All about cancer

What is it?


Normally, the human body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die, but sometimes this process can go wrong. New cells grow even when they aren’t needed, and old cells stay present even when they should have died. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor which can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not cancerous:  they can often be removed from the body and the cells from the benign tumor don’t spread to other parts of the body. However, malignant tumors are cancerous and are made up of cells that grow out of control. Cells in these tumours can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body.

Types of cancerImage result for types of cancer

Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis.

 Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplantation. 

Symptoms of cancer include:

  • lump in breast
  • coughing (more than three weeks)
  • chest pain
  • breathlessness
  • changes in bowl habits (blood in still, persistent bloating, diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason etc.)
  • blood in urine, between periods, when you cough or vomit
  • irregular shaped moles (more than one colour, bigger than 7mm diameter etc.)
  • unexplained weight loss


  • 356,860 new cases of cancer in 2014, UK
  • 163,444 deaths from cancer in 2014, UK – this is more than 450 deaths everyday
  • 50% of patients survive cancer for 10 or more years (2010-11, England and Wales)
  • Out of all cancer cases in the UK, 42% are preventable
  • Every four minutes, someone in the UK dies from cancer
  • Cancer survival is higher in women than men
  • 1 in 2 people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime
  • Smoking is the largest preventable cause of cancer each year in the UK

Treatment Research

  • September 8, 2009 – Proton Therapy for Cancer is discovered
  • March 22, 2011 – Some male survivors of childhood cancer who were thought to be      sterile are able to conceive children due to new surgical procedures
  • April 19, 2011 – Scientists explore ways to use chemicals produced by animals, plants and microbes to find a new drug to treat cancer
  • January 19, 2012 – clinical trial shows that using chemotherapy alongside radiation therapy provides a near doubling of survival time in patients with a certain type of brain tumor
  • March 15, 2012 – genetically engineered T cells are being studied for the treatment of a variety of cancers
  • June 24, 2013 – Drugs that block the MEK protein have shown promise in several cancers.
  • December 9, 2013 – modified T cells are effective in treating blood-borne cancers
  • December 7, 2015 – some cancer treatments damage the hart, so scientists and researchers are working to find ways to prevent and manage this
  • June 17, 2016 – early-stage cancer trials support the use of immunotherapy and precision as effective treatment for cancer
  • November 22, 2016 – scientists design a machine to measure the mass of a single cancer cell and predict how that cell will respond to drug treatment


It is a known fact that cancer is one of the leading causes of disease and deaths world wide, and whats worse, the number of cancer cases are expected to rise by approximately 70% over the next 20 years. Although cancer has not been overcome yet, I am sure that with the ever-growing discoveries and new techniques to combat it we will find a cure to cancer very soon. Only recently it has been proposed that it is possible to produce new drugs and therapies that will transform the treatment of metastatic cancers (when the cancerous cells escape the primary tumour and migrate through the blood to form secondary tumours in other parts of the body). This discovery could prove to be revolutionary as most deaths to cancer are due to metastasis and being able to stop them from migrating will not only reduce the problemof secondary tumours forming but also save many lives.

Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you have found the information provided interesting and that your understanding of cancer is hopefully a bit clearer. If you have any questions or any comments about cancer please write them down below!




6 thoughts on “All about cancer

  1. Thanks for that article, it was really interesting! But quick question: you mentioned “1 in 2 people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime” – how valid is this fact because it seems a bit extreme?!
    Also I was wondering why the number of cases is expected to rise by 70%; could it be down to the increasing use of mobile phones (hence radiation) or are there other reasons for this?

    • Hi!

      I felt exactly the same way, but the statistic “1 in 2 people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime” is directly from the cancer research website. As for the rise in cancer cases, it could be due to the use of mobile phones as that seems very possible due to fast growing technology. There are more reason as to why cancer rates are increasing on this website:

      I hope that answers your question!

      • Wow thanks Rohini! Quite surprisingly (according to the website), it seems like the main reason more people are getting cancer is not because of mobile phones, but due to our increasing life expectancy! The longer we live, the higher the chance for genetic error. That’s actually quite scary! Btw, our blogs are really good so keep writing and good luck with your medical application! Also, I was wondering whether you or anyone else knows anything about the GMO Project we were promised by Medlink last year (I asked this same question in my blog)? Thanks 🙂

        • Hi! Yeah its pretty freaky to know that a longer lifetime means we are more likely to get cancer! Thats really scary stuff! Its really interesting writing the medical blogs, especially being able to read what other have to say also, you can gain so much information just by reading the medical information from the range of blogs available on this website! I have no idea about the GMO project, if needs be I will email Medlink asking about i. Good luck with your application also! Where are you planning to apply?

          • Yeah I agree, the whole concept of blogs is really good – it’s great sharing ideas and learning things from others who are in a similar position as us! I’ve got the email now, can’t wait to get the GMO Project started! I absolutely love Nottingham and Sheffield Uni because their facilities are amazing, and I like their integrated-style of learning – plus with Nottingham you get to do an intercalated degree. I’m also considering Cambridge…maybe :’) haha but I’m not sure because it’s got quite a traditional approach, but I do fancy the idea of tutorials and colleges, and the library facilities are so good!!! What about you??? 🙂

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