Each year, thousands of lives are lost because of some persons, lacking in moral principles, who assert that they have discovered a cure for cancer. My uncle, who died of lung cancer more than three years ago, was a “victim” of nostrums, medicines recommended by the persons who prepared them, with their composition being secret and usually with no scientific proof of their effectiveness.
These nostrums, or bogus cancer cures, have come and gone; one by one, they have run their course and passed out of existence. But cancer continues to exist and goes on resolutely.
Just hearing the word cancer can be very depressing, especially to those who have personally witnessed the sufferings of a relative or a friend from the disease, as I had. Without a doubt, cancer is one of the most dreadful findings a doctor can have on a patient.
Even to just think of the words that are usually associated with cancer – chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery – are terrifying enough. This is mainly the reason why many of those who have been diagnosed with cancer have not stopped looking for and trying out cures other than these traditional treatment methods.
What’s lamentable about nostrums is that cancer patients often develop such belief in them that they disregard proper treatments until everything becomes too late. But is there really a cure for cancer? It is rather difficult to answer this question firmly without first having another look at what cancer really is.
Cancer is a disease that’s quite hard to foretell and is often devastating. I can still picture in my mind the last few moments when my uncle was desperately struggling from the pains caused by lung cancer. Many of us have surely seen the ravaging effects of cancer, at least in pictures of victims in their sorry state, some of whom we recognize as prominent and powerful personalities, that is, before they fell victims to this dreaded disease.
One other thing that can be said of cancer is that it’s still greatly misunderstood. For example, not a few people still have the wrong notion that cancer is a single illness; the fact is that cancer comprises more than a hundred different diseases, and each of these can affect any part of the body.
All cancers, however, share a common characteristic: the uncontrolled progressive growth and rapid production of abnormal cells. For several reasons, both known and unknown, certain cells suddenly deviate from their normal growth pattern, multiply uncontrollably, and become malignant or cancerous.
As the malignant cells proliferate, they form a lump known as primary tumor. From this tumor, cancer cells encroach on adjacent healthy tissues; through mainly the lymphatic system or the bloodstream, they then move to other parts of the body and attack tissues and organs far from the very point from where it all started. As a result, normal cells are pushed off and supplanted by cancer cells. In general, the severity of cancer is conditioned by the extent to which malignant cells scatter and erode normal body functions.
With the foregoing, it isn’t surprising why many people wonder if medical science has been completely unsuccessful even in its most serious and exhaustive attempt to deal with one of the most serious of diseases. Despite the ruinous potential of cancer, it doesn’t necessarily mean an inevitable death for those who are diagnosed with this disease.
Many cancers today, in fact, can be cured; however, this is possible only if their presence is detected early enough and proper treatment (none of those nostrums) is promptly given. The person’s awareness to the early warning signs of cancer is therefore very important.