353 Cancer Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

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  • Different Applications of Calculus in Cancer Treatment and Monitoring The type of treatments applied is pre-determined by the location, the type, and the severity of the tumors. The mathematical concept of calculus is applied when doctors consider the diffusion of different drugs into the […]
  • Breast Cancer: Concept Map and Case Study Each member of the interdisciplinary team involved in treating patients with cancer and heart disease should focus on educational priorities such as: We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • Esophageal Cancer Overview and Analysis Esophageal Cancer mainly refers to the growths that forms within the tissues that line the walls of the esophagus; the tube composed of muscles that aid the passage of the food from the exterior opening […]
  • American Cancer Society History Its main duty is to ensure there is a reduction of the number of patients suffering from cancer and eradication of the disease as one of the major health problem faced by many Americans today.
  • Health Psychology: Going Through a Breast Cancer Diagnosis He is unaware that she has been diagnosed with depression and that she is going for breast screening Stress from work is also a contributing factor to her condition.
  • Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Plan Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lower part of the uterus known as the cervix. The presence of these cells in the cervix is an indication that a woman may be […]
  • Viruses as a Cause of Cancer This is done by switching on a dormant cancer gene when it enters the cell’s DNA of the host. Some practices like smoking and drinking increase the risk of developing cancer as they work together […]
  • Children With Cancer and Schooling Challenges The rationale for the study was to identify what society has done to meet the social needs of children with cancer.
  • Cervical Cancer: Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy Understanding the role of imaging and radiation therapy in the diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer is important, especially for effective prevention and management.
  • Enhancing Cancer Screening Access and Treatment Equity Increasing the accessibility and equity in cancer screening solutions is extremely important. The existing screening criteria should be expanded through changes in guidelines, and increased funding.
  • Progress in Cancer Control: Rhetorical Analysis According to their study, these behaviors are more likely to lead to cancer, and the authors’ goal is to convince the audience that they should take responsibility for their health and strive to minimize the […]
  • Breast Cancer and Its Population Burden The other objectives that are central to this paper are highlighted below: To determine which group is at a high risk of breast cancer To elucidate the impact of breast cancer on elderly women and […]
  • Pap Smear and Cervical Cancer: Oncology Nursing The piece of legislation I believe has most significantly affected women’s healthcare in the past century is the regulation for women to take Pap smear regularly to prevent cervical cancer development.
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening Methodology CRC affects the colon, the large intestine, and the rectum a passageway between the colon and the anus. In 2019, the average incidence rate for CRC in the United States was 41.
  • Screening Colonoscopy for Colorectal Cancer Prevention Colonoscopy allows visualization of the entire mucosa of the distal terminal ileum and the large intestine. Before the screening, the natural history of the disease is essential for the practitioner to identify the prevention levels.
  • Prostate Cancer: Urinary Frequency and Incontinence In terms of the back and spine pain that the patient reported, it is notable that the x-ray revealed some mild degenerative changes in the form of a cystic mass near the spine.
  • Discussion: Understanding of Cancer Annually, the IARC estimates the number of new cancer cases and fatalities worldwide and in the United States and gathers the most up-to-date data on the prevalence of cancer in populations.
  • Ovarian Cancer: Risk Factors, Health Disparities, and Preventive Measures The most common signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include weight loss, pain in the pelvic region, swelling and bloating in the abdomen, low appetite, and increased urination.
  • Mindfulness Practice During Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer She discusses the significance of the study to the nursing field and how nurses can use the findings to help their patients cope with stress.
  • The Role of hnRNPs in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Blood and lymph are tissues of mesenchymal origin, which consist of plasma and corpuscles suspended in it and form the internal environment of the body.
  • Benefits of Good Nutrition During Cancer Treatment Eating various foods is an important part of a healthy diet to get the nutrients the patient needs to fight cancer.
  • Community-Based Health Education on Cervical Cancer Through awareness, women will be able to understand the life of the diseases and the control measures that should be put in place to eradicate the infection.
  • Antioxidants: The Role in Preventing Cancer and Heart Disease Some of antioxidants are more widely known as vitamins E, C, and carotenoids, and have a reputation of preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
  • The Lung Cancer Incidence Research The attributed risk is calculated by dividing the newly diagnosed incidence of cancer attributed to smoking by the total number of newly diagnosed cases of lung cancer.
  • Breast Cancer: The Effective Care Domain Information about how the patient is seen, how often the patient is seen, and whether she will return for mammograms can be collected and analyzed to verify the successful intervention to extend consistency with mammograms.
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening and Its Effect on Disease Incidence The purpose of this quantitative quasi-experimental quality improvement project was to determine if or to what degree the implementation of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s System Approach to Tracking and Increasing Screening for […]
  • The Burden of Cancer in the United States Both Hispanic men and women are the least affected by lung cancer in terms of incidence and mortality. Therefore, considering the DALYs measure and smoking rates in the Hispanic group, it can be concluded that […]
  • Statistical Analysis of Lung and Bronchus Cancer Data Using the mean obtained, the Black community has recorded the highest cases of lung and bronchus cancer, with the lowest ethnic group recording, such being the Hispanic race.
  • Garden Pesticide and Breast Cancer Therefore, taking into account the basic formula, the 1000 person-years case, the number of culture-positive cases of 500, and culture-negative of 10000, the incidence rate will be 20 new cases.
  • Breast Cancer as a Genetic Red Flag It is important to note that the genetic red flags in Figure 1 depicted above include heart disease, hypertension, and breast cancer.
  • Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium Analysis Simultaneously, the resource is beneficial because it aims to “improve the delivery and quality of breast cancer screening and related outcomes in the United States”.
  • Drinking Green Tea: Breast Cancer Patients Therefore, drinking green tea regularly is just a necessity- it will contribute to good health and physical vigor throughout the day and prevent severe diseases.
  • Pathophysiology of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Lung Cancer It is also evident that the illness acts fast due to the continuous multiplication of the cancer cells leading to breathing disruptions and eventual death. This sustained weight loss is primarily essential to the advancement […]
  • Breast Cancer Prevention: Ethical and Scientific Issues Such information can potentially impact the patient and decide in favor of sharing the information about the current condition and risks correlating with the family history.
  • Prostate Cancer Statistics for a Term Paper Prostate cancer is also known as ‘Carcinoma of the Prostate’ and it starts when cells in the prostate glands develop an abnormality that allows them to grow out of control.
  • Colorectal Cancer: Promoting a Healthy Diet The aims and goals were to analyze the goals, techniques of solution, and outcomes of particular research and enhance knowledge about the topic area based on a review of freshly released data. I would also […]
  • Colorectal Cancer Development Due to Dietary Habits A fundamental research interest of the present dissertation was to run a pilot test on a small sample to assess the possibility of using questionnaires as a tool to assess Saudis’ perception of dietary habits […]
  • Cancer Patients’ Late Admission to a Hospice Mulville et al.set out to evaluate and identify the reasons that prevent timely admission to the hospice of cancer patients at the end of life.
  • Breast Cancer: Epidemiology, Risks, and Prevention In that way, the authors discuss the topics of breast cancer and obesity and the existing methods of prevention while addressing the ethnic disparities persistent in the issue.
  • Breast Cancer Development in Black Women With consideration of the mentioned variables and target population, the research question can be formulated: what is the effect of nutrition and lifestyle maintained on breast cancer development in black women?
  • Dietary Habits as a Risk Factor of Colorectal Cancer The risks, however, reduce with the adoption of healthy dietary habits, such as the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. The author advised conducting more qualitative studies on factors affecting the Saudis population to adhere […]
  • Traditional and Complementary Medicine Among Indigenous Cancer Patients Therefore, it is necessary to increase the overall understanding of the role of CAM among breast cancer patients alongside identifying the key motivating factors, where the prime manifestations of the phenomenon are faith and prayer.
  • Mechanisms Behind Cancer Development This shows that epigenetics can be employed to determine the type of cancer an individual is expected to develop and make it easier to detect the disease at its early stages. Thus, the combination of […]
  • Education for Parents of Children With Cancer The hospital was selected because I am have been working there for a long time, and the personnel is willing to help me with the implementation of the process.
  • Health Inequities in Cancer Patients Despite a recent slowdown in overall spending, the United States spends more on health care than other high-income nations and still has some of the worst health results.
  • 177Lu-PSMA Radioligand Therapy for Prostate Cancer The therapy is proved to be safer and more effective than its alternatives, with a great deal of success in reducing PSMA.
  • Lung Cancer: Diagnostics and Treatment Thus, it is essential to invest in research about lung cancer and be aware of the factors that contribute to its emergence to protect themselves.
  • Khalaf’s Burden of Pancreatic Cancer Study Analysis The outcome factors in this study are that regular-dose and low-dose Aspirin were observed to decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • Cancer Blood Tests Saving Lives It is important to note that the article explores novel ways of cancer diagnostics and screening methods using blood tests for various signs of the condition.
  • Breast Cancer in Miami Florida The situation with the diagnosis of breast cancer is directly related to the availability of medicine in the state and the general awareness of the non-population.
  • 177LU-PSMA Radiological Therapy of Prostate Cancer More clinical trials are necessary to define the efficacy of PSMA treatment and develop more concomitant medication. Also, Gafia et al.found that PSMA is a long-term clinical condition whose changes in management are observed after […]
  • Cancer Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People When compared to non-Indigenous Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, also known as Indigenous Australians, are disadvantaged across a number of health and socioeconomic indices.
  • The Ethical Problem in the Case of the Cancer Patient On the other hand, urgently inducing the patient’s death may have been an administrative problem for the patient, and it is not sure that it was caused by the wife’s deliberate decision.
  • Cancer Treatment Strategies and Challenges Inspired by the merits of the natural nanovesicles and the state of the art of the advanced engineering versatility of synthetic nanomaterials, we previously presented the synthetic and biological hybrid exosomes for targeted synergistic chemo […]
  • Urinary Tract Infections and Pancreatic Cancer The laboratory technician is supposed to culture the urine and use Gram’s staining method to detect the microbes in the sample. The practitioners used a combination of mecillinam and cefotaxime to manage the condition.
  • Patient HealthCare: Early Diagnosis of Cancer The NCQA describes the three patients’ interventions and explains how the Nurse Practitioner explicitly measures the listed interventions’ effects. While the patient is in the clinic for routine care, problems with preventive tests and their […]
  • Machine Learning Algorithms in Cancer Detection One of the most fundamental tools for machine learning in cancer detection is the use of imaging, with the premise that prognostic data is embedded in pathology images and digital pathology can provide big data […]
  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Nutritional Influences A complete blood count is used to determine the precise number of each blood cell type in an individual, whereas a peripheral blood smear is used to determine alteration in the appearance and mobility of […]
  • Breast Cancer: Genetics and Malignancy In the presence of such conditions, the formation of atypical cells is possible in the mammary gland. In the described case, this aspect is the most significant since it includes various details of the patient’s […]
  • Video Consultations Between Patients and Clinicians in Diabetes, Cancer, and Heart Failure Services For example, during one of my interactions with the patient, I was asked whether the hospital had the policy to avoid face-to-face interaction during the pandemic with the help of video examinations.
  • Diets to Prevent Heart Disease, Cancer, and Diabetes In order to prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, people are required to adhere to strict routines, including in terms of diet. Additionally, people wanting to prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes also need to […]
  • Smoking as a Risk Factor for Lung Cancer Lung cancer is one of the most frequent types of the condition, and with the low recovery rates. If the problem is detected early and the malignant cells are contained to a small region, surgery […]
  • Skin Cancer: Description, Causes, and Treatment Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer; the three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Its Prevalence and Incidence The purpose of this paper is to present the first part of the case study by describing the disease’s pathophysiology, treatment options, prevalence, and incidence.
  • Colon Cancer: Symptoms, Genes, and Immunosuppression Colon cancer is the type of cancer that starts in the large intestine, which is the last section of the digestive tract.
  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Causes, Origin, and Gene Mutation Apart from analyzing chromosome abnormalities present in patients with ALL, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the disorder’s origin, including primary causes and the process of gene mutations.
  • Researching the Colon Cancer and Nursing It is critical for the nurse to have trusted information about cancer tumors because many studies have indicated that patients appreciate and rely on the competence of nurses.
  • Nebraska State Department of Health Registries for Cancer and Immunization There is a need to report the progress of breast cancer in Nebraska to help do more research on preventing and introducing improved chemotherapy plans. Nebraska state has immunization and cancer registries which are helpful […]
  • Cancer Terminology and Characteristics Carcinomas arise from epithelial tissue, lymphomas are cancers of lymphatic tissue, leukemias are cancers of blood-forming cells, and sarcomas come from connective tissue.
  • The Cancer Cell Development: Causes and Sources Loss of function of suppressor genes resulting from mutations becomes the cause of cancer development: the cell divides abnormally, increasing the cell mass of the tissue.
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia and Granulocytosis: Causes and Treatment The accumulation of the underdeveloped stem cells impairs the functioning of the blood cells resulting in such diseases as cancer. This is because white blood cells are part of the immune system and help fight […]
  • Epidemiology: Lung Cancer Risk The continued exploration of the factors, as well as agents, leading to the spread of pandemics led to a quantitative and qualitative examination and the development of immunization to reduce infections.
  • Case Study for a Patient With Cancer Because Julia refused to continue chemotherapy and radiation treatment, her adenocarcinoma should be expected to get worse, which means she may need further services of a nurse, who would create plans for supportive care; as […]
  • Financing of Public Health Initiative on Prostate Cancer Additionally, they need to demonstrate to the public that the resources bestowed on them are adding value to the facilities they are in charge of.
  • Genetic Testing: Screening for Colon Cancer This disorder is characterized by the development of hundreds of thousands of adenomatous polyps in the colon and rectum early in life.
  • Cancer: Causes, Diagnostic and Treatment This article recommends that the new dietary patterns can be used to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. Vegetables can be used to reduce the occurrence of stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer Among Blacks in Maryland: Public Health Initiative This paper evaluates the economic principles underlying community health needs assessment of the initiative and the health economics relevant to the utilization of the service.
  • New Gene Discovered That Stops Spread of Cancer At this point, it is crucial to mention that the discovery by the Salk institute is just a beginning of a long scientific journey that is anticipated to culminate in a comprehensive and conclusive study […]
  • Genes Cause Breast Cancer Evidence suggests the role of BRCA1 in DNA repair is more expansive than that of BRCA2 and involves many pathways. Therefore, it is suggested that BRCT ambit containing proteins are involved in DNA repair and […]
  • Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer? The reason for the worries is that cellphones emit RF energy that contains both electric and magnetic energy, and exposure to it may be unhealthy for a human being.
  • Cancer Survivorship and Reproductive Health Outcomes This life includes the social, emotional, psychological, and financial effects that start at the beginning of diagnosis and commences up to the final stage of the disease.
  • Patients With Cancer: The Importance of Early Referrals to Hospitals The purpose of this study was to prove the connection between early referrals to hospitals for patients with cancer and the possibility of a positive outcome of treatment for them.
  • Aspects of Testicular Cancer The cancer is narrowed to the testicles and the epididymis as the tumor markers level reads normal at the first stage and has not grown into the blood.
  • New Venture: Cancer Risks of Firefighters In my opinion, being a firefighter is not just a profession, it is the ability to come to the rescue, to have compassion, to feel pain, and to empathize with people who are in a […]
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Genetic Features of Black Patients According to the researcher, the differences in the biological impact of disease and the socioeconomic factors play a crucial role in the disparity between the Blacks and the Whites in the recovery process.
  • Cancer Alley and Environmental Racism One of the sources under study is valuable, as it examines the current situation of the coronavirus and the impact of pollution on human health.
  • Descriptive Data Statistics: National Cancer Institute The definitions for the measures presented are as follows: Mean = sum of all data points / number of data points; Median = the value that’s exactly in the middle when it is ordered from […]
  • Cancer: Risk, Treatment and Prevention Cancer is a condition characterized by abnormal cells that do not function usefully in the body, thereby destroying normal body tissues.
  • Colon Cancer: Treatment Options, Medication Research Colon cancer typically begins in the large intestine, which is at the end of the digestive tract and is called a colon.
  • Managing Patient With Pancreatic Cancer Overall, pancreatic cancer affects the cellular functioning of the pancreas and disrupts the operation of the digestive system. PanIN is the most common antecedent of pancreatic cancer and occurs in the small pancreatic ducts.
  • Cancer Medication and Treatment Alternatives: Project Proposal Indeed, despite the advances made in the management of cancer, particularly, the surgical removal of the tumor and the following therapy allowing to reduce health risks, cancer remains one of the major causes of death […]
  • Dr. Paul Demers Presentations: Asbestos and Occupational Cancers and Carcinogens With the cases of asbestos-related cancer rising and the vast amounts of asbestos existing in buildings, water pipes, and workplaces, there is a dire need for stringent policies to remove all asbestos from the environment.Dr.
  • Does the Sun Radiation Cause Skin Cancer? Moreover, from the article written by American Cancer Society, it is evident that Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B from the sun lead to skin cancer.
  • Light Use in Cancer Treatment The notable strength of this article is that it goes further to identify ZnPc-Q1 as a possible candidate for using light therapy in the treatment of cancer. In this work, the authors examine and describe […]
  • The Virus That Causes Throat Cancers The research article used after the insight of the summary in the New York Times was from the journal of American medical association.
  • Esophageal Cancer: Credible Internet Information Esophageal cancer has become one of the main forms of cancers which usually causes a lot of suffering to patients due to immense pain, difficulty in swallowing or dysphagia.
  • Breast Cancer. Service Management The trial specifically looks at the effect on breast-cancer mortality of inviting women to screening from age 40 years compared with invitation from age 50 years as in the current NHS breast-screening programme.
  • Fibrocystic Breast Condition or Breast Cancer? The presence of the fibrocystic breast condition means that the tissue of the breast is fibrous, and cysts are filled with the liquid or fluid. The main characteristic feature of this cancer is that it […]
  • Cervical Cancer: Causes and Treatment Cervical cancer develops in the cervix – the lower part of the uterus. It starts in a particular part of the cervix, where its squamous and glandular cells connect.
  • Analysis in Epidemiology: “Epithelial Ovarian Cancer and Oral Contraceptives” Therefore, in the current case, since the use of combination oral contraceptives reduces the occurrence of epithelial ovarian cancer, then the factors that affect the OCs MUST ALWAYS precede the factors affecting the occurrence of […]
