Dr. tell you for sure that something has to be treated ________(again insert anatomy)
or it will FOR SURE become cancer.



For sure? no. Statistically? yes. Certain things like actinic keratosis and colon polyps to name some common ones have a higher rate of turning cancerous and they can be removed and prevent cancer, but that doesn't tell us for sure that we cancer was the inevitable outcome of that lesions that was removed.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:04:31 PM EDT
I was going to reply but ipsilateral_7 has answered you quite well.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:09:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jblachly:
I was going to reply but ipsilateral_7 has answered you quite well.



+1
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:18:32 PM EDT
So I stand corrected.
There is a cure for certain cancers.

What are the conditions that can define Pre-Cancer?
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:21:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By quijanos:
So I stand corrected.
There is a cure for certain cancers.

What are the conditions that can define Pre-Cancer?



There are entire books written about the things you are asking. Perhaps you could be more specific about what your concern is. You will get far more accurate info.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:23:22 PM EDT
All cancer means is the existence of tissue that is growing in an uncontrolled fashion. Sometimes the cancer is a fast growing one, sometimes it is slow growing. Some cancers also grow and spread to other areas and then grow in more than one place.

The cancer tissue then eats more supplies than the body is used to giving, stealing it away from the normal tissues. The cancer tissue can then also push into normal tissues and structures leading to clogging of normal conduits and pressure damage to normal organs.

It is a very wide category. Some of the slower growing ones that do not spread are more easily cured/controlled than others. The faster growing and spreading ones are more difficult to halt. Most "cures" are either through surgery to remove the tissue, radiation to cook the tissue, and chemotherapy to poison the tissue or cut off its supply chain.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:30:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/7/2006 4:32:48 PM EDT by ipsilateral_7]

Originally Posted By quijanos:

What are the conditions that can define Pre-Cancer?




the way I look at it, the term pre-cancer is deceptive since the majority those I listed are more of predispositions towards cancer. Actinic keratosis is truly the only thing that pops in my head that would fit the notion that one gets when they here that word, i.e. that if left alone have an extremely high rate of turning into squamous cell carcinoma. The conditions that lead to cancer are almost all universally conditions that irritate or inflame or otherwise cause increased rates of cell reproduction and increase the rates of errors in the reproduction process in the DNA which leads to various modes of allowing the cell to replicate in unregulated ways. OR chemical (either natural, or otherwise normal body chemicals that are there in abnormal amounts) that lead to dna damage and then unregulated growth.

Everyone, everyday, develops cells which could be called cancerous, but our natural defenses destroy these cells, it's when these cells mutate and bypass our own defenses that a true cancer develops, so the answer is honestly, pre-cancerous is a cell with damaged dna that refuses to die but I guess has yet to mutate the means to avoid the natural defenses. I know I'm being rather vague, but it's difficult to give a simple answer to a question that has many actual different topics lumped into one huge super category. The numbers of books that have been written on this topic and the amount of research can not be summed up easily on a forum.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:30:48 PM EDT
Sister in law had cervical (sp?) issues w/ signs on the surface (tumor) of what is being termed as 'Pre-Cancerous'. My medical knowledge is non existant on this subject BTW. This is the last I've heard of it. Fast forward a six months till......January 06'. My wife recently had her annual check up and had abnormal results from her paps-Mir (sp?). Their family history has suggested that the possibility of cancer is there. She's been a nervous wreck since her check up and she is scheduled for a biopsy. Her signs were also found in her cervics (sp?) albeit below the surface (skin?). No, she has not been told it was Pre-Cancerous, yet (only her sister) and now, is all but convinced that she now has cancer. I'm doing my best to understand something that I feel doc's don't understand themselves.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:00:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/7/2006 5:02:35 PM EDT by ipsilateral_7]

Originally Posted By quijanos:
Sister in law had cervical (sp?) issues w/ signs on the surface (tumor) of what is being termed as 'Pre-Cancerous'.



gotcha, there is probably little that can be said that can actually alleviate any anxiety this is causing you and your wife since there have already been words that had cancer in them spoken. I am not an OB/GYN, but I do know a little about the cervical cancer topic so i'll give you a quick explanation of the most common pre-cancerous cervical condition and a few other quick facts that should help ease your fears.

