uhh research paper - Mitzak 1 Courtney Mitzak Dr. Mao WIFYS...

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Mitzak 1 Courtney Mitzak Dr. Mao WIFYS 20 March 2007 Cancer Research and Treatment People often think of the word cancer as describing a single disease with a single cause, like the flu or HIV. This is not exactly true. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer occurs when cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Normal cells divide and grow in an orderly fashion, but cancer cells do not. They continue to grow and crowd out normal cells (American Cancer Society, par. 1). Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cells. Ever since complex life evolved, it has been vulnerable to cancer. Plants can get cancer. Dinosaurs probably suffered from it. It has been around for thousands and thousands of years. The oldest description of cancer in humans was found in an Egyptian papyrus written between 3000-1500 BC. It referred to tumors of the breast. In 400 BC Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine", became the first person to recognize the difference between benign and malignant tumors. Progress on understanding and treating cancer was slow. A huge and momentous breakthrough in our understanding of cell biology came in 1953, when Francis Crick and James Watson unraveled the structure of DNA. Since then we have begun to study and understand the causes of cancer at a molecular level, and to devise new treatments based on this knowledge. The last fifty years have seen an explosion in our understanding of this most fundamental of diseases,
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Mitzak 2 and new discoveries are occurring on an almost weekly basis. As research develops, treatments are becoming more specific for the type of cancer pathology. New types and categories of drugs are being developed to treat the disease and new mechanisms are being explored that will help us to better understand how the cancer cell functions at the most basic genetic level. While some cancers can be cured, others may never entirely disappear as a health problem. As a result, patients are living longer and often with a better quality of life. In some types of cancer, it is becoming more of a chronic disease that must be managed and controlled over the course of many years and maintained until new discoveries in treatment are made. As a result of improved early detection and better cancer treatments, there are most survivors alive today in the United States than there were in earlier years. For the last several decades, the most common cancer treatment methods have been surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. These treatments are mainly focused on destroying the tumor cells and in the process, they can damage normal cells. The newest types of cancer treatments are ones that act in specialized ways to completely get rid of or act against tumor cells and they often do not affect normal cells. As a result, patients may experience less severe side effects. The newer treatments can also be combined with older therapies to enhance anti-tumor effectiveness. In order to figure out which treatments work and which do not, clinical trials must
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This note was uploaded on 11/03/2008 for the course BIO 115 taught by Professor Patrie during the Spring '07 term at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

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uhh research paper - Mitzak 1 Courtney Mitzak Dr. Mao WIFYS...

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