  • Coping With Stress in Breast Cancer Patients Therefore, it is important for research experts to ensure and guarantee adherence to methodologies and guidelines that define scientific inquiry. However, various discrepancies manifest with regard to the initiation and propagation of research studies.
  • Breast Self-Examination and Breast Cancer Mortality Though it is harsh to dismiss self-exams entirely due to studies that indicate little in deaths of women who performed self-exams and those who did not, the self-exams should not be relied on exclusively as […]
  • Breast Self-Exams Curbing Breast Cancer Mortality The results of the study were consistent with the findings of other studies of the same nature on the effectiveness of breast self-examination in detecting and curbing breast cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer: Pathophysiology and Diagnostics The disease is normally multimodal in the prostate gland and just about 70% of the illness exists in the or the Peripheral zone.
  • Cancer: Factors of Prevention and Treatment The paper focuses on studying polyploidy/multinucleated giant cancer cells, calcium, BXL Protein, Acetylsalicylic Acid, and their specific roles in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
  • Herbal Therapy for Cancer Herbal therapy is a theoretical and practical medicine based on the scientific study and use of medicinal plants or drugs obtained from them for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes.
  • An Approach to Care of Cancer Overview Suspecting the presence of ovarian cancer is primarily based on a number of symptoms, especially abnormal physical examination, CT and NRI scans of the abdomen as well as the pelvis region.
  • Taxol Effectiveness in Inhibiting Breast Cancer Cells The following were the objectives of this experiment: To determine the effectiveness of Taxol in inhibiting breast cancer cells and ovarian cancer cells using culture method.
  • Control Breast Cancer: Nursing Phenomenon, Ontology and Epistemology of Health Management Then, the evidence received is presented in an expert way leading to implementation of the decision on the management of the disease.
  • Leukemia: Causes, Pathogenesis, Morphological Changes, Basic Management Studies are ongoing to establish the exact cause of the disease, which is still unknown according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center: Community Health Assessment The focus of the assessment is the city of Houston, Texas, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Most health issues are related to income disparities, immigration status, and the insurance status of Houston residents.
  • Researching the Ovarian Cancer In the European continent, for every 100,000 females, 12 to 17 will have ovarian cancer, depending on the nation of origin; this is the age-standardized rate. BRCA1 and BRCA2 profoundly account for the prevalence of […]
  • Local Inflammation and Human Papillomavirus Status of Head and Neck Cancers The objective of the study was to assess whether periodontitis is related to the human papillomavirus status of the head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Throat Cancer With Diagnosis of Human Papillomavirus The infection by the HPVs often appears in the epithelium, particularly in the areas with tissue lesions. In this respect, by means of the RNA scope, it is possible to transcribe the HPV genome and […]
  • Breast Cancer: Effects of Breast Health Education The design of the research focused on research variables like skills, performance, self-efficacy, and knowledge as the researchers aimed at examining the effectiveness of these variables among young women who underwent training in breast cancer […]
  • Community Nursing Role in Breast Cancer Prevention However, early detection still remains important in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. The community has thus undertaken activities aimed at funding the awareness, treatment and research in order to reduce the number of […]
  • Radiotherapy: The Efficient Cancer Treatment Method The main purpose for the proposal of this policy is to increase the safety levels and promote efficiency in the delivery of radiotherapy services to patients.
  • Measuring the Uncertainty in Children With Cancer The Limitations of using Mishel Uncertainty Illness Scale and Children Uncertainty Illness Scale led to the development of Uncertainty scale for kids.
  • Self-Examination and Knowledge of Breast Cancer Among Female Students Shin, Park & Mijung found that a quarter of the participants practiced breast self-examination and a half had knowledge regarding breast cancer.
  • Prognosis in Ulcerative Colitis for Risk of Cancer After that the attempt was to extract the information about incidence of colon cancer in populations previously diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, to check whether the cancer risk increased with the duration of disease and finally […]
  • “Tracking Breast Cancer Cells on the Move” by Gomis The article serves the purpose of examining the role of NOG, a gene that is essential in bone development and its role in breast cancer.
  • Nutritional Assessment for Cancer Patients The consumption of fatty fish and a reduction in the consumption of unhealthy fats can reduce the risk of colon cancer that is brought about by the consumption of animal fat.
  • Cancer Treatment Measures in the Sydney Cancer Center Overall, the study enhanced the proper understanding of the effectiveness through the analysis of the number of health specialists working in the Sydney Cancer Centre and the number of cancer patients attended per day.
  • Association Between Pre-Diagnostic Circulating 25-(OH) D and Cancer This was what made the authors to undertake an investigation on correlation between pre-diagnostic of circulating 25- D concentration in the body and dietary intakes of vitamin D and calcium with colon and rectum cancer […]
  • Sonodynamic Therapy for Cancer Treatment Sonodynamic therapy also known as ultrasound therapy is a hopeful innovative cancer treatment method that focuses on synergistic effect on tumor cell killing of a photosensitizer and ultrasound. Cavitation refers to the growth, oscillation and […]
  • The Relationship Between Cancer and Lifestyle In addition, other lifestyle aspects, such as cigarette smoking, sun exposure and stress need to be addressed to reduce the risks of cancer.
  • Cancer: Angiogenesis, Recent Research, Ethical Concerns Zayed et al.’s research reveals that the CIB1 protein controlling the endothelial cell functions is the same as the one causing red blood cell formation in cancer tumors.
  • Breast Cancer Survivorship: Are African American Women Considered? The finding of the analysis is that the issue of cancer survivorship is exclusive, developing, and at the same time it depends on what individuals perceive to be cancer diagnosis as well as personal experiences […]
  • Gaining Ground on Breast Cancer: Advances in Treatment The article by Esteva and Hortobagyi discusses breast cancer from the aspect of increased survival rates, the novel treatments that have necessitated this and the promise in even more enhanced management of breast cancer.
  • Pain Management in Hillman Cancer Center’s Patients Medical and surgical approaches are considered to be the main ways for pain treatment in cancer patients. Advanced stages of cancer result into a multidimensional pain and are where the clinical psychologists step in.
  • Ovarian Cancer: Description and Treatment In applying various treatment options, it is important for doctors to ensure that they understand all options, means of navigating through the process, as well as the development stage of the cancer.
  • Effects of Hypoxia, Surrounding Fibroblasts, and p16 Expression on Breast Cancer The study was conducted to determine whether migration and invasion of breast cancer cells were stimulated by hypoxia, as well as determining whether the expression of p16 ectopically had the potential to modulate the cell […]
  • Breast Cancer: Preventing, Diagnosing, Addressing the Issue In contrast to the MRI, which presupposes that the image of the tissue should be retrieved with the help of magnetic fields, the mammography tool involves the use of x-rays.
  • Smoking and Lung Cancer Among African Americans Primarily, the research paper provides insight on the significance of the issue to the African Americans and the community health nurses.
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in Adult Patients Acute lymphocytic leukemia is the cancer of the blood and the bone marrow. The final type of lymph cells is natural killer cells whose role in the body is to nullify the effect of cancerous […]
  • Dietary Fat Intake and Development of Breast Cancer This study aimed to determine the relationship between dietary fat intake and the development of breast cancer in women. The outcome of the study strongly suggests that there is a close relationship between a high […]
  • The Detection and Diagnosis of Breast Cancer The severity of cancer depends on the movement of the cancerous cells in the body and the division and growth or cancerous cells.
  • Smoking and Cancer in the United States In this research study, data on tobacco smoking and cancer prevalence in the United States was used to determine whether cancer in the United States is related to tobacco smoking tobacco.
  • Prostate Cancer: Preventive Approaches and Treatment However, the case of prostate cancer seems to oppose this ideology; hence, the purpose of this paper is to understand preventive approaches and therapies used to manage prostate cancer.
  • Skin Cancer: Comparison of Samples The aim of this experiment is to examine and thereafter represent low and high power illustrations of a normal skin specimen and of skin specimens that have been affected by various forms types of skin […]
  • The Female Reproductive System and Ovarian Cancer The ovary is the one of the central organs of the female reproductive system. The zona granulosa is the exterior layer of cells enclosing the follicles.
  • Property Rights to the Cancer Genes The easiest way to understand the protection of patents and the rationale behind them is by appreciating the fact that patents are part of human rights.
  • Dietary Approach to Colon Cancer Prevention These research findings appear to support the hypothesis that the presence of folate in the diet is linked to the risk factor for colon cancer.
  • Treatment of Ovarian Cancer Factors that predispose women to ovarian cancer include infertility, use of certain medication, hormone replacement therapy, use of oral contraceptives, and party.
  • The Pennsylvania Cancer Registry (PCR) This data is essential in that, doctors or clinical experts are able to identify the form of treatment to be provided to each cancer patient, to follow up on the patients’ progress, give any necessary […]
  • Breast Cancer: WMI Research and the Current Approaches Although the conclusions provided by the WHI in the study conducted to research the effects of estrogen and progesterone cessation on the chance of developing a breast cancer do not comply with the results of […]
  • Oesophageal Cancer as a Global Health Concern The incidence of oesophageal cancer is high in various parts of the world, but for the purposes of this paper, China will be the region of focus.
  • Using Genetically-Modified Bacteria to Fight Cancer at Johns Hopkins To do so, a concise summary of the article will be provided, followed by a review of its relevance to the course.
  • Skin Cancer and Sunlight: Case Control, Cohort, and Clinical Trial Design The main component in sunlight that is said to be responsible for the development of skin cancer is the Ultraviolet emission.
  • Battle Against Cancer in New York State On the other hand, the cancer goals for New York target to reduce the new forms of the disease as well as the various disabilities and body deformations resulting from cancer.
  • Various Proteins Targets for Lung, Breast and Colorectal Cancers This protein has been identified in recent research as the one playing the biggest role in causing the growth and the spread of cancer in the lungs.
  • Global Health Organization – World-Cancer Campaign The organization can collaborate with other organizations such as the World Economic Forum and the International Council of Nurses to tackle the cancer crisis.
  • Healthcare: Colon Cancer The colon refers to the longest section of the large gut and the most low-down section of the digestive arrangement in the human body.
  • Dosage & Regimen for MEK Inhibitor: Cancer Clinical Trial The study is a treatment trial aimed at designing the correct dose of GSK1120212. The trial is aimed at determining the dosage and regimen for MEK inhibitor that should be mixed with everolimus in order […]
  • Breast Cancer Susceptibility Gene (BRCA2) The mechanisms underlying the genetic predisposition to a particular disease are manifold and this concept is the challenging one to the investigators since the advent of Molecular Biology and database resources.
  • Prostate Cancer Pathophysiology and Management At the moment, the use of tumour markers such as kallikrein is the most widespread method of differentiating these two disorders.
  • Terminal Cancer Patients: Community Nursing The sole purpose of any nursing activity during any given kind of illness and end-of-life stage is to maximize the quality of life and functioning for individuals, families, and the community at large.
  • Ovarian Cancer Overview and Analysis However, several factors have been deemed to contribute to the risk of developing ovarian cancer, for instance, the lesser children a woman has and the later in life she bears children, the higher the chances […]
  • Prediction of Breast Cancer Prognosis It has been proposed that the fundamental pathways are alike and that the expression of gene sets, instead of that of individual genes, may give more information in predicting and understanding the basic biological processes.
  • The Genetic Basis of Human Cancer This is one of the most difficult in curing, as it may affect any part of the body, and seriously damage the body tissues.
  • Breast Cancer Survivors: Effects of a Psychoeducational Intervention
  • Cancer and Oxygenation: Oxygen as a Remedy for Cancer
  • Cancer: Gene Mutation’s Influence, Treatments
  • The Effective Pain Assessment in Patients With Lung Cancer
  • Providers’ Role in Quality Assurance in Breast Cancer Screening
  • Framing Qualitative Research on Lung Cancer
  • Oncology: Colorectal Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment
  • Clinical Laboratory Science of Breast Cancer
  • Induced and Spontaneous Abortion and Breast Cancer Incidence Among Young Women
  • Quality of Life in Chronic Leukemia Patients
  • Dyspnea in Cancer Patients
  • Ovarian Cancer: Medical Review
  • Lung Cancer Cells Migrating to Other Parts of the Body
  • Prostate Cancer: The Ion Channels
  • To Live Until You Die: Palliative Care in Cancer Experience
  • Care Needs of Children Whose Parents Have Incurable Cancer
  • New Screening Guidelines for Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer in Afro- and Euro-Americans
  • Cancer Treatment and Life Quality in Adult Patients
  • Breast Cancer Assessment in London
  • Oral Cancer Reconstruction
  • Skin Cancer Awareness Overview
  • Angiostatic Approaches to Cancer Therapy
  • Genetics of Prostate Cancer and Physical Features
  • Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Investigation
  • Creativity in People With Cancer
  • Cancer: Alternative and Complementary Therapies
  • Promotion of Cardiovascular Health and Cancer Prevention
  • Breast Cancer: Crucial Issues
  • Cancer Longitudinal Exploration
  • Breast Cancer: At-Risk Population, Barriers, and Improvement
  • Effective Solutions to the Prevention of Cervical Cancer
  • Breast Cancer: Moral and Medical Aspects
  • Breast Cancer and AIDS: Significant Issues in the United States in the Late 20th Century
  • Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Genetic and Nutritional Influences
  • Breast Cancer Genetics & Chromosomal Analysis
  • The Role Genetics Information Plays in Treating Cancer
  • Breast Cancer: The Case of Anne H.
  • Leukemia Types: Characteristics, Genetics, and Symptoms
  • CRISPR and Cas-9 Technology as the Solution to Cancer
  • Colon Cancer: Risk Factors
  • World Health Organization Cancer Website Tool
  • Long Distance Cancer Treatment Ethics
  • A Community Capacity-Enhancement Approach to Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening
  • The Role of Inflammation in Cancer
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Plan for Cancer Pain
  • Psychosocial Factors & Immune Mechanisms in Cancer Regulation
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  • Language and Stigmatization: Cancer, HIV, and AIDS
  • The Three Most Common Types of Cancer in America
  • Breast Cancer and the Effects of Diet
  • J. Overcash on Older Adults With Cancer
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  • When the Smoke Clears: The Story About the Lung Cancer
  • Motivational Interviewing as a Smoking Cessation Intervention for Patients With Cancer
  • Genetic Predisposition to Breast Cancer: Genetic Testing
  • Cancer Pathophysiology and Nursing Management
  • Breast Cancer: Causes and Treatment
  • Integumentary System Diseases. Skin Cancer and Eczema
  • Digestive Cancer. Complementary & Alternative Treatment
  • The History of Cervical Cancer: Treatment and Care
  • Ethics of Leukemia Treatment With Disabled HIV Cells
  • Human Papillomavirus Infection and Cervical Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer Care Coordination
  • Penectomy Challenges in Cancer Patients
  • Monoclonal Antibodies in Treating Breast Cancer
  • The American Cancer Society’s Website Evaluation
  • Acute Lymphocytic and Myelogenous Leukemia in Children
  • Cancer and Chemotherapy Effects on Patients
  • Chronic Diseases: Heart Failure and Cancer
  • Pain Reduction Metods for Cancer Patients
  • Lung Cancer Stages, Complications, and Support
  • Breast Cancer: Women’s Health Initiative & Practices
  • Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer Pathophysiology
  • Cervical Cancer and Women’s Health
  • Complex Fibroadenoma and Breast Cancer Risk
  • Cannabis and Cancer Pain Management
  • Breast Cancer: Health Psychology Plan
  • Colorectal Cancer Patient’s Discharge Planning
  • Cancer Epidemic Research and Expectations
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  • Carcinoma in Situ Management Options
  • Cancer Epidemiology in the United States
  • Understanding Pathophysiology of Cancers
  • Registered Nurses and Cancer Patients
  • ”Preferences for Photographic Art Among Hospitalized Patients With Cancer” by Hanson ET Al.
  • Pain Assessment for Cancer Patients: Literature Search
  • Keytruda as an Innovative Cancer Control Tool
  • Oncology: Innovative Solutions to Fight Cancer
  • Cancer, Its Nature and Gene Therapy
  • Body pH and Cancer Occurrence Correlation
  • Cancer: Psychological Effects and Coping Strategies
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  • Alcohol and Smoking Impact on Cancer Risk
  • Decision-Making in Cancer MDT
  • Ovarian Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
  • Establishing a Cancer Treatment Unit in a Hospital
  • Cancer Behavior in the Elderly: Cognitive-Affective Analysis
  • Cancer Alley: Environmental Justice Analysis
  • Lung Cancer and Cystic Fibrosis: Diagnosis and Care
  • Trinity Community Hospital’s Cancer Service Line
  • Blood Test and Cancer Spread in Children
  • Reverse Mutation Concept in Cancer Biology
  • Cancer and Tumor Suppressor Genes
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  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Prostate Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer Chemotherapy
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Immunoglobulin M
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  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Cancer Patients
  • Prostate Cancer Among African Americans in NYC
  • Prostate Cancer Among African American Men in New York
  • Hexokinase 2 Enzyme in Cancer Treatment
  • Depression and Cancer in Caucasian Female Patient
  • Cancer Screening in Lesbians, Gays, Transgenders
  • Cancer Epidemiology for American Population
  • Air Pollution as a Factor for Renal Cancer
  • Children With Cancer and Their Social Activities
  • Cancer Treatment Effects on Sexual Function
  • Protein Diet, Telomere Length, and Cancer
  • Community-Based Participatory Research on Cancer
  • Nursing for Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Patient
  • Epigenetics and Its Role in Cancer Detection and Prevention
  • Screening for Breast Cancer
  • The Role of Epigenetics in Cancer: Contributors to the Formation of Cancer Tumors
  • Cancer and Women’s and Men’s Health
  • Prostate Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
  • Prostate Cancer and Age-Related Risk Factors
  • Gua Sha in Cancer Therapy Against Myalgia
  • Gastric Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Cervical Cancer and Risk Factors
  • Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign
  • Testicular Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Organic Foods Consumption and Cancer Prevention
  • Prostate Cancer, Its Genetics and Prevention Methods
  • Cancer Epidemiology Among Chinese Americans
  • Colorectal Cancer, Diagnosis and Treatment Plan
  • Cervical Cancer, Its Nature and Symptoms
  • Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Laboratory Tests
  • Skin Cancer in Australia and Health Campaign
  • Breast Cancer Patients’ Life Quality and Wellbeing
  • Obesity as a Risk Factor for Uterine Cancer
  • Palliative Care for Cancer Patients: Search Strategies
  • Palliative Care for Adult Cancer Patients
  • Palliative Care for Adult Patients With Cancer
  • Breast Cancer Patients’ Functions and Suitable Jobs
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease and Stomach Cancer Diagnostics
  • Jordanian Breast Cancer Survival Rates in 1997-2002
  • Cancer Patients’ Financial Status and Life Quality
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Among African Americans
  • Cancer Disease and Its Impact
  • Breast Cancer Screening Among Non-Adherent Women
  • Healthcare Research: Bladder Cancer Independent Variables
  • Cancer Patient’s Autonomy and Medical Ethics
  • The Internet Use at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital
  • American Cancer Society’ Social Media Networks Usage
  • Breast Cancer: Treatment and Rehabilitation Options
  • The Effectiveness of Music for Cancer Patients
  • Women Healthcare: Breast Cancer
  • Skin Cancer: Types and Cells of Origin
  • Prevention of Cancer: Good Nutrition and Positive Behavior
  • Lung Cancer Disease and Prevention Methods
  • Breast Cancer Public Relations Campaign
  • Technologies: Improving the MD Anderson Cancer Center Website
  • Explanation of Cancer Disease
  • Gallbladder Cancer, Its Causes and Rates
  • Health Information Seeking and Breast Cancer Diagnosis
  • Stem Cell Therapy in Colorectal Cancer
  • Employing Cancer Vulnerability Reduction in Ukraine
  • Current Standing of Breast Cancer and Its Effects on the Society
  • Descriptive Epidemiology of Cancer in the UK
  • International Expansion Strategy of Australia Cancer Care Hospital.
  • Medical Marijuana use for Terminal Colon Cancer
  • Asbestos and Rising of Cancer
  • The Problem of Skin Cancer in Australia
  • Health Outcome of Tobacco Use: Lung Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer Treatment
  • Breast Cancer: Disease Prevention
  • Breast Cancer Definition and Treatment
  • Breast Cancer Symptoms and Causes
  • Radiation Therapy for Testicular Cancer
  • Breast Cancer Incidence and Ethnicity
  • Treatment Options for Breast Cancer
  • Cancer Treatment by Nanotechnology
  • Health Risks and Prevention: Cardiovascular Disease and Cancers
  • Healthcare Demographics of Prostate Cancer in the US
  • Malevolence of Cancer: Pathogenesis and Treatment Options
  • Risk Factors, Staging, and Treatment of Breast Cancer
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IvyPanda . "353 Cancer Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." March 2, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/cancer-essay-topics/.

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104 Cancer Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

Inside This Article

Cancer is a complex and devastating disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Writing an essay on this topic allows for a deeper understanding of the various aspects of cancer, including its causes, prevention, treatment, and impact on individuals and society. Here are 104 cancer essay topic ideas and examples to guide and inspire your writing:

  • The history of cancer research and treatment: From ancient times to modern advancements.
  • The role of genetics in cancer development: Exploring inherited and acquired genetic mutations.
  • Environmental factors and their association with cancer risk: Analyzing the impact of pollution, radiation, and lifestyle choices.
  • The most common types of cancer: In-depth exploration of breast, lung, prostate, colorectal, and other prevalent cancers.
  • Childhood cancer: Understanding the unique challenges and treatment options for pediatric patients.
  • The emotional and psychological impact of cancer on patients and their families.
  • The economics of cancer: Assessing the financial burden on patients and healthcare systems.
  • The impact of cancer on caregiver mental health: Examining the emotional toll on those who support cancer patients.
  • The role of exercise and nutrition in cancer prevention and recovery.
  • The development and effectiveness of cancer vaccines: Discussing breakthroughs and future prospects.
  • The influence of lifestyle choices on cancer risk: Tobacco, alcohol, diet, and exercise.
  • The stigma surrounding cancer: Addressing societal attitudes and misconceptions.
  • Alternative therapies for cancer treatment: Exploring complementary medicine and its potential benefits.
  • The ethics of experimental cancer treatments: Balancing patient rights and scientific progress.
  • Cancer prevention strategies in low-income countries: Identifying challenges and potential solutions.
  • The impact of cancer on workplace productivity: Analyzing the economic consequences for employees and employers.
  • Cancer survivors' quality of life: Examining the long-term physical and emotional effects.
  • The role of support groups and counseling in cancer care: Assessing their benefits and limitations.
  • Cancer and gender: Investigating the disparities in cancer incidence, treatment, and outcomes.
  • The psychological impact of cancer on children and adolescents.
  • The role of technology in early cancer detection: Discussing advancements in screening methods.
  • The impact of cancer on sexual health and intimacy: Addressing the challenges and available support.
  • The correlation between cancer and mental health disorders: Analyzing the reciprocal relationship.
  • The impact of cancer on fertility and reproductive choices: Exploring the options available to patients.
  • The intersection of cancer and chronic diseases: Investigating the complexities of dual diagnoses.
  • The role of palliative care in cancer treatment: Discussing end-of-life care and patient comfort.
  • The influence of social media on cancer awareness and fundraising campaigns.
  • The role of governmental policies in cancer prevention and control.
  • Cancer and the elderly population: Addressing unique challenges and treatment approaches.
  • The impact of race and ethnicity on cancer disparities: Investigating socioeconomic and cultural factors.
  • The effects of cancer on children's education and academic development.
  • The role of artificial intelligence in cancer diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Cancer prevention campaigns: Analyzing their effectiveness and potential limitations.
  • The impact of cancer on sexual minorities: Investigating disparities in diagnosis, treatment, and support.
  • The role of spirituality and faith in cancer patients' coping mechanisms.
  • Cancer prevention in the workplace: Assessing occupational hazards and protective measures.
  • The correlation between cancer and obesity: Exploring the link and potential interventions.
  • The impact of cancer on siblings: Addressing the emotional and practical challenges.
  • The role of precision medicine in personalized cancer treatment: Discussing targeted therapies.
  • The influence of media portrayal on public perception of cancer and cancer patients.
  • The impact of cancer on caregivers' professional lives: Analyzing the challenges and potential support systems.
  • Cancer and the LGBTQ+ community: Investigating unique challenges and disparities in healthcare access.
  • The role of music and art therapy in cancer care: Assessing their benefits and limitations.
  • The correlation between cancer and socioeconomic status: Analyzing the disparities in diagnosis and outcomes.
  • The impact of cancer on young adults: Discussing fertility preservation and long-term survivorship issues.
  • Cancer and the rural population: Addressing barriers to access and treatment options.
  • The role of emotional support animals in cancer care: Investigating their benefits and ethical considerations.
  • The impact of cancer on intimate partner relationships: Addressing the challenges and available resources.
  • The influence of mindfulness and meditation on cancer patients' well-being.
  • The impact of cancer on military veterans: Analyzing the intersection of post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer.
  • Cancer and the incarcerated population: Addressing the challenges and potential solutions.
  • The role of patient advocacy in cancer care: Discussing the importance of empowering patients.
  • Cancer prevention through public health initiatives: Assessing community-based interventions.
  • The correlation between cancer and air pollution: Investigating the link and potential policy implications.
  • The impact of cancer on body image and self-esteem: Addressing psychological and social consequences.
  • Cancer and the transgender population: Exploring unique challenges and healthcare disparities.
  • The role of social determinants of health in cancer outcomes: Analyzing the influence of socioeconomic factors.
  • Cancer and the homeless population: Addressing the barriers to access and supportive care.
  • The impact of cancer on the LGBTQ+ youth: Investigating mental health disparities and support systems.
  • Cancer prevention in minority populations: Analyzing cultural factors and tailored interventions.
  • The role of exercise in cancer rehabilitation: Discussing the benefits of physical activity during and after treatment.
  • Cancer and the refugee population: Addressing the challenges and barriers to healthcare.
  • The impact of cancer on veterans' mental health: Analyzing post-traumatic stress disorder and survivorship.
  • The correlation between cancer and sleep disturbances: Investigating the link and potential interventions.
  • Cancer and the disabled population: Addressing unique challenges and supportive care.
  • The role of artificial intelligence in cancer prognosis: Discussing predictive models and decision support systems.
  • Cancer prevention through HPV vaccination: Analyzing the impact on cervical and other related cancers.
  • The impact of cancer on children's social development and peer relationships.
  • Cancer and the prison population: Addressing the disparities in access and treatment.
  • The role of telemedicine in cancer care: Discussing remote consultations and monitoring.
  • Cancer prevention in the aging population: Analyzing challenges and tailored interventions.
  • The correlation between cancer and smoking: Investigating the link and effective cessation strategies.
  • Cancer and mental health: Exploring the reciprocal relationship and potential interventions.
  • The impact of cancer on the LGBTQ+ elderly population: Addressing unique challenges and supportive care.
  • Cancer prevention through lifestyle modifications: Analyzing the role of diet, exercise, and stress management.
  • The role of genetic counseling in cancer risk assessment: Discussing the benefits and ethical considerations.
  • Cancer and environmental justice: Analyzing disparities in exposure to carcinogens.
  • The impact of cancer on adolescents' educational attainment and career prospects.
  • Cancer and the indigenous population: Addressing cultural and access barriers to care.
  • The role of social media influencers in cancer awareness campaigns: Assessing their impact and ethical considerations.
  • Cancer prevention through workplace policies: Analyzing the importance of occupational safety measures.

These essay topic ideas offer a wide range of possibilities for exploring the complex and multifaceted nature of cancer. Depending on your interests and expertise, you can choose a topic that resonates with you and delve into it with extensive research, analysis, and critical thinking. Remember to approach the topic with sensitivity and empathy, as cancer affects millions of lives and demands a compassionate approach to understanding and addressing its challenges.

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Essay on Cancer for Students and Children

500+ words essay on cancer.

Cancer might just be one of the most feared and dreaded diseases. Globally, cancer is responsible for the death of nearly 9.5 million people in 2018. It is the second leading cause of death as per the world health organization. As per studies, in India, we see 1300 deaths due to cancer every day. These statistics are truly astonishing and scary. In the recent few decades, the number of cancer has been increasingly on the rise. So let us take a look at the meaning, causes, and types of cancer in this essay on cancer.

Cancer comes in many forms and types. Cancer is the collective name given to the disease where certain cells of the person’s body start dividing continuously, refusing to stop. These extra cells form when none are needed and they spread into the surrounding tissues and can even form malignant tumors. Cells may break away from such tumors and go and form tumors in other places of the patient’s body.

essay on cancer

Types of Cancers

As we know, cancer can actually affect any part or organ of the human body. We all have come across various types of cancer – lung, blood, pancreas, stomach, skin, and so many others. Biologically, however, cancer can be divided into five types specifically – carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma, leukemia.

Among these, carcinomas are the most diagnosed type. These cancers originate in organs or glands such as lungs, stomach, pancreas, breast, etc. Leukemia is the cancer of the blood, and this does not form any tumors. Sarcomas start in the muscles, bones, tissues or other connective tissues of the body. Lymphomas are the cancer of the white blood cells, i.e. the lymphocytes. And finally, melanoma is when cancer arises in the pigment of the skin.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Causes of Cancer

In most cases, we can never attribute the cause of any cancer to one single factor. The main thing that causes cancer is a substance we know as carcinogens. But how these develop or enters a person’s body will depend on many factors. We can divide the main factors into the following types – biological factors, physical factors, and lifestyle-related factors.

Biological factors involve internal factors such as age, gender, genes, hereditary factors, blood type, skin type, etc. Physical factors refer to environmental exposure of any king to say X-rays, gamma rays, etc. Ad finally lifestyle-related factors refer to substances that introduced carcinogens into our body. These include tobacco, UV radiation, alcohol. smoke, etc. Next, in this essay on cancer lets learn about how we can treat cancer.

Treatment of Cancer

Early diagnosis and immediate medical care in cancer are of utmost importance. When diagnosed in the early stages, then the treatment becomes easier and has more chances of success. The three most common treatment plans are either surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

If there is a benign tumor, then surgery is performed to remove the mass from the body, hence removing cancer from the body. In radiation therapy, we use radiation (rays) to specially target and kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy is similar, where we inject the patient with drugs that target and kill the cancer cells. All treatment plans, however, have various side-effects. And aftercare is one of the most important aspects of cancer treatment.

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144 Breast Cancer Essay Topics

🏆 best essay topics on breast cancer, ✍️ breast cancer essay topics for college, 👍 good breast cancer research topics & essay examples, 🎓 most interesting breast cancer research titles, 💡 simple breast cancer essay ideas, ❓ research questions on breast cancer.

  • Breast Cancer: The Story of One Patient
  • Breast Cancer: Literature Review
  • Disease Research: Breast Cancer
  • Postoperative Breast Cancer Care
  • Bilateral Mastectomy for Breast Cancer Prevention
  • Breast Cancer: Pathophysiology, Types and Treatment
  • Post-operative Breast Cancer Patients With Depression: Annotated Bibliography
  • Epidemiology of Breast Cancer in UK As of 2011, the incidences of breast cancer have been increasing continuously over forty years. Also, there was a general reduction in the rate of mortality caused by breast cancer.
  • Breast Cancer and Effective Medical Treatment The aim of this paper is to characterize breast cancer and to describe the modern methods of its treatment and prevention.
  • Breast Cancer Screening Promotion The article begins with a brief description of the North Carolina Breast Cancer Screening Program. The program included social-ecological and community organizing approaches to health promotion.
  • Breast Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment Recent efforts from medical professionals and interest groups like Breast Cancer Awareness Month facilitate open discussion around breast cancer.
  • Breast Cancer: Diagnostic and Treatment Breast cancer is one of the most common oncology disorders among females. It has a complicated chain of immune reactions and various structures identified histologically.
  • Health-Related Misconceptions Regarding Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer There is a myth about the use of antiperspirants, especially aluminum-containing ones, as a risk factor for breast cancer.
  • Naturalistic Observation of Couples Coping With Breast Cancer Couples who are suffering with cancer and their spouses’ psychological well-being were explored in study, which focused on the natural setting and substance of dialogues.
  • Breast Cancer: Preventive Measures and Support Methods One of the most common types of cancer that women encounter worldwide is breast cancer. This disease was the cause of approximately 570,000 deaths in 2015.
  • Health & Medicine: Breast Cancer in XIX Century The disease of breast cancer was a disease of women, which began to be actively noticed from the beginning of the nineteenth century.
  • Breast Cancer: Threat to the Patients Cancer is developed from mutations, namely from atypical changes in genes that regulate cell growth and keep them healthy.
  • Herceptin and Breast Cancer Treatment Cancer growth is a series of processes that are driven by alterations of genes that bring about the progressive conversion of usual body cells into extremely malignant imitation.
  • BRCA Gene Mutation and Breast Cancer This study aims to determine how BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutations contribute to breast cancer, to analyze the role of BRCA1 and BRCA 2 in the restoration of the damaged DNA.
  • Breast Cancer and Exercise. Article Summary The research study focused on breast cancer survivors in the Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute (RMCRI) who had already been treated.
  • The Risk Factors of Breast Cancer This paper will throw light upon what breast cancer is all about, the risk factors, the distribution, and determinants of the same.
  • Multicausality: Reserpine, Breast Cancer, and Obesity All the factors are not significant in the context of the liability to breast cancer development, though their minor influence is undeniable.
  • Understanding Epigenetic Mechanisms in Breast Cancer Human cells become cancerous when they undergo genetic modifications that make them acquire growth and multiplication advantages.
  • Breast Cancer: Etiology, Signs and Symptoms Breast cancer is believed to have claimed many human lives in the last four decades, but its prevalence rate has decreased significantly due to improved disease awareness.
  • The Epidemiology of Breast Cancer in Young Women The researcher has clearly outlined the essence of the referenced study as aimed at reviewing the epidemiology of breast cancer in young women.
  • Breast Cancer: Research Review Paper Plenty of scholars’ investigations help doctors, nurses, and patients to take precautionary and care measures to improve their physical and psychological condition.
  • The Relationship Between Breast Cancer and Genes Cancer, in general, is a disease caused by genes that have mutated or adapted in a different way than was intended.
  • Breast Cancer Development and Progression: Understanding Epigenetic Mechanisms The development and progression of breast cancer have been attributed to a series of cellular and molecular events, most of which are not well understood.
  • Impact of Alcohol Abuse on Breast Cancer Risk in Women This paper will examine the effects of alcohol abuse on the development of breast cancer in women to uncover its devastating consequences.
  • Prophylaxis Breast Cancer This paper examines the majority of the parts in detail and considers every risk linked to the development of this dangerous disease.
  • Breast Cancer: Analysis and Data Collection The study to determine the quality of health was a qualitative research study because it showed a significant improved in the quality of life for the breast cancer victims.
  • The Disease of Breast Cancer: Definition and Treatment Breast cancer is a serious disease during which the breast cells experience abnormal growth. Females usually have a higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Care of Breast Cancer-Related Lymphoedema The lymphoedema’s clinical manifestations include swelling of the upper or lower extremities, violation of skin nutrition, and subcutaneous fat tissue.
  • Women’s Disease: Breast Cancer and Its Consequence Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer types worldwide amounting to 25-30% of all cancer cases detected yearly among women.
  • Racism in Breast Cancer Treatment Cancer treatment is the least studied field that arises numerous ambiguities and requires a more sophisticated approach in studying.
  • Breast Cancer: Discussion of the Problems and Way of Treatment An analytical and evaluative case that is intended to recover fully the problem of breast cancer and explain the ways of its treatment in the context of nursing.
  • Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention This paper aims to discuss breast cancer epidemiology and socioeconomic factors with regard to the young, middle, and older adults to identify risks, prevention, and opportunities.
  • Miami Breast Cancer Conference: Scholarly Activity Breast cancer is a prominent variation of the condition, as the body part is generally considered to be among the most common targets for the illness.
  • Recommendations for Breast Cancer Screening: USPSTF Guidelines This paper aims to give a proper recommendation for breast cancer screening under USPSTF guidelines while considering the differences in patients’ epidemiology.
  • Factors Influencing Breast Cancer Screening in Low-Income African Americans in Tennessee This article focuses on understanding the factors that are associated with the decision and obstacles to breast cancer screening in African-American women living in Tennessee.
  • “A Culturally Tailored Internet Cancer Support Group for Asian American Breast Cancer Survivors”: Article Analysis Medicine, as a holistic science, recognizes the individual cultural uniqueness of every patient in order to deliver a better quality of care.
  • Breast Cancer and Stress Heightening This paper aims to discuss three educational interventions that can help patients to manage their stressful experiences.
  • Prevention of Breast Cancer The problem of the study is a major one because it is connected to one of the critical health concerns that affect women worldwide: breast cancer.
  • Anthem Blue Cross: Breast Cancer Screenings This paper aims to present a detailed economic report regarding the implementation of breast cancer screenings that Anthem Blue Cross will provide free of charge.
  • Women’s Healthcare: Breast Cancer Prevention & Treatment Preventive services for patients who are at risk of breast cancer include medications for risk reduction of the disease and screening for breast cancer using film mammography.
  • Breast Cancer Inheritance Biophysical Factors The biophysical factors operating in this situation are the age of the patient and the possible inheritance of breast cancer. The psychological factors are her mental health records.
  • Mammary Cancer: Health Screening Initiative Breast cancer is one of the dangerous conditions, which might lead to lethal consequences. This type of cancer is a malignant tumor of the glandular tissue of the breast.
  • Mammography Screening and Breast Cancer Mortality The study has been designed to measure the effectiveness of breast cancer decision aids (DAs) in improving mammography screening intentions in African-American women 65 years and older.
  • Breast Cancer Studies: Evaluation and Analysis of Scientific Papers This paper assesses the level of effectiveness and reliability of studies, as well as offer a separate intervention that can help at least partially solve the problem of breast cancer.
  • Music Therapy Effects for Breast Cancer Patients The research question for this study is whether mindfulness-based music therapy influences attention and mood in women who receive adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer.
  • Breast Cancer: Disease Screening and Diagnosis The paper studies the medical case of a female patient with the risk of breast cancer increased by the fact that cancers were recently diagnosed in her family.
  • From Breast Cancer to Zika Virus – Nursing Issues The paper studies relations between diabetes type II and oral hygiene, treatment of cardiovascular diseases, vision loss, breast cancer, and preventing Zika virus.
  • Postmenopausal Women with Breast Cancer This research discusses, Experience of adjuvant treatment among postmenopausal women with breast cancer: health-related quality of life, symptom experience, stressful events and coping strategies.
  • A Research of Breast Cancer Survival We know the cancer of breast tissue as Breast cancer. It has reported too that breast cancer affects woman ageing of any age at least in the western world.
  • Breast Cancer and Its Effects on Society
  • The Anatomy and Physiology of Breast Cancer
  • Gated Dibh for Left-Sided Breast Cancer Patients
  • Nursing Care For the Terminal Breast Cancer Patient Community
  • African American Women, Environmental Impacts, and Breast Cancer
  • African American Women and Breast Cancer
  • New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines
  • Genetic Changes for Breast Cancer
  • Early Preterm Delivery and Breast Cancer
  • Elderly Lesbians and Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer Prevention Strategies
  • Breast Cancer Awareness and Walks for Leukemia Flood Media
  • Hyaluronan, Inflammation, and Breast Cancer Progression
  • Breast Cancer Among Women in the United States
  • Modified Radical Mastectomy for Contralateral Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer and the Use of Exercise as Medicine
  • Obesity and Breast Cancer: Role of Leptin
  • Breast Cancer Causes and Prevention Methods
  • Targeted Therapy for Breast Cancer Prevention
  • Breast Cancer Risk Factors You Can’t Control
  • Chemotherapy and Breast Cancer
  • Postoperative Patients With Breast Cancer and Self Image
  • Diagnostic Imaging for Breast Cancer Symptoms
  • Breast Cancer: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment
  • Oral Treatments for Breast Cancer and Health Promotion
  • Breast Cancer and Early Detection of Low-Income Minority
  • Breast Cancer and Diet
  • NFL and Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer and Pregnancy
  • Cervical and Breast Cancer and Nutrition’s Effects
  • Breast Cancer and Early Detection
  • 2000 Treatment Program for Cervical and Breast Cancer Prevention
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy and Breast Cancer
  • Coping Strategies and Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer and Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Abortion and Breast Cancer (ABC) In the United States of America
  • Breast Cancer and Its Effects on Women
  • Health Concerns Involving Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer Characteristics and Survival Differences
  • Breast Cancer Information and Support
  • Applying Medical Procedures for Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer and Its Effects on the United States
  • Breast Cancer Treatment and Therapy With Nanomedicine
  • The Second Leading Cause of Death Is the Breast Cancer
  • Romania’s Breast Cancer and Healthcare Education
  • Cardiovascular Toxicities From Systemic Breast Cancer Therapy
  • Moderate Drinking Can Still Lead To Breast Cancer
  • Treatments for Hormone Sensitive Breast Cancer
  • Intraoperative Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer
  • Postmenopausal Women, Breast Cancer Risk, and Raloxifene
  • Breast Cancer and the Environment
  • Breast Cancer and Cancer Cell Lines
  • Group Therapy, Family Options, and Breast Cancer
  • Issues Involving Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer Survivorship, Quality of Life, and Late Toxicities
  • Breast Cancer Age Risk Women
  • Relationship Between Meat Intake and Breast Cancer Risks
  • Breast Cancer Develops From the Breast Tissue
  • Breast Cancer and the Medication Tamoxifen
  • Which Branch of Science Is Used in Testing Breast Cancer?
  • How Does Breast Cancer Affect a Patient’s Health?
  • Which of the Lifestyle Choices Reduces the Chances of Developing Breast Cancer?
  • What Is the Survival Rate for Inflammatory Breast Cancer?
  • How Does Breast Cancer Affect Homeostasis?
  • How to Check for Breast Cancer Using Nursing Assessment Techniques?
  • Can Breast Cancer Spread to Your Kidneys?
  • Why Does Breastfeeding Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?
  • How Rare Is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?
  • Is Fibrocystic Mastopathy Associated With an Increased Risk of Breast Cancer?
  • What Is Papillary Breast Cancer?
  • How Fast Does Metastatic Breast Cancer Spread?
  • Who Founded the National Breast Cancer Foundation?
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  • How Is Group Behavior Influenced Through Breast Cancer Treatment?
  • Can Breast Cancer Cause Numbness in Fingers?
  • What Are the Primary and Secondary Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?
  • What Causes Inflammatory Breast Cancer?
  • What Side Effects Are Possible From Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer?
  • Are Prostate Cancer and Breast Cancer Related?
  • What Percentage of Breast Cancer Is Detected by Mammogram?
  • What Information Does a Doctor Need to Assess a Patient’s Breast Cancer Risk?
  • Is Abortion Linked to Breast Cancer?
  • What Is the Risk of Metastasis for Breast Cancer?
  • What Is the Primary Level of Prevention for Breast Cancer?
  • What Genes Are Responsible for Autosomal Dominant Breast Cancer?
  • What Is the At-Risk Population Regarding Breast Cancer?

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StudyCorgi . "144 Breast Cancer Essay Topics." March 1, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/breast-cancer-essay-topics/.

StudyCorgi . 2022. "144 Breast Cancer Essay Topics." March 1, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/breast-cancer-essay-topics/.

These essay examples and topics on Breast Cancer were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.

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essay topics about cancer

Cancer Essay Titles

  • Breast Cancer: At-Risk Population, Barriers, and Improvement
  • Cancer Longitudinal Exploration
  • Breast Cancer: Crucial Issues
  • Promotion of Cardiovascular Health and Cancer Prevention
  • Cancer: Alternative and Complementary Therapies
  • Creativity in People With Cancer
  • Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Investigation
  • Genetics of Prostate Cancer and Physical Features
  • Angiostatic Approaches to Cancer Therapy
  • Skin Cancer Awareness Overview
  • Oral Cancer Reconstruction
  • Breast Cancer Assessment in London
  • Cancer Treatment and Life Quality in Adult Patients
  • Breast Cancer in Afro- and Euro-Americans
  • New Screening Guidelines for Breast Cancer
  • Care Needs of Children Whose Parents Have Incurable Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer: The Ion Channels
  • Lung Cancer Cells Migrating to Other Parts of the Body
  • Ovarian Cancer: Medical Review
  • Dyspnea in Cancer Patients

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Writing Prompts about Cancer

  • 🗃️ Essay topics
  • ❓ Research questions
  • 📝 Topic sentences
  • 🪝 Essay hooks
  • 📑 Thesis statements
  • 🔀 Hypothesis examples
  • 🧐 Personal statements

🔗 References

🗃️ cancer essay topics.

  • The role of genetics in cancer susceptibility and risk assessment.
  • The psychological effects of a cancer diagnosis on patients and their families.
  • Immunotherapy and targeted therapies in cancer treatments.
  • Bowel cancer treatment history.
  • The challenges and benefits of early cancer detection and screening programs.
  • The impact of lifestyle choices on cancer risk.
  • Environmental factors and their potential link to cancer development.
  • Exploring the potential of nanotechnology in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
  • Depression and anxiety in patients with cancer.
  • The role of inflammation in cancer development and progression.
  • Addressing the long-term physical and emotional effects of cancer.
  • The economic impact of cancer on healthcare systems and society.
  • The national cancer institute’s annual report.
  • Analyzing the global disparities in cancer incidence, access to care, and outcomes.
  • Public health campaigns and education for cancer prevention.
  • Integrative and complementary therapies in cancer care.
  • Understanding the connection between viruses and certain types of cancer.
  • Breast cancer prevention and treatment.
  • Investigating the link between obesity and an increased risk of cancer.
  • The ethical considerations surrounding experimental cancer treatments and clinical trials.
  • Cancer in children and advancements in pediatric oncology.
  • Cancer and angiogenesis relations.
  • The influence of epigenetics on cancer development and treatment.
  • Cancer and tailoring treatments to individual patients.
  • The potential role of artificial intelligence in cancer research and diagnosis.

❓ Essay Questions about Cancer

  • How does chronic inflammation contribute to the development and progression of cancer?
  • What are the most effective methods for early detection and diagnosis of different types of cancer?
  • How can lifestyle modifications influence cancer prevention and treatment outcomes?
  • What are the barriers and challenges in accessing cancer treatment for underserved and marginalized populations?
  • How can we improve the accuracy and reliability of cancer screening programs?
  • What are the long-term psychological and emotional impacts on cancer survivors?
  • How can nanotechnology be utilized in cancer treatment to enhance drug delivery and reduce side effects?
  • What are the molecular mechanisms that drive cancer metastasis?
  • How does exposure to certain environmental pollutants or toxins contribute to cancer risk?
  • What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of using artificial intelligence in cancer diagnosis?
  • How can we optimize combination therapies to minimize resistance in cancer patients?
  • What are the specific genetic mutations associated with a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer?
  • What are the underlying causes of cancer treatment resistance?
  • What are the social and economic implications of cancer on patients and their families?
  • How can telemedicine and remote monitoring systems be effectively integrated into cancer care?

📝 Topic Sentences on Cancer

  • Cancer, a complex and multifaceted disease, poses a significant challenge to modern healthcare due to its diverse manifestations and varying treatment responses.
  • Advancements in cancer research and treatment have significantly improved patient outcomes, offering hope and a path toward personalized therapies tailored to individual genetic profiles.
  • Examining the interplay between lifestyle choices, environmental factors, and genetic predisposition sheds light on the preventable aspects of cancer, empowering individuals to adopt proactive measures for risk reduction.

🪝 Hooks for Cancer Paper

📍 autobiography hooks about cancer for essay.

  • In the pages of my autobiography lies a poignant tale of hope, resilience, and the power of love, as I share my personal odyssey through the labyrinth of cancer, emerging stronger and more determined to embrace life’s every moment.
  • As the harrowing whispers of a life-altering diagnosis echoed through my world, little did I know that cancer would become the catalyst for a profound transformation I never imagined.

📍 Statistical Hooks on Cancer for Essay

  • With over 19.3 million new cancer cases reported worldwide in 2020 alone, cancer remains one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity globally.
  • According to recent statistics, the five-year survival rate for certain types of cancers has dramatically increased from 49% in the 1970s to an encouraging 69% today, highlighting the remarkable progress in cancer treatment and research.

📍 Question Hooks for Essay about Cancer

  • How can we utilize liquid biopsies for real-time monitoring of cancer progression and treatment response?
  • What are the potential long-term effects of radiation and chemotherapy on cancer survivors’ overall health and quality of life?

📑 Good Cancer Thesis Statements

✔️ argumentative thesis examples on cancer.

  • Despite significant advancements in cancer research and treatment, a comprehensive focus on preventive measures, including lifestyle changes and public health initiatives, remains the most effective strategy to combat the rising incidence of cancer worldwide.
  • While conventional cancer therapies have made substantial progress, the integration of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and immunotherapy offers unprecedented potential to revolutionize cancer treatment, leading to more personalized, targeted, and ultimately more successful outcomes for patients.

✔️ Analytical Thesis Samples on Cancer

  • The integration of precision medicine, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment, offering improved survival rates and better quality of life for patients by tailoring interventions based on individual genetic profiles and tumor characteristics.
  • Analyzing the socio-economic disparities in cancer outcomes reveals the urgent need for comprehensive healthcare reforms and targeted support programs, as access to early detection, innovative treatments, and psychological support significantly influences the overall prognosis and well-being of cancer patients.

✔️ Informative Thesis on Cancer

  • This thesis explores the multifaceted nature of cancer, delving into its various causes, risk factors, and treatment options, with a focus on raising awareness about preventive measures to empower individuals in the fight against this pervasive disease.
  • Through an in-depth analysis of cutting-edge research and medical advancements, this thesis aims to present a comprehensive overview of cancer treatment modalities, highlighting the promising potential of immunotherapy and targeted therapies in revolutionizing cancer care and improving patient outcomes.

🔀 Cancer Hypothesis Examples

  • Increased exposure to environmental pollutants is positively correlated with a higher incidence of lung cancer among non-smoking individuals.
  • The combination of drug A and drug B will result in a synergistic effect, leading to a significant reduction in tumor size and improved overall survival in patients with advanced breast cancer.

🔂 Null & Alternative Hypothesis on Cancer

  • Null Hypothesis: There is no significant association between regular consumption of processed meats and the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Alternative Hypothesis: Regular consumption of processed meats is positively associated with an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

🧐 Examples of Personal Statement on Cancer

  • As a student passionate about making a positive impact on people’s lives, cancer research has captured my interest due to its profound implications for millions around the world. I aspire to delve into the complexities of cancer biology, immerse myself in cutting-edge research, and collaborate with experts to develop innovative therapies that will one day provide hope and healing to patients and their families. With unwavering dedication and a thirst for knowledge, I am eager to play my part in creating a brighter future for those affected by cancer.
  • As a student who believes in the power of advocacy and education, I am deeply drawn to the topic of cancer and its impact on individuals and communities. I aim to raise awareness about cancer prevention, early detection, and the significance of leading a healthy lifestyle. With a desire to effect change, I intend to utilize my writing and communication skills to disseminate vital information about cancer risk factors, available resources, and the importance of emotional support during the cancer journey.
  • Identification of Key Elements in Prostate Cancer for Ontology Building via a Multidisciplinary Consensus Agreement
  • Evaluating approaches for constructing polygenic risk scores for prostate cancer in men of African and European ancestry
  • Molecular and therapeutic aspects of breast cancer stem cells
  • The State of Lung Cancer Research: A Global Analysis
  • Aging, cancer, and cancer vaccines

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What to know about cancer

essay topics about cancer

Cancer causes cells to divide uncontrollably. This can result in tumors, damage to the immune system, and other impairment that can be fatal.

Cancer can affect various parts of the body, such as the breasts, lungs, prostate, and skin.

In this article, we examine types of cancer, how the disease develops, and how doctors may treat it. We also explore different types of cancer and disease outlook. Finally, we answer some common questions about cancer.

Cancer resources

To discover more evidence-based information and resources for cancer, visit our dedicated hub .

What is cancer?

Green pancreatic cancer cells over a dark blue background 1

Cancer is a broad term. It describes the disease that results when cellular changes cause the uncontrolled growth and division of cells .

Some types of cancer cause rapid cell growth, while others cause cells to grow and divide at a slower rate.

Certain forms of cancer result in visible growths called tumors , while others, such as leukemia , do not.

Most of the body’s cells have specific functions and fixed lifespans. Cell death is part of a natural and beneficial phenomenon, which healthcare professionals call apoptosis.

A cell receives instructions to die so that the body can replace it with a newer cell that functions better. Cancerous cells lack the components that instruct them to stop dividing and to die.

As a result, they build up in the body, using oxygen and nutrients that would usually nourish other cells. Cancerous cells can form tumors, impair the immune system and cause other changes that prevent the body from functioning regularly.

Cancerous cells may appear in one area, then spread via the lymph nodes . These are clusters of immune cells located throughout the body.

There are many causes of cancer, and some are preventable.

Risk factors

Preventable risk factors for cancer include :

  • heavy alcohol consumption
  • excess body weight
  • physical inactivity
  • poor nutrition
  • human papillomavirus infection

Other risk factors for cancer are not preventable. Currently, the most significant unpreventable risk factor is age. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), doctors in the United States diagnose 88% of cancer cases in people ages 50 years or older.

Is cancer genetic?

Genetic factors can contribute to the development of cancer.

A person’s genetic code tells their cells when to divide and expire. Changes in the genes can lead to faulty instructions, and cancer can result.

Genes also influence the cells’ production of proteins, and proteins carry many of the instructions for cellular growth and division.

Some genes change proteins that would usually repair damaged cells. This can lead to a predisposition for cancer. If a parent has these genes, they may pass on the altered instructions to their offspring. A doctor may refer to this as an inherited gene mutation. These mutations may contribute to the development of up to 10% of cancer cases.

Some genetic mutations that increase the risk of developing cancer occur after birth. Healthcare professionals refer to these changes as “acquired gene mutations”. Possible causes include smoking and sun exposure. These genetic changes cause cancer more commonly than inherited gene mutations.

Other changes that can result in cancer take place in the chemical signals that determine how the cells turn specific genes on and off. Doctors may call these “epigenetic changes”.

Doctors usually prescribe treatments based on the type of cancer, its stage at diagnosis, and the person’s overall health.

Some examples of cancer treatment include :

  • Chemotherapy aims to kill cancerous cells with medications that target rapidly dividing cells. The drugs can also help shrink tumors, but the side effects can be severe.
  • Hormone therapy involves taking medications that change how certain hormones work or interfere with the body’s ability to produce them. When hormones play a significant role, as with prostate and breast cancers , this is a common approach.
  • Immunotherapy uses medications and other treatments to boost the immune system and encourage it to fight cancerous cells.
  • Radiation therapy uses high-dose radiation to kill cancerous cells. Also, a doctor may recommend using radiation to shrink a tumor before surgery or reduce tumor-related symptoms.
  • Stem cell transplant can be especially beneficial for people with blood-related cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma . It involves removing cells, such as red or white blood cells , that chemotherapy or radiation has destroyed. Lab technicians then strengthen the cells and put them back into the body.
  • Surgery is often a part of a treatment plan when a person has a cancerous tumor. Also, a surgeon may remove lymph nodes to reduce or prevent the disease’s spread.
  • Targeted therapies perform functions within cancerous cells to prevent them from multiplying. They can also boost the immune system. Two examples of these therapies are small-molecule drugs and monoclonal antibodies.

Doctors will often employ more than one type of treatment to maximize effectiveness.

The most common type of cancer in the U.S. is breast cancer, followed by lung and prostate cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute, which excluded nonmelanoma skin cancers from these findings.

Each year, more than 40,000 people in the country receive a diagnosis of one of the following types of cancer:

  • colon and rectal
  • endometrial
  • non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Other forms are less common. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are over 100 types of cancer.

Cancer development and cell division

Doctors classify cancer by its location in the body and the tissues that it forms in.

For example, sarcomas develop in bones or soft tissues, while carcinomas form in cells that cover internal or external surfaces in the body. Basal cell carcinomas develop in the skin, while adenocarcinomas can form in the glands.

When cancerous cells spread to other parts of the body, the medical term for this is metastasis.

A person can also have more than one type of cancer at a time.

Improvements in cancer detection, increased awareness of the risks of smoking, and a drop in tobacco use have all contributed to a year-on-year decrease in the number of cancer diagnoses and deaths.

According to the ACS, the overall cancer death rate declined by 33% between 1991 and 2020.

When a person has cancer, their outlook will depend on whether the disease has spread and on its type, severity, and location.

Frequently asked questions

Below are some common questions and answers about cancer.

How do I recognize cancer before it starts to cause serious health problems?

Some cancers cause early symptoms, but others do not exhibit symptoms until they are more advanced. Many of these symptoms are often from causes unrelated to cancer.

The best way to identify cancer early is to report any unusual, persistent symptoms to a doctor so they can offer advice about any further testing that may be needed.

Can people with cancer live a long life?

Each individual’s outlook varies depending on the type of cancer they have and other factors, such as their overall health and whether the disease has spread.

However, the ACS indicates that the overall cancer death rate has declined by 33% between 1991 and 2020.

How long can someone live with cancer without knowing?

Some types of cancer do not cause symptoms in the early stages. Therefore, a person may not know they are living with the disease until it reaches more advanced stages.

For example, research indicates that carcinoid tumors may not present with any symptoms for years .

Cancer causes cells to divide uncontrollably. It also prevents them from dying at the natural point in their life cycle.

Genetic factors and lifestyle choices, such as smoking, can contribute to the development of the disease. Several elements affect the ways that DNA communicates with cells and directs their division and death.

After nonmelanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type in the U.S.

Treatments are constantly improving. Examples of current methods include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Some people benefit from newer options, such as stem cell transplantation and precision medicine.

The diagnosis and death rates of cancer are dropping yearly.

Last medically reviewed on January 24, 2024

  • Cancer / Oncology

How we reviewed this article:

  • About cancer. (n.d.). https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer
  • All about cancer. (n.d.). https://www.cancer.org/cancer.html
  • Cancer facts & figures 2023. (2023). https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2023/2023-cancer-facts-and-figures.pdf
  • Cingam SR, et al. (2022). Carcinoid tumors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448101/
  • Common cancer types. (2018). https://www.cancer.gov/types/common-cancers
  • Risk factors and cancer. (2023). https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/risk_factors.htm

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  • v.28; Jan-Dec 2021

Cancer Biology, Epidemiology, and Treatment in the 21st Century: Current Status and Future Challenges From a Biomedical Perspective

Patricia piña-sánchez.

1 Oncology Research Unit, Oncology Hospital, Mexican Institute of Social Security, Mexico

Antonieta Chávez-González

Martha ruiz-tachiquín, eduardo vadillo, alberto monroy-garcía, juan josé montesinos, rocío grajales.

2 Department of Medical Oncology, Oncology Hospital, Mexican Institute of Social Security, Mexico

Marcos Gutiérrez de la Barrera

3 Clinical Research Division, Oncology Hospital, Mexican Institute of Social Security, Mexico

Hector Mayani

Since the second half of the 20th century, our knowledge about the biology of cancer has made extraordinary progress. Today, we understand cancer at the genomic and epigenomic levels, and we have identified the cell that starts neoplastic transformation and characterized the mechanisms for the invasion of other tissues. This knowledge has allowed novel drugs to be designed that act on specific molecular targets, the immune system to be trained and manipulated to increase its efficiency, and ever more effective therapeutic strategies to be developed. Nevertheless, we are still far from winning the war against cancer, and thus biomedical research in oncology must continue to be a global priority. Likewise, there is a need to reduce unequal access to medical services and improve prevention programs, especially in countries with a low human development index.

Introduction

During the last one hundred years, our understanding of the biology of cancer increased in an extraordinary way. 1 - 4 Such a progress has been particularly prompted during the last few decades because of technological and conceptual progress in a variety of fields, including massive next-generation sequencing, inclusion of “omic” sciences, high-resolution microscopy, molecular immunology, flow cytometry, analysis and sequencing of individual cells, new cell culture techniques, and the development of animal models, among others. Nevertheless, there are many questions yet to be answered and many problems to be solved regarding this disease. As a consequence, oncological research must be considered imperative.

Currently, cancer is one of the illnesses that causes more deaths worldwide. 5 According to data reported in 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second cause of death throughout the world, with 10 million deaths. 6 Clearly, cancer is still a leading problem worldwide. With this in mind, the objective of this article is to present a multidisciplinary and comprehensive overview of the disease. We will begin by analyzing cancer as a process, focusing on the current state of our knowledge on 4 specific aspects of its biology. Then, we will look at cancer as a global health problem, considering some epidemiological aspects, and discussing treatment, with a special focus on novel therapies. Finally, we present our vision on some of the challenges and perspectives of cancer in the 21 st century.

The Biology of Cancer

Cancer is a disease that begins with genetic and epigenetic alterations occurring in specific cells, some of which can spread and migrate to other tissues. 4 Although the biological processes affected in carcinogenesis and the evolution of neoplasms are many and widely different, we will focus on 4 aspects that are particularly relevant in tumor biology: genomic and epigenomic alterations that lead to cell transformation, the cells where these changes occur, and the processes of invasion and metastasis that, to an important degree, determine tumor aggressiveness.

Cancer Genomics

The genomics of cancer can be defined as the study of the complete sequence of DNA and its expression in tumor cells. Evidently, this study only becomes meaningful when compared to normal cells. The sequencing of the human genome, completed in 2003, was not only groundbreaking with respect to the knowledge of our gene pool, but also changed the way we study cancer. In the post-genomic era, various worldwide endeavors, such as the Human Cancer Genome Project , the Cancer Genome ATLAS (TCGA), the International Cancer Genome Consortium, and the Pan-Cancer Analysis Working Group (PCAWG), have contributed to the characterization of thousands of primary tumors from different neoplasias, generating more than 2.5 petabytes (10 15 ) of genomic, epigenomic, and proteomic information. This has led to the building of databases and analytical tools that are available for the study of cancer from an “omic” perspective, 7 , 8 and it has helped to modify classification and treatment of various neoplasms.

Studies in the past decade, including the work by the PCAWG, have shown that cancer generally begins with a small number of driving mutations (4 or 5 mutations) in particular genes, including oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes. Mutations in TP53, a tumor-suppressor gene, for example, are found in more than half of all cancer types as an early event, and they are a hallmark of precancerous lesions. 9 - 12 From that point on, the evolution of tumors may take decades, throughout which the mutational spectrum of tumor cells changes significantly. Mutational analysis of more than 19 000 exomes revealed a collection of genomic signatures, some associated with defects in the mechanism of DNA repair. These studies also revealed the importance of alterations in non-coding regions of DNA. Thus, for example, it has been observed that various pathways of cell proliferation and chromatin remodeling are altered by mutations in coding regions, while pathways, such as WNT and NOTCH, can be disrupted by coding and non-coding mutations. To the present date, 19 955 genes that codify for proteins and 25 511 genes for non-coding RNAs have been identified ( https://www.gencodegenes.org/human/stats.html ). Based on this genomic catalogue, the COSMIC (Catalogue Of Somatic Mutations In Cancer) repository, the most robust database to date, has registered 37 288 077 coding mutations, 19 396 fusions, 1 207 190 copy number variants, and 15 642 672 non-coding variants reported up to August 2020 (v92) ( https://cosmic-blog.sanger.ac.uk/cosmic-release-v92/ ).

The genomic approach has accelerated the development of new cancer drugs. Indeed, two of the most relevant initiatives in recent years are ATOM (Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine), which groups industry, government and academia, with the objective of accelerating the identification of drugs, 13 and the Connectivity Map (CMAP), a collection of transcriptional data obtained from cell lines treated with drugs for the discovery of functional connections between genes, diseases, and drugs. The CMAP 1.0 covered 1300 small molecules and more than 6000 signatures; meanwhile, the CMAP 2.0 with L1000 assay profiled more than 1.3 million samples and approximately 400 000 signatures. 14

The genomic study of tumors has had 2 fundamental contributions. On the one hand, it has allowed the confirmation and expansion of the concept of intratumor heterogeneity 15 , 16 ; and on the other, it has given rise to new classification systems for cancer. Based on the molecular classification developed by expression profiles, together with mutational and epigenomic profiles, a variety of molecular signatures have been identified, leading to the production of various commercial multigene panels. In breast cancer, for example, different panels have been developed, such as Pam50/Prosigna , Blue Print , OncotypeDX , MammaPrint , Prosigna , Endopredict , Breast Cancer Index , Mammostrat, and IHC4 . 17

Currently, the genomic/molecular study of cancer is more closely integrated with clinical practice, from the classification of neoplasms, as in tumors of the nervous system, 18 to its use in prediction, as in breast cancer. 17 Improvement in molecular methods and techniques has allowed the use of smaller amounts of biological material, as well as paraffin-embedded samples for genomic studies, both of which provide a wealth of information. 19 In addition, non-invasive methods, such as liquid biopsies, represent a great opportunity not only for the diagnosis of cancer, but also for follow-up, especially for unresectable tumors. 20

Research for the production of genomic information on cancer is presently dominated by several consortia, which has allowed the generation of a great quantity of data. However, most of these consortia and studies are performed in countries with a high human development index (HDI), and countries with a low HDI are not well represented in these large genomic studies. This is why initiatives such as Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) for genomic research in Africa are essential. 21 Generation of new information and technological developments, such as third-generation sequencing, will undoubtedly continue to move forward in a multidisciplinary and complex systems context. However, the existing disparities in access to genomic tools for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of cancer will continue to be a pressing challenge at regional and social levels.

Cancer Epigenetics

Epigenetics studies the molecular mechanisms that produce hereditable changes in gene expression, without causing alterations in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic events are of 3 types: methylation of DNA and RNA, histone modification (acetylation, methylation, and phosphorylation), and the expression of non-coding RNA. Epigenetic aberrations can drive carcinogenesis when they alter chromosome conformation and the access to transcriptional machinery and to various regulatory elements (promoters, enhancers, and anchors for interaction with chromatin, for example). These changes may activate oncogenesis and silence tumor-suppressor mechanisms when they modulate coding and non-coding sequences (such as micro-RNAs and long-RNAs). This can then lead to uncontrolled growth, as well as the invasion and metastasis of cancer cells.

While genetic mutations are stable and irreversible, epigenetic alterations are dynamic and reversible; that is, there are several epigenomes, determined by space and time, which cause heterogeneity of the “epigenetic status” of tumors during their development and make them susceptible to environmental stimuli or chemotherapeutic treatment. 22 Epigenomic variability creates differences between cells, and this creates the need to analyze cells at the individual level. In the past, epigenetic analyses measured “average states” of cell populations. These studies revealed general mechanisms, such as the role of epigenetic marks on active or repressed transcriptional states, and established maps of epigenetic composition in a variety of cell types in normal and cancerous tissue. However, these approaches are difficult to use to examine events occurring in heterogeneous cell populations or in uncommon cell types. This has led to the development of new techniques that permit marking of a sequence on the epigenome and improvement in the recovery yield of epigenetic material from individual cells. This has helped to determine changes in DNA, RNA, and histones, chromatin accessibility, and chromosome conformation in a variety of neoplasms. 23 , 24

In cancer, DNA hypomethylation occurs on a global scale, while hypermethylation occurs in specific genomic loci, associated with abnormal nucleosome positioning and chromatin modifications. This information has allowed epigenomic profiles to be established in different types of neoplasms. In turn, these profiles have served as the basis to identify new neoplasm subgroups. For example, in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), 25 and in hepatocellular carcinoma, 26 DNA methylation profiles have helped to the identification of distinct subgroups with clinical relevance. Epigenetic approaches have also helped to the development of prognostic tests to assess the sensitivity of cancer cells to specific drugs. 27

Epigenetic traits could be used to characterize intratumoral heterogeneity and determine the relevance of such a heterogeneity in clonal evolution and sensitivity to drugs. However, it is clear that heterogeneity is not only determined by genetic and epigenetic diversity resulting from clonal evolution of tumor cells, but also by the various cell populations that form the tumor microenvironment (TME). 28 Consequently, the epigenome of cancer cells is continually remodeled throughout tumorigenesis, during resistance to the activity of drugs, and in metastasis. 29 This makes therapeutic action based on epigenomic profiles difficult, although significant advances in this area have been reported. 30

During carcinogenesis and tumor progression, epigenetic modifications are categorized by their mechanisms of regulation ( Figure 1A ) and the various levels of structural complexity ( Figure 1B ). In addition, the epigenome can be modified by environmental stimuli, stochastic events, and genetic variations that impact the phenotype ( Figure 1C ). 31 , 32 The molecules that take part in these mechanisms/events/variations are therapeutic targets of interest with potential impact on clinical practice. There are studies on a wide variety of epidrugs, either alone or in combination, which improve antitumor efficacy. 33 However, the problems with these drugs must not be underestimated. For a considerable number of epigenetic compounds still being under study, the main challenge is to translate in vitro efficacy of nanomolar (nM) concentrations into well-tolerated and efficient clinical use. 34 The mechanisms of action of epidrugs may not be sufficiently controlled and could lead to diversion of the therapeutic target. 35 It is known that certain epidrugs, such as valproic acid, produce unwanted epigenetic changes 36 ; thus the need for a well-established safety profile before these drugs can be used in clinical therapy. Finally, resistance to certain epidrugs is another relevant problem. 37 , 38

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Epigenetics of cancer. (A) Molecular mechanisms. (B) Structural hierarchy of epigenomics. (C) Factors affecting the epigenome. Modified from Refs. 31 and 32 .

As we learn about the epigenome of specific cell populations in cancer patients, a door opens to the evaluation of sensitivity tests and the search for new molecular markers for detection, prognosis, follow-up, and/or response to treatment at various levels of molecular regulation. Likewise, the horizon expands for therapeutic alternatives in oncology with the use of epidrugs, such as pharmacoepigenomic modulators for genes and key pathways, including methylation of promoters and regulation of micro-RNAs involved in chemoresponse and immune response in cancer. 39 There is no doubt that integrated approaches identifying stable pharmagenomic and epigenomic patterns and their relation with expression profiles and genetic functions will be more and more valuable in our fight against cancer.

Cancer Stem Cells

Tumors consist of different populations of neoplastic cells and a variety of elements that form part of the TME, including stromal cells and molecules of the extracellular matrix. 40 Such intratumoral heterogeneity becomes even more complex during clonal variation of transformed cells, as well as influence the elements of the TME have on these cells throughout specific times and places. 41 To explain the origin of cancer cell heterogeneity, 2 models have been put forward. The first proposes that mutations occur at random during development of the tumor in individual neoplastic cells, and this promotes the production of various tumor populations, which acquire specific growth and survival traits that lead them to evolve according to intratumor mechanisms of natural selection. 42 The second model proposes that each tumor begins as a single cell that possess 2 functional properties: it can self-renew and it can produce several types of terminal cells. As these 2 properties are characteristics of somatic stem cells, 43 the cells have been called cancer stem cells (CSCs). 44 According to this model, tumors must have a hierarchical organization, where self-renewing stem cells produce highly proliferating progenitor cells, unable to self-renew but with a high proliferation potential. The latter, in turn, give rise to terminal cells. 45 Current evidence indicates that both models may coexist in tumor progression. In agreement with this idea, new subclones could be produced as a result of a lack of genetic stability and mutational changes, in addition to the heterogeneity derived from the initial CSC and its descendants. Thus, in each tumor, a set of neoplastic cells with different genetic and epigenetic traits may be found, which would provide different phenotypic properties. 46

The CSC concept was originally presented in a model of acute myeloid leukemia. 47 The presence of CSCs was later proved in chronic myeloid leukemia, breast cancer, tumors of the central nervous system, lung cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, melanoma, and cancer of the head and neck, amongst others. In all of these cases, detection of CSCs was based on separation of several cell populations according to expression of specific surface markers, such as CD133, CD44, CD24, CD117, and CD15. 48 It is noteworthy that in some solid tumors, and even in some hematopoietic ones, a combination of specific markers that allow the isolation of CSCs has not been found. Interestingly, in such tumors, a high percentage of cells with the capacity to start secondary tumors has been observed; thus, the terms Tumor Initiating Cells (TIC) or Leukemia Initiating Cells (LIC) have been adopted. 46

A relevant aspect of the biology of CSCs is that, just like normal stem cells, they can self-renew. Such self-renewal guarantees the maintenance or expansion of the tumor stem cell population. Another trait CSCs share with normal stem cells is their quiescence, first described in chronic myeloid leukemia. 49 The persistence of quiescent CSCs in solid tumors has been recently described in colorectal cancer, where quiescent clones can become dominant after therapy with oxaliplatin. 50 In non-hierarchical tumors, such as melanoma, the existence of slow-cycling cells that are resistant to antimitogenic agents has also been proved. 51 Such experimental evidence supports the idea that quiescent CSCs or TICs are responsible for both tumor resistance to antineoplastic drugs and clinical relapse after initial therapeutic success.

In addition to quiescence, CSCs use other mechanisms to resist the action of chemotherapeutic drugs. One of these is their increased numbers: upon diagnosis, a high number of CSCs are observed in most analyzed tumors, making treatment unable to destroy all of them. On the other hand, CSCs have a high number of molecular pumps that expulse drugs, as well as high numbers of antiapoptotic molecules. In addition, they have very efficient mechanisms to repair DNA damage. In general, these cells show changes in a variety of signaling pathways involved in proliferation, survival, differentiation, and self-renewal. It is worth highlighting that in recent years, many of these pathways have become potential therapeutic targets in the elimination of CSCs. 52 Another aspect that is highly relevant in understanding the biological behavior of CSCs is that they require a specific site for their development within the tissue where they are found that can provide whatever is needed for their survival and growth. These sites, known as niches, are made of various cells, both tumor and non-tumor, as well as a variety of non-cellular elements (extracellular matrix [ECM], soluble cytokines, ion concentration gradients, etc.), capable of regulating the physiology of CSCs in order to promote their expansion, the invasion of adjacent tissues, and metastasis. 53

It is important to consider that although a large number of surface markers have been identified that allow us to enrich and prospectively follow tumor stem cell populations, to this day there is no combination of markers that allows us to find these populations in all tumors, and it is yet unclear if all tumors present them. In this regard, it is necessary to develop new purification strategies based on the gene expression profiles of these cells, so that tumor heterogeneity is taken into account, as it is evident that a tumor can include multiple clones of CSCs that, in spite of being functional, are genetically different, and that these clones can vary throughout space (occupying different microenvironments and niches) and time (during the progression of a range of tumor stages). Such strategies, in addition to new in vitro and in vivo assays, will allow the development of new and improved CSC elimination strategies. This will certainly have an impact on the development of more efficient therapeutic alternatives.

Invasion and Metastasis

Nearly 90% of the mortality associated with cancer is related to metastasis. 54 This consists of a cascade of events ( Figure 2 ) that begins with the local invasion of a tumor into surrounding tissues, followed by intravasation of tumor cells into the blood stream or lymphatic circulation. Extravasation of neoplastic cells in areas distant from the primary tumor then leads to the formation of one or more micrometastatic lesions which subsequently proliferate to form clinically detectable lesions. 4 The cells that are able to produce metastasis must acquire migratory characteristics, which occur by a process known as epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), that is, the partial loss of epithelial characteristics and the acquirement of mesenchymal traits. 55

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Invasion and metastasis cascade. Invasion and metastasis can occur early or late during tumor progression. In either case, invasion to adjacent tissues is driven by stem-like cells (cancer stem cells) that acquire the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) (1). Once they reach sites adjacent to blood vessels, tumor cells (individually or in clusters) enter the blood (2). Tumor cells in circulation can adhere to endothelium and extravasation takes place (3). Other mechanisms alternative to extravasation can exist, such as angiopelosis, in which clusters of tumor cells are internalized by the endothelium. Furthermore, at certain sites, tumor cells can obstruct microvasculature and initiate a metastatic lesion right there. Sometimes, a tumor cells that has just exit circulation goes into an MET in order to become quiescent (4). Inflammatory signals can activate quiescent metastatic cells that will proliferate and generate a clinically detectable lesion (5).

Although several of the factors involved in this process are currently known, many issues are still unsolved. For instance, it has not yet been possible to monitor in vivo the specific moment when it occurs 54 ; the microenvironmental factors of the primary tumor that promote such a transition are not known with precision; and the exact moment during tumor evolution in which one cell or a cluster of cells begin to migrate to distant areas, is also unknown. The wide range of possibilities offered by intra- and inter-tumoral heterogeneity 56 stands in the way of suggesting a generalized strategy that could resolve this complication.

It was previously believed that metastasis was only produced in late stages of tumor progression; however, recent studies indicate that EMT and metastasis can occur during the early course of the disease. In pancreatic cancer, for example, cells going through EMT are able to colonize and form metastatic lesions in the liver in the first stages of the disease. 52 , 57 Metastatic cell clusters circulating in peripheral blood (PB) are prone to generate a metastatic site, compared to individual tumor cells. 58 , 59 In this regard, novel strategies, such as the use of micro-RNAs, are being assessed in order to diminish induction of EMT. 60 It must be mentioned, however, that the metastatic process seems to be even more complex, with alternative pathways that do not involve EMT. 61 , 62

A crucial stage in the process of metastasis is the intravasation of tumor cells (alone or in clusters) towards the blood stream and/or lymphatic circulation. 63 These mechanisms are also under intensive research because blocking them could allow the control of spreading of the primary tumor. In PB or lymphatic circulation, tumor cells travel to distant parts for the potential formation of a metastatic lesion. During their journey, these cells must stand the pressure of blood flow and escape interaction with natural killer (NK) cells . 64 To avoid them, tumor cells often cover themselves with thrombocytes and also produce factors such as VEGF, angiopoietin-2, angiopoietin-4, and CCL2 that are involved in the induction of vascular permeability. 54 , 65 Neutrophils also contribute to lung metastasis in the bloodstream by secreting IL-1β and metalloproteases to facilitate extravasation of tumor cells. 64

The next step in the process of metastasis is extravasation, for which tumor cells, alone or in clusters, can use various mechanisms, including a recently described process known as angiopellosis that involves restructuring the endothelial barrier to internalize one or several cells into a tissue. 66 The study of leukocyte extravasation has contributed to a more detailed knowledge of this process, in such a way that some of the proposed strategies to avoid extravasation include the use of integrin inhibitors, molecules that are vital for rolling, adhesion, and extravasation of tumor cells. 67 , 68 Another strategy that has therapeutic potential is the use of antibodies that strengthen vascular integrity to obstruct transendothelial migration of tumor cells and aid in their destruction in PB. 69

Following extravasation, tumor cells can return to an epithelial phenotype, a process known as mesenchymal–epithelial transition and may remain inactive for several years. They do this by competing for specialized niches, like those in the bone marrow, brain, and intestinal mucosa, which provide signals through the Notch and Wnt pathways. 70 Through the action of the Wnt pathway, tumor cells enter a slow state of the cell cycle and induce the expression of molecules that inhibit the cytotoxic function of NK cells. 71 The extravasated tumor cell that is in a quiescent state must comply with 2 traits typical of stem cells: they must have the capacity to self-renew and to generate all of the cells that form the secondary tumor.

There are still several questions regarding the metastatic process. One of the persisting debates at present is if EMT is essential for metastasis or if it plays a more important role in chemoresistance. 61 , 62 It is equally important to know if there is a pattern in each tumor for the production of cells with the capacity to carry out EMT. In order to control metastasis, it is fundamental to know what triggers acquisition of the migratory phenotype and the intrinsic factors determining this transition. Furthermore, it is essential to know if mutations associated with the primary tumor or the variety of epigenetic changes are involved in this process. 55 It is clear that metastatic cells have affinity for certain tissues, depending on the nature of the primary tumor (seed and soil hypothesis). This may be caused by factors such as the location and the direction of the bloodstream or lymphatic fluid, but also by conditioning of premetastatic niches at a distance (due to the large number of soluble factors secreted by the tumor and the recruitment of cells of the immune system to those sites). 72 We have yet to identify and characterize all of the elements that participate in this process. Deciphering them will be of upmost importance from a therapeutic point of view.

Epidemiology of Cancer

Cancer is the second cause of death worldwide; today one of every 6 deaths is due to a type of cancer. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in 2020 there were approximately 19.3 million new cases of cancer, and 10 million deaths by this disease, 6 while 23.8 million cases and 13.0 million deaths are projected to occur by 2030. 73 In this regard, it is clear the increasing role that environmental factors—including environmental pollutants and processed food—play as cancer inducers and promoters. 74 The types of cancer that produce the greatest numbers of cases and deaths worldwide are indicated in Table 1 . 6

Total Numbers of Cancer Cases and Deaths Worldwide in 2020 by Cancer Type (According to the Global Cancer Observatory, IARC).

Data presented on this table were obtained from Ref. 6.

As shown in Figure 3 , lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer are the most common throughout the world, and they are mostly concentrated in countries of high to very high human development index (HDI). Although breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer have a high incidence, the number of deaths they cause is proportionally low, mostly reflecting the great progress made in their control. However, these data also reveal the types of cancer that require further effort in prevention, precise early detection avoiding overdiagnosis, and efficient treatment. This is the case of liver, lung, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer, where the difference between the number of cases and deaths is smaller ( Figure 3B ). Social and economic transition in several countries has had an impact on reducing the incidence of neoplasms associated with infection and simultaneously produced an increase in the types related to reproductive, dietary, and hormonal factors. 75

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Incidence and mortality for some types of cancer in the world. (A) Estimated number of cases and deaths in 2020 for the most frequent cancer types worldwide. (B) Incidence and mortality rates, normalized according to age, for the most frequent cancer types in countries with very high/& high (VH&H; blue) and/low and middle (L&M; red) Human Development Index (HDI). Data include both genders and all ages. Data according to https://gco.iarc.fr/today , as of June 10, 2021.

In the past 3 decades, cancer mortality rates have fallen in high HDI countries, with the exception of pancreatic cancer, and lung cancer in women. Nevertheless, changes in the incidence of cancer do not show the same consistency, possibly due to variables such as the possibility of early detection, exposure to risk factors, or genetic predisposition. 76 , 77 Countries such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom have reported a reduction in incidence and mortality in cancer of the stomach, colon, lung, and ovary, as well as an increase in survival. 78 Changes in modifiable risk factors, such as the use of tobacco, have played an important role in prevention. In this respect, it has been estimated that decline in tobacco use can explain between 35% and 45% of the reduction in cancer mortality rates, 79 while the fall in incidence and mortality due to stomach cancer can be attributed partly to the control of Helicobacter pylori infection. 80 Another key factor in the fall of mortality rates in developed countries has been an increase in early detection as a result of screening programs, as in breast and prostate cancer, which have had their mortality rates decreased dramatically in spite of an increase in their incidence. 76

Another important improvement observed in recent decades is the increase in survival rates, particularly in high HDI countries. In the USA, for example, survival rates for patients with prostate cancer at 5 years after initial diagnosis was 28% during 1947–1951; 69% during 1975–1977, and 100% during 2003–2009. Something similar occurred with breast cancer, with a 5-year survival rate of 54% in 1947–1951, 75% in 1975–1977, and 90% in 2003–2009. 81 In the CONCORD 3 version, age-standardize 5-year survival for patients with breast cancer in the USA during 2010–2014 was 90%, and 97% for prostate cancer patients. 82 Importantly, even among high HDI countries, significant differences have been identified in survival rates, being stage of disease at diagnosis, time for access to effective treatment, and comorbidities, the main factors influencing survival in these nations. 78 Unfortunately, survival rates in low HDI countries are significantly lower due to several factors, including lack of information, deficient screening and early detection programs, limited access to treatment, and suboptimal cancer registration. 82 It should be noted that in countries with low to middle HDI, neoplasms with the greatest incidence are those affecting women (breast and cervical cancer), which reflects not only a problem with access to health services, but also a serious inequality issue that involves social, cultural, and even religious obstacles. 83

Up to 42% of incident cases and 47% of deaths by cancer in the USA are due to potentially modifiable risk factors such as use of tobacco, physical activity, diet, and infection. 84 It has been calculated that 2.4 million deaths by cancer, mostly of the lung, can be attributed to tobacco. 73 In 2020, the incidence rate of lung cancer in Western Africa was 2.2, whereas in Polynesia and Eastern Asia was 37.3 and 34.4, respectively. 6 In contrast, the global burden of cancer associated with infection was 15.4%, but in Sub-Saharan Africa it was 30%. 85 Likewise, the incidence of cervical cancer in Eastern Africa was 40.1, in contrast with the USA and Canada that have a rate of 6.2. This makes it clear that one of the challenges we face is the reduction of the risk factors that are potentially modifiable and associated with specific types of cancer.

Improvement of survival rates and its disparities worldwide are also important challenges. Five-year survival for breast cancer—diagnosed during 2010-2014— in the USA, for example, was 90%, whereas in countries like South Africa it was 40%. 82 Childhood leukemia in the USA and several European countries shows a 5-year survival of 90%, while in Latin-American countries it is 50–76%. 86 Interestingly, there are neoplasms, such as pancreatic cancer, for which there has been no significant increase in survival, which remains low (5–15%) both in developed and developing countries. 82

Although data reported on global incidence and mortality gives a general overview on the epidemiology of cancer, it is important to note that there are great differences in coverage of cancer registries worldwide. To date, only 1 out of every 3 countries reports high quality data on the incidence of cancer. 87 For the past 50 years, the IARC has supported population-based cancer registries; however, more than one-third of the countries belonging to the WHO, mainly countries of low and middle income (LMIC), have no data on more than half of the 18 indicators of sustainable development goals. 88 High quality cancer registries only cover 4% of the population in Africa, 8% in Asia, and 7% in Latin America, contrasting with 83% in the USA and Canada, and 33% in Europe. 89 In response to this situation, the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development was created in 2012 to generate improved infrastructure to permit greater coverage and better quality registries, especially in countries with low and middle HDI. 88 It is expected that initiatives of this sort in the coming years will allow more and better information to guide strategies for the control of cancer worldwide, especially in developing regions. This will enable survival to be measured over longer periods of time (10, 15, or 20 years), as an effective measure in the control of cancer. The WHO has established as a target for 2025 to reduce deaths by cancer and other non-transmissible diseases by 25% in the population between the ages of 30–69; such an effort requires not only effective prevention measures to reduce incidence, but also more efficient health systems to diminish mortality and increase survival. At the moment, it is an even greater challenge because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which has negatively impacted cancer prevention and health services. 90

Oncologic Treatments

A general perspective.

At the beginning of the 20th century, cancer treatment, specifically treatment of solid tumors, was based fundamentally on surgical resection of tumors, which together with other methods for local control, such as cauterization, had been used since ancient times. 91 At that time, there was an ongoing burst of clinical observations along with interventions sustained on fundamental knowledge about physics, chemistry, and biology. In the final years of the 19 th century and the first half of the 20th, these technological developments gave rise to radiotherapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. 92 - 94 Simultaneously, immunotherapy was also developed, although usually on a smaller scale, in light of the overwhelming progress of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 95

Thus began the development and expansion of disciplines based on these approaches (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy), with their application evolving ever more rapidly up to their current uses. Today, there is a wide range of therapeutic tools for the care of cancer patients. These include elements that emerged empirically, arising from observations of their effects in various medical fields, as well as drugs that were designed to block processes and pathways that form part of the physiopathology of one or more neoplasms according to knowledge of specific molecular alterations. A classic example of the first sort of tool is mustard gas, originally used as a weapon in war, 96 but when applied for medical purposes, marked the beginning of the use of chemicals in the treatment of malignant neoplasms, that is, chemotherapy. 94 A clear example of the second case is imatinib, designed specifically to selectively inhibit a molecular alteration in chronic myeloid leukemia: the Bcr-Abl oncoprotein. 97

It is on this foundation that today the 5 areas mentioned previously coexist and complement one another. The general framework that motivates this amalgam and guides its development is precision medicine, founded on the interaction of basic and clinical science. In the forecasts for development in each of these fields, surgery is expected to continue to be the fundamental approach for primary tumors in the foreseeable future, as well as when neoplastic disease in the patient is limited, or can be limited by applying systemic or regional elements, before and/or after surgical resection, and it can be reasonably anticipated for the patient to have a significant period free from disease or even to be cured. With regards to technology, intensive exploration of robotic surgery is contemplated. 98

The technological possibilities for radiotherapy have progressed in such a way that it is now possible to radiate neoplastic tissue with an extraordinary level of precision, and therefore avoid damage to healthy tissue. 99 This allows administration of large doses of ionizing radiation in one or a few fractions, what is known as “radiosurgery.” The greatest challenges to the efficacy of this approach are related to radio-resistance in certain neoplasms. Most efforts regarding research in this field are concentrated on understanding the underlying biological mechanisms of the phenomenon and their potential control through radiosensitizers. 100

“Traditional” chemotherapy, based on the use of compounds obtained from plants and other natural products, acting in a non-specific manner on both neoplastic and healthy tissues with a high proliferation rate, continues to prevail. 101 The family of chemotherapeutic drugs currently includes alkylating agents, antimetabolites, anti-topoisomerase agents, and anti-microtubules. Within the pharmacologic perspective, the objective is to attain a high concentration or activity of such molecules in specific tissues while avoiding their accumulation in others, in order to achieve an increase in effectiveness and a reduction in toxicity. This has been possible with the use of viral vectors, for example, that are able to limit their replication in neoplastic tissues, and activate prodrugs of normally nonspecific agents, like cyclophosphamide, exclusively in those specific areas. 102 More broadly, chemotherapy also includes a subgroup of substances, known as molecular targeted therapy, that affect processes in a more direct and specific manner, which will be mentioned later.

There is no doubt that immunotherapy—to be explored next—is one of the therapeutic fields where development has been greatest in recent decades and one that has produced enormous expectation in cancer treatment. 103 Likewise, cell therapy, based on the use of immune cells or stem cells, has come to complement the oncologic therapeutic arsenal. 43 Each and every one of the therapeutic fields that have arisen in oncology to this day continue to prevail and evolve. Interestingly, the foreseeable future for the development of cancer treatment contemplates these approaches in a joint and complementary manner, within the general framework of precision medicine, 104 and sustained by knowledge of the biological mechanisms involved in the appearance and progression of neoplasms. 105 , 106

Immunotherapy

Stimulating the immune system to treat cancer patients has been a historical objective in the field of oncology. Since the early work of William Coley 107 to the achievements reached at the end of the 20 th century, scientific findings and technological developments paved the way to searching for new immunotherapeutic strategies. Recombinant DNA technology allowed the synthesis of cytokines, such as interferon-alpha (IFN-α) and interleukin 2 (IL-2), which were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hairy cell leukemia in 1986, 108 as well as kidney cancer and metastatic melanoma in 1992 and 1998, respectively. 109

The first therapeutic vaccine against cancer, based on the use of autologous dendritic cells (DCs), was approved by the FDA against prostate cancer in 2010. However, progress in the field of immunotherapy against cancer was stalled in the first decade of the present century, mostly due to failure of several vaccines in clinical trials. In many cases, application of these vaccines was detained by the complexity and cost involved in their production. Nevertheless, with the coming of the concept of immune checkpoint control, and the demonstration of the relevance of molecules such as cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4), and programmed cell death molecule-1 (PD-1), immunotherapy against cancer recovered its global relevance. In 2011, the monoclonal antibody (mAb) ipilimumab, specific to the CTLA-4 molecule, was the first checkpoint inhibitor (CPI) approved for the treatment of advanced melanoma. 110 Later, inhibitory mAbs for PD-1, or for the PD-1 ligand (PD-L1), 111 as well as the production of T cells with chimeric receptors for antigen recognition (CAR-T), 112 which have been approved to treat various types of cancer, including melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), head and neck cancer, bladder cancer, renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and hepatocellular carcinoma, among others, have changed the paradigm of cancer treatment.

In spite of the current use of anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-L1 mAbs, only a subgroup of patients has responded favorably to these CPIs, and the number of patients achieving clinical benefit is still small. It has been estimated that more than 70% of patients with solid tumors do not respond to CPI immunotherapy because either they show primary resistance, or after responding favorably, develop resistance to treatment. 113 In this regard, it is important to mention that in recent years very important steps have been taken to identify the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that mediate resistance to CPI immunotherapy. 114 Intrinsic mechanisms include changes in the antitumor immune response pathways, such as faulty processing and presentation of antigens by APCs, activation of T cells for tumor cell destruction, and changes in tumor cells that lead to an immunosuppressive TME. Extrinsic factors include the presence of immunosuppressive cells in the local TME, such as regulatory T cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs), and type 2 macrophages (M2), in addition to immunosuppressive cytokines.

On the other hand, classification of solid tumors as “hot,” “cold,” or “excluded,” depending on T cell infiltrates and the contact of such infiltrates with tumor cells, as well as those that present high tumor mutation burden (TMB), have redirected immunotherapy towards 3 main strategies 115 ( Table 2 ): (1) Making T-cell antitumor response more effective, using checkpoint inhibitors complementary to anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-L1, such as LAG3, Tim-3, and TIGT, as well as using CAR-T cells against tumor antigens. (2) Activating tumor-associated myeloid cells including monocytes, granulocytes, macrophages, and DC lineages, found at several frequencies within human solid tumors. (3) Regulating the biochemical pathways in TME that produce high concentrations of immunosuppressive molecules, such as kynurenine, a product of tryptophan metabolism, through the activity of indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase; or adenosine, a product of ATP hydrolysis by the activity of the enzyme 5’nucleotidase (CD73). 116

Current Strategies to Stimulate the Immune Response for Antitumor Immunotherapy.

Abbreviations: TME, tumor microenvironment; IL, interleukin; TNF, Tumor Necrosis Factor; TNFR, TNF-receptor; CD137, receptor–co-stimulator of the TNFR family; OX40, member number 4 of the TNFR superfamily; CD27/CD70, member of the TNFR superfamily; CD40/CD40L, antigen-presenting cells (APC) co-stimulator and its ligand; GM-CSF, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor; IFN, interferon; STING, IFN genes-stimulator; RIG-I, retinoic acid inducible gene-I; MDA5, melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5; CDN, cyclic dinucleotide; ATP, adenosine triphosphate; HMGB1, high mobility group B1 protein; TLR, Toll-like receptor; HVEM, Herpes virus entry mediator; GITR, glucocorticoid-induced TNFR family-related gene; CTLA4, cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4; PD-L1, programmed death ligand-1; TIGIT, T-cell immunoreceptor with immunoglobulin and tyrosine-based inhibition motives; CSF1/CSF1R, colony-stimulating factor-1 and its receptor; CCR2, Type 2 chemokine receptor; PI3Kγ, Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase γ; CXCL/CCL, chemokine ligands; LFA1, lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1; ICAM1, intercellular adhesion molecule 1; VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor; IDO, indolamine 2,3-dioxigenase; TGF, transforming growth factor; LAG-3, lymphocyte-activation gene 3 protein; TIM-3, T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin-domain containing-3; CD73, 5´nucleotidase; ARs, adenosine receptors; Selectins, cell adhesion molecules; CAR-T, chimeric antigen receptor T cell; TCR-T, T-cell receptor engineered T cell.

Apart from the problems associated with its efficacy (only a small group of patients respond to it), immunotherapy faces several challenges related to its safety. In other words, immunotherapy can induce adverse events in patients, such as autoimmunity, where healthy tissues are attacked, or cytokine release syndrome and vascular leak syndrome, as observed with the use of IL-2, both of which lead to serious hypotension, fever, renal failure, and other adverse events that are potentially lethal. The main challenges to be faced by immunotherapy in the future will require the combined efforts of basic and clinical scientists, with the objective of accelerating the understanding of the complex interactions between cancer and the immune system, and improve treatment options for patients. Better comprehension of immune phenotypes in tumors, beyond the state of PD-L1 and TME, will be relevant to increase immunotherapy efficacy. In this context, the identification of precise tumor antigenicity biomarkers by means of new technologies, such as complete genome sequencing, single cell sequencing, and epigenetic analysis to identify sites or subclones typical in drug resistance, as well as activation, traffic and infiltration of effector cells of the immune response, and regulation of TME mechanisms, may help define patient populations that are good candidates for specific therapies and therapeutic combinations. 117 , 118 Likewise, the use of agents that can induce specific activation and modulation of the response of T cells in tumor tissue, will help improve efficacy and safety profiles that can lead to better clinical results.

Molecular Targeted Therapy

For over 30 years, and based on the progress in our knowledge of tumor biology and its mechanisms, there has been a search for therapeutic alternatives that would allow spread and growth of tumors to be slowed down by blocking specific molecules. This approach is known as molecular targeted therapy. 119 Among the elements generally used as molecular targets there are transcription factors, cytokines, membrane receptors, molecules involved in a variety of signaling pathways, apoptosis modulators, promoters of angiogenesis, and cell cycle regulators. 120

Imatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia, became the first targeted therapy in the final years of the 1990s. 97 From then on, new drugs have been developed by design, and today more than 60 targeted therapies have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of a variety of cancers ( Table 3 ). 121 This has had a significant impact on progression-free survival and global survival in neoplasms such as non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, renal cancer, and melanoma.

FDA Approved Molecular Targeted Therapies for the Treatment of Solid Tumors.

Abbreviations: mAb, monoclonal antibody; ALK, anaplastic lymphoma kinase; CDK, cyclin-dependent kinase; CTLA-4, cytotoxic lymphocyte antigen-4; EGFR, epidermal growth factor receptor; FGFR, fibroblast growth factor receptor; GIST, gastrointestinal stroma tumor; mTOR, target of rapamycine in mammal cells; NSCLC, non-small cell lung carcinoma; PARP, poli (ADP-ribose) polimerase; PD-1, programmed death protein-1; PDGFR, platelet-derived growth factor receptor; PD-L1, programmed death ligand-1; ER, estrogen receptor; PR, progesterone receptor; TKR, tyrosine kinase receptors; SERM, selective estrogen receptor modulator; TKI, tyrosine kinase inhibitor; VEGFR, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor. Modified from Ref. [ 127 ].

Most drugs classified as targeted therapies form part of 2 large groups: small molecules and mAbs. The former are defined as compounds of low molecular weight (<900 Daltons) that act upon entering the cell. 120 Targets of these compounds are cell cycle regulatory proteins, proapoptotic proteins, or DNA repair proteins. These drugs are indicated based on histological diagnosis, as well as molecular tests. In this group there are multi-kinase inhibitors (RTKs) and tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), like sunitinib, sorafenib, and imatinib; cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors, such as palbociclib, ribociclib and abemaciclib; poli (ADP-ribose) polimerase inhibitors (PARPs), like olaparib and talazoparib; and selective small-molecule inhibitors, like ALK and ROS1. 122

As for mAbs, they are protein molecules that act on membrane receptors or extracellular proteins by interrupting the interaction between ligands and receptors, in such a way that they reduce cell replication and induce cytostasis. Among the most widely used mAbs in oncology we have: trastuzumab, a drug directed against the receptor for human epidermal growth factor-2 (HER2), which is overexpressed in a subgroup of patients with breast and gastric cancer; and bevacizumab, that blocks vascular endothelial growth factor and is used in patients with colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer. Other mAbs approved by the FDA include pembolizumab, atezolizumab, nivolumab, avelumab, ipilimumab, durvalumab, and cemiplimab. These drugs require expression of response biomarkers, such as PD-1 and PD-L1, and must also have several resistance biomarkers, such as the expression of EGFR, the loss of PTEN, and alterations in beta-catenin. 123

Because cancer is such a diverse disease, it is fundamental to have precise diagnostic methods that allow us to identify the most adequate therapy. Currently, basic immunohistochemistry is complemented with neoplastic molecular profiles to determine a more accurate diagnosis, and it is probable that in the near future cancer treatments will be based exclusively on molecular profiles. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that the use of targeted therapy depends on the existence of specific biomarkers that indicate if the patient will be susceptible to the effects of the drug or not. Thus, the importance of underlining that not all patients are susceptible to receive targeted therapy. In certain neoplasms, therapeutic targets are expressed in less than 5% of the diagnosed population, hindering a more extended use of certain drugs.

The identification of biomarkers and the use of new generation sequencing on tumor cells has shown predictive and prognostic relevance. Likewise, mutation analysis has allowed monitoring of tumor clone evolution, providing information on changes in canonic gene sequences, such as TP53, GATA3, PIK3CA, AKT1, and ERBB2; infrequent somatic mutations developed after primary treatments, like SWI-SNF and JAK2-STAT3; or acquired drug resistance mutations such as ESR1. 124 The study of mutations is vital; in fact, many of them already have specific therapeutic indications, which have helped select adequate treatments. 125

There is no doubt that molecular targeted therapy is one of the main pillars of precision medicine. However, it faces significant problems that often hinder obtaining better results. Among these, there is intratumor heterogeneity and differences between the primary tumor and metastatic sites, as well as intrinsic and acquired resistance to these therapies, the mechanisms of which include the presence of heterogeneous subclones, DNA hypermethylation, histone acetylation, and interruption of mRNA degradation and translation processes. 126 Nonetheless, beyond the obstacles facing molecular targeted therapy from a biological and methodological point of view, in the real world, access to genomic testing and specific drugs continues to be an enormous limitation, in such a way that strategies must be designed in the future for precision medicine to be possible on a global scale.

Cell Therapy

Another improvement in cancer treatment is the use of cell therapy, that is, the use of specific cells as therapeutic agents. This clinical procedure has 2 modalities: the first consists of replacing and regenerating functional cells in a specific tissue by means of stem/progenitor cells of a certain kind, 43 while the second uses immune cells as effectors to eliminate malignant cells. 127

Regarding the first type, we must emphasize the development of cell therapy based on hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. 128 For over 50 years, hematopoietic cell transplants have been used to treat a variety of hematologic neoplasms (different forms of leukemia and lymphoma). Today, it is one of the most successful examples of cell therapy, including innovative modalities, such as haploidentical transplants, 129 as well as application of stem cells expanded ex vivo . 130 There are also therapies that have used immature cells that form part of the TME, such as MSCs. The replication potential and cytokine secretion capacity of these cells make them an excellent option for this type of treatment. 131 Neural stem cells can also be manipulated to produce and secrete apoptotic factors, and when these cells are incorporated into primary neural tumors, they cause a certain degree of regression. They can even be transfected with genes that encode for oncolytic enzymes capable of inducing regression of glioblastomas. 132

With respect to cell therapy using immune cells, several research groups have manipulated cells associated with tumors to make them effector cells and thus improve the efficacy and specificity of the antitumor treatment. PB leckocytes cultured in the presence of IL-2 to obtain activated lymphocytes, in combination with IL-2 administration, have been used in antitumor clinical protocols. Similarly, infiltrating lymphocytes from tumors with antitumor activity have been used and can be expanded ex vivo with IL-2. These lymphocyte populations have been used in immunomodulatory therapies in melanoma, and pancreatic and kidney tumors, producing a favorable response in treated patients. 133 NK cells and macrophages have also been used in immunotherapy, although with limited results. 134 , 135

One of the cell therapies with better projection today is the use of CAR-T cells. This strategy combines 2 forms of advanced therapy: cell therapy and gene therapy. It involves the extraction of T cells from the cancer patient, which are genetically modified in vitro to express cell surface receptors that will recognize antigens on the surface of tumor cells. The modified T cells are then reintroduced in the patient to aid in an exacerbated immune response that leads to eradication of the tumor cells ( Figure 4 ). Therapy with CAR-T cells has been used successfully in the treatment of some types of leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, producing complete responses in patients. 136

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Object name is 10.1177_10732748211038735-fig4.jpg

CAR-T cell therapy. (A) T lymphocytes obtained from cancer patients are genetically manipulated to produce CAR-T cells that recognize tumor cells in a very specific manner. (B) Interaction between CAR molecule and tumor antigen. CAR molecule is a receptor that results from the fusion between single-chain variable fragments (scFv) from a monoclonal antibody and one or more intracellular signaling domains from the T-cell receptor. CD3ζ, CD28 and 4-1BB correspond to signaling domains on the CAR molecule.

Undoubtedly, CAR-T cell therapy has been truly efficient in the treatment of various types of neoplasms. However, this therapeutic strategy can also have serious side effects, such as release of cytokines into the bloodstream, which can cause different symptoms, from high fever to multiorgan failure, and even neurotoxicity, leading to cerebral edema in many cases. 137 Adequate control of these side effects is an important medical challenge. Several research groups are trying to improve CAR-T cell therapy through various approaches, including production of CAR-T cells directed against a wider variety of tumor cell-specific antigens that are able to attack different types of tumors, and the identification of more efficient types of T lymphocytes. Furthermore, producing CAR-T cells from a single donor that may be used in the treatment of several patients would reduce the cost of this sort of personalized cell therapy. 136

Achieving wider use of cell therapy in oncologic diseases is an important challenge that requires solving various issues. 138 One is intratumor cell heterogeneity, including malignant subclones and the various components of the TME, which results in a wide profile of membrane protein expression that complicates finding an ideal tumor antigen that allows specific identification (and elimination) of malignant cells. Likewise, structural organization of the TME challenges the use of cell therapy, as administration of cell vehicles capable of recognizing malignant cells might not be able to infiltrate the tumor. This results from low expression of chemokines in tumors and the presence of a dense fibrotic matrix that compacts the inner tumor mass and avoids antitumor cells from infiltrating and finding malignant target cells.

Further Challenges in the 21st Century

Beyond the challenges regarding oncologic biomedical research, the 21 st century is facing important issues that must be solved as soon as possible if we truly wish to gain significant ground in our fight against cancer. Three of the most important have to do with prevention, early diagnosis, and access to oncologic medication and treatment.

Prevention and Early Diagnosis

Prevention is the most cost-effective strategy in the long term, both in low and high HDI nations. Data from countries like the USA indicate that between 40-50% of all types of cancer are preventable through potentially modifiable factors (primary prevention), such as use of tobacco and alcohol, diet, physical activity, exposure to ionizing radiation, as well as prevention of infection through access to vaccination, and by reducing exposure to environmental pollutants, such as pesticides, diesel exhaust particles, solvents, etc. 74 , 84 Screening, on the other hand, has shown great effectiveness as secondary prevention. Once population-based screening programs are implemented, there is generally an initial increase in incidence; however, in the long term, a significant reduction occurs not only in incidence rates, but also in mortality rates due to detection of early lesions and timely and adequate treatment.

A good example is colon cancer. There are several options for colon cancer screening, such as detection of fecal occult blood, fecal immunohistochemistry, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy, 139 , 140 which identify precursor lesions (polyp adenomas) and allow their removal. Such screening has allowed us to observe 3 patterns of incidence and mortality for colon cancer between the years 2000 and 2010: on one hand, an increase in incidence and mortality in countries with low to middle HDI, mainly countries in Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe; on the other hand, an increase in incidence and a fall in mortality in countries with very high HDI, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Singapore; and finally a fall in incidence and mortality in countries like the USA, Japan, and France. The situation in South America and Asia seems to reflect limitations in medical infrastructure and a lack of access to early detection, 141 while the patterns observed in developed countries reveal the success, even if it may be partial, of that which can be achieved by well-structured prevention programs.

Another example of success, but also of strong contrast, is cervical cancer. The discovery of the human papilloma virus (HPV) as the causal agent of cervical cancer brought about the development of vaccines and tests to detect oncogenic genotypes, which modified screening recommendations and guidelines, and allowed several developed countries to include the HPV vaccine in their national vaccination programs. Nevertheless, the outlook is quite different in other areas of the world. Eighty percent of the deaths by cervical cancer reported in 2018 occurred in low-income nations. This reveals the urgency of guaranteeing access to primary and secondary prevention (vaccination and screening, respectively) in these countries, or else it will continue to be a serious public health problem in spite of its preventability.

Screening programs for other neoplasms, such as breast, prostate, lung, and thyroid cancer have shown outlooks that differ from those just described, because, among other reasons, these neoplasms are highly diverse both biologically and clinically. Another relevant issue is the overdiagnosis of these neoplasms, that is, the diagnosis of disease that would not cause symptoms or death in the patient. 142 It has been calculated that 25% of breast cancer (determined by mammogram), 50–60% of prostate cancer (determined by PSA), and 13–25% of lung cancer (determined by CT) are overdiagnosed. 142 Thus, it is necessary to improve the sensitivity and specificity of screening tests. In this respect, knowledge provided by the biology of cancer and “omic” sciences offers a great opportunity to improve screening and prevention strategies. All of the above shows that prevention and early diagnosis are the foundations in the fight against cancer, and it is essential to continue to implement broader screening programs and better detection methods.

Global Equity in Oncologic Treatment

Progress in cancer treatment has considerably increased the number of cancer survivors. Nevertheless, this tendency is evident only in countries with a very solid economy. Indeed, during the past 30 years, cancer mortality rates have increased 30% worldwide. 143 Global studies indicate that close to 70% of cancer deaths in the world occur in nations of low to middle income. But even in high-income countries, there are sectors of society that are more vulnerable and have less access to cancer treatments. 144 Cancer continues to be a disease of great social inequality.

In Europe, the differences in access to cancer treatment are highly marked. These treatments are more accessible in Western Europe than in its Eastern counterpart. 145 Furthermore, highly noticeable differences between high-income countries have been detected in the cost of cancer drugs. 146 It is interesting to note that in many of these cases, treatment is too costly and the clinical benefit only marginal. Thus, the importance of these problems being approached by competent national, regional, and global authorities, because if these new drugs and therapeutic programs are not accessible to the majority, progress in biomedical, clinical and epidemiological research will have a limited impact in our fight against cancer. We must not forget that health is a universal right, from which low HDI countries must not be excluded, nor vulnerable populations in nations with high HDI. The participation of a well-informed society will also be fundamental to achieve a global impact, as today we must fight not only against the disease, but also against movements and ideas (such as the anti-vaccine movement and the so-called miracle therapies) that can block the medical battle against cancer.

Final Comments

From the second half of the 20th century to the present day, progress in our knowledge about the origin and development of cancer has been extraordinary. We now understand cancer in detail in genomic, molecular, cellular, and physiological terms, and this knowledge has had a significant impact in the clinic. There is no doubt that a patient who is diagnosed today with a type of cancer has a better prospect than a patient diagnosed 20 or 50 years ago. However, we are still far from winning the war against cancer. The challenges are still numerous. For this reason, oncologic biomedical research must be a worldwide priority. Likewise, one of the fundamental challenges for the coming decades must be to reduce unequal access to health services in areas of low- to middle income, and in populations that are especially vulnerable, as well as continue improving prevention programs, including public health programs to reduce exposure to environmental chemicals and improve diet and physical activity in the general population. 74 , 84 Fostering research and incorporation of new technological resources, particularly in less privileged nations, will play a key role in our global fight against cancer.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Funding: The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Hector Mayani https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2483-3782

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179 Cancer Research Topics & Essay Examples

📝 cancer research papers examples, 💡 essay ideas on cancer, 👍 good cancer essay topics to write about, 🏆 best cancer essay titles, 🎓 simple research topics about cancer, ❓ cancer research questions.

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  • Oncology: Yeast and Cancer Cells The FTIR analysis reveals that crystals resulting from the MA-MAEC technique are GSH-based. GSH was isolated in yeast for the first time in 1929.
  • The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Inflammatory breast cancer is regarded as one of the most severe types of cancer and accounts for about 5% of all breast tumors.
  • The Rates of Lung and Bronchus Cancer Among Smoking Adults in the U.S. Health education can help individuals learn about the dangers of smoking. The lack of knowledge of tobacco smoking and its contribution to cancer development has increased infections.
  • Breast Cancer in Black American Women Black women experience a higher death rate from breast cancer than their white counterparts or any other ethnic group in the United States.
  • HPV Cancer Risks: PICOT Analysis Although there have been campaigns to enlighten people about HPV cancer risks, most parents are still reluctant to encourage their kids to get three-dose vaccination.
  • Epidemiology of Lung and Bronchus Cancer in the US The paper states that lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer for both sexes. The most common cancer types for the two groups are gender-specific.
  • Polymorphism-Mutations and Air Pollution as Risk Factors for Breast Cancer Women might face the disease of breast cancer due to such factors as the pollution of the environment and MTHFR gene polymorphism-mutations.
  • AIDS, Pneumonia, Sarcoma and Herpes in a Patient The patient developed Kaposi Sarcoma (KS), an unusual type of cancer, due to the gradual depletion of CD4 cells.
  • Management of Cancer Pain: Effectiveness of Pain Journal The cancer patients need to keep a pain journal, which is a self-assessment tool in which a person records his or her pain sensations and their management.
  • The Nursing Process in Cancer Treatment The current paper aims to discuss some aspects of cancer treatment, and how it can be performed using the five stages nursing process.
  • National Breast Cancer Coalition The National Breast Cancer Coalition (2021) is an organization that advocates for the needs of patients with breast cancer and promotes education and nurse-patient dialogue.
  • Analysis of the National Breast Cancer Coalition The National Breast Cancer Coalition has sought to improve the current policies regarding managing patients' health needs by revisiting the obstacles.
  • Identifying a Clinical Question Although clinical guidelines may describe the standard practice, they do not, by themselves, set a standard of care for a particular patient.
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Colorectal Cancer Implementation of evidence-based methods in the treatment of colorectal cancer is an effective strategy for minimizing the risks of medical errors.
  • Clinical Practice Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer Screening Clinical practice guidelines for colorectal cancer screening gives clinicians a more comprehensive range of tests to choose from when treating colorectal cancer.
  • The Study of Cancer: Colorectal Cancer The paper presents the study of such a type of cancer as colorectal cancer. The probability of suffering from colorectal cancer is about 4%–5%.
  • Colorectal Cancer: Evidence-Based Practice Intervention The proposed intervention aims to raise public awareness regarding the importance of colorectal screening, especially among older adults.
  • Radiation, Inflammation, and Immune Responses in Cancer
  • Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Syndromes and Genetic Testing
  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s Non-Profit Management Breast Cancer Research Foundation is among the leading charities in the US specializing in conducting research for developing a potential drug for curing cancerous disease.
  • Factors Determining Colorectal Cancer: The Role of the Intestinal Microbiota
  • Alternative Medicines for Various Forms of Cancer
  • Human Papillomaviruses and Polyomaviruses in Skin Cancer
  • Preventing Cervical Cancer With the HPV Vaccination
  • Medical Treatments for Patients With Advanced Prostate Cancer
  • Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and His Discovery of Cancer Treatment
  • Reducing Tobacco Use by Adults People have a responsibility of taking care of their health. However, to accomplish this noble task, which can help in the creation of a healthier nation.
  • Effective Pain Relief Options for Cancer Patients
  • Mobile Genetic Elements in Cellular Differentiation, Genome Stability, and Cancer
  • The Androgen Receptor in Breast Cancer
  • Epigenetic Alteration and MicroRNA Dysregulation in Cancer
  • Healthcare Policy Alternatives in the United States The paper aims at reviewing the healthcare policy in the USA, its scope, and the policy alternatives and political debate surrounding the policies.
  • The Evolving Landscape of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for the Management of Prostate Cancer
  • Ethnicity, Immigration, and Cancer Screening: Evidence for Canadian Women
  • Influential Information People Should Know About Cancer
  • Enhancing the Therapeutic Efficacy of Cancer Treatment With Cannabinoids
  • Ras, Cellular Plasticity, and Tumor Budding in Colorectal Cancer
  • 2000 Treatment Program for Cervical and Breast Cancer Prevention
  • Immunosignature Screening for Multiple Cancer Subtypes Based on Expression Rule
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress, Genome Damage, and Cancer
  • Marijuana Legalization in the US: Pros and Cons Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, or flowers of the hemp plant. THC delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is its active chemical.
  • Epigenetic Reprogramming and Cancer Development
  • Redox and Metabolic Circuits in Cancer
  • Metastatic Breast Cancer Heterogeneous Disease Biology
  • Immunogenicity and Immune Silence in Human Cancer
  • Immune Checkpoint Molecules and Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Neovascularization, Angiogenesis and Vasculogenic Mimicry in Cancer
  • Fat Cells and Its Contribution to the Growth of Ovarian Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer and Gene Mutations
  • Grief Response of Patients Diagnosed With Cancer The beginning of anticipatory grief begins when as children, we realize that we will all die or lose a loved one at some point in life. This should prepare us for the loss.
  • Using Cancer Omics To Understand Cancer
  • The Relationship Between Cancer Predisposition and Primary Immunodeficiency
  • Emerging Diagnostic and Therapeutic Approaches for Gastric Cancer
  • Mechanisms and Insights Into Drug Resistance in Cancer
  • Psychological Adaptation in Male Partners of Gay Men With Prostate Cancer This proposal for a dissertation aimed at exploring the link between biological and psychosocial disorders leading to the psychological adaptation of male partners of gay patients.
  • Non-Genomic Actions of Thyroid Hormones in Cancer
  • African American Women and Breast Cancer
  • Systems Biology and the Challenge of Deciphering the Metabolic Mechanisms Underlying Cancer
  • Functions the Bladder Cancer and Effect Smoking Has Biology
  • HEADstrong Foundation’s Management Analysis The current project analyzes the HEADstrong Foundation – a non-profit organization that helps cancer patients in Philadelphia.
  • Environmental Factors That Cause Cancer in Young Children
  • Genetic Mutations May Explain a Brain Cancer’s Tenacity
  • Air Pollution and Its Effects on Cancer Risks
  • Altered Iron Metabolism and Impact in Cancer Biology, Metastasis, and Immunology
  • What Is the Importance of Wearing Sunglasses for Skin Cancer?
  • Prostate Cancer: What We Know and What We Would Like To Know?
  • Does the Immune System Naturally Protect Against Cancer?
  • How Has Cancer Caused Much Misery Throughout History?
  • Why Does Asbestos Cancer Affect More Men?
  • What Are the Risk Factors and Therapeutic Targets in Pancreatic Cancer?
  • Why Women Generally Get Breast Cancer Rather Than Other Cancers?
  • Does Eating Broccoli Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer?
  • Why Lung Cancer Hits Women Harder?
  • Does Depression Cause Cancer?
  • Why Can Radiation, Which Is Known To Induce Cancer?
  • Does Smoking Cause Lung Cancer?
  • Does Cellular Phone Use Contribute to Cancer Formation?
  • What Is the Relationship Between Genetics and Prostate Cancer?
  • Does Detecting Breast Cancer With Mris Increase the Rate of Mastectomies?
  • Why Are Antibiotics for Cancer Treatment?
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  • Can Asprin Help Reduce the Risk of Lung Cancer?
  • How Cancer Forms and Spread in the Human Body?
  • Links Between Autoimmunity and Cancer?
  • Why Does Kidney Cancer Affect Men About Twice as Often as Women?
  • How Carcinogens Cause Cancer?
  • Is Alternative Treatment of Liver Cancer Herbs Effective?
  • Should the Cervical Cancer Vaccine for Girls Be Compulsory?
  • Why is Bioinformatics and Proteomic Application Essential in the Diagnosis of Complex Disease Like Cancer?
  • How Can Nanomedicine Help Cure Cancer?
  • Does Diet Help to Prevent Colon Cancer?
  • Why Eating Fish Prevents Cancer?
  • Does Spirituality Reduce the Impact of Somatic Symptoms on Distress in Cancer Patients?
  • Why the Cancer Experts Support Gene Testing To Diagnose?

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What Is Cancer?

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Breast cancer cell dividing, as seen using microscope.

A dividing breast cancer cell.

The Definition of Cancer

Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. 

Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and multiply (through a process called cell division) to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

Sometimes this orderly process breaks down, and abnormal or damaged cells grow and multiply when they shouldn’t. These cells may form tumors, which are lumps of tissue. Tumors can be cancerous or not cancerous ( benign ). 

Cancerous tumors spread into, or invade, nearby tissues and can travel to distant places in the body to form new tumors (a process called metastasis ). Cancerous tumors may also be called malignant tumors. Many cancers form solid tumors, but cancers of the blood, such as leukemias , generally do not.

Benign tumors do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. When removed, benign tumors usually don’t grow back, whereas cancerous tumors sometimes do. Benign tumors can sometimes be quite large, however. Some can cause serious symptoms or be life threatening, such as benign tumors in the brain.

Differences between Cancer Cells and Normal Cells

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Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways. For instance, cancer cells:

  • grow in the absence of signals telling them to grow. Normal cells only grow when they receive such signals. 
  • ignore signals that normally tell cells to stop dividing or to die (a process known as programmed cell death , or apoptosis ).
  • invade into nearby areas and spread to other areas of the body. Normal cells stop growing when they encounter other cells, and most normal cells do not move around the body. 
  • tell blood vessels to grow toward tumors.  These blood vessels supply tumors with oxygen and nutrients and remove waste products from tumors.
  • hide from the immune system . The immune system normally eliminates damaged or abnormal cells. 
  • trick the immune system into helping cancer cells stay alive and grow. For instance, some cancer cells convince immune cells to protect the tumor instead of attacking it.
  • accumulate multiple changes in their chromosomes , such as duplications and deletions of chromosome parts. Some cancer cells have double the normal number of chromosomes.
  • rely on different kinds of nutrients than normal cells. In addition, some cancer cells make energy from nutrients in a different way than most normal cells. This lets cancer cells grow more quickly. 

Many times, cancer cells rely so heavily on these abnormal behaviors that they can’t survive without them. Researchers have taken advantage of this fact, developing therapies that target the abnormal features of cancer cells. For example, some cancer therapies prevent blood vessels from growing toward tumors , essentially starving the tumor of needed nutrients.  

How Does Cancer Develop?

essay topics about cancer

Cancer is caused by certain changes to genes, the basic physical units of inheritance. Genes are arranged in long strands of tightly packed DNA called chromosomes.

Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide.

Genetic changes that cause cancer can happen because:

  • of errors that occur as cells divide. 
  • of damage to DNA caused by harmful substances in the environment, such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke and ultraviolet rays from the sun. (Our Cancer Causes and Prevention section has more information.) 
  • they were inherited from our parents. 

The body normally eliminates cells with damaged DNA before they turn cancerous. But the body’s ability to do so goes down as we age. This is part of the reason why there is a higher risk of cancer later in life.

Each person’s cancer has a unique combination of genetic changes. As the cancer continues to grow, additional changes will occur. Even within the same tumor, different cells may have different genetic changes.

Fundamentals of Cancer