there is condition called Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) (which is better defined as a dysplasia: which just means odd growth of otherwise normal cells with no indication that they are cancerous) which has been shown to have a "predisposition" of turning into cervical cancer. However, what I was taught is that cervical cancer is the least common "women's part cancer" because of the early detection of CIN by pap smears and then the follow-up removal of it to prevent that from turning into cancer. Intrestinly enough, the pathology books state that it takes approximately 10 years for CIN to progress through the three stages of CIN 1-3, and then it takes approximately another 10 years for CIN 3 to turn into cervical cancer normally. so, it's irrational to jump to the conclusion that she has cancer at this point. But never take this as a suggestion that it's something to be ignored and then not get a biopsy, get it an knock anything out that could be a problem early before it can even think about being a problem.

I can't imagine going through the worry and anxiety that must accompany this, but keep in mind that she doesn't have cancer until the doctor gets a report from the pathologist that says it is a cancer.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:07:58 PM EDT

about Cancer.


I think the root of your question (answered quite well above) is a bit of a misunderstanding.

There is not just one "Cancer"...that is like saying there is one "Infection"

Cancer comes from a variety of different cells (just as "Infection" can come from different biologic agents...Viruses, Fungi, Bacteria, etc--and lots of different types of each).

Cancer is typically (very, very oversimplified) a good cell gone bad....it continues to grow and reproduce without control. Can be Cells in the Lung, Skin, Breast, Prostate, etc. etc. Each type of cell has specific characteristics that controls their rate of growth and division, and the spread of the cancer.

Normally it is fairly active cells that go bad...things that are very metabolically active (say hormone secreting cells) or have rapid division rates naturally (linings of intestines).

The problem with curing "Cancer" is that it is still a 'normal' cell--just behaving badly. How do you find a medicine that just picks out the "Cancer" cell (say a rapidly dividing hormone secreting cell in the breast) and kills it without killing the normal hormone secreting cells around it, or other similar cells throughout the body?

Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:18:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ipsilateral_7:

Originally Posted By quijanos:
Sister in law had cervical (sp?) issues w/ signs on the surface (tumor) of what is being termed as 'Pre-Cancerous'.



gotcha, there is probably little that can be said that can actually alleviate any anxiety this is causing you and your wife since there have already been words that had cancer in them spoken. I am not an OB/GYN, but I do know a little about the cervical cancer topic so i'll give you a quick explanation of the most common pre-cancerous cervical condition and a few other quick facts that should help ease your fears.

there is condition called Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) (which is better defined as a dysplasia: which just means odd growth of otherwise normal cells with no indication that they are cancerous) which has been shown to have a "predisposition" of turning into cervical cancer. However, what I was taught is that cervical cancer is the least common "women's part cancer" because of the early detection of CIN by pap smears and then the follow-up removal of it to prevent that from turning into cancer. Intrestinly enough, the pathology books state that it takes approximately 10 years for CIN to progress through the three stages of CIN 1-3, and then it takes approximately another 10 years for CIN 3 to turn into cervical cancer normally. so, it's irrational to jump to the conclusion that she has cancer at this point. But never take this as a suggestion that it's something to be ignored and then not get a biopsy, get it an knock anything out that could be a problem early before it can even think about being a problem.

I can't imagine going through the worry and anxiety that must accompany this, but keep in mind that she doesn't have cancer until the doctor gets a report from the pathologist that says it is a cancer.



As stated, the whole idea is early detection of cancerous, or better yet, precancerous lesions and destroy them before they become a life threatening problem. One of the better things we do for sure.

Cervical cancer is almost always caused by infection with HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). The PAP is looking for cytologic changes suggestive of HPV. There are now also PCR tests for same.

Essentially, cervical cancer is an STD.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:19:13 PM EDT
How much Barrett's Esophagus is enough to worry about....



efxguy
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 5:58:03 PM EDT
www.cancer.org

Has comprehensive info.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 6:03:20 PM EDT
This is my field. Email me with how I can get in touch with you and we can go over the details.
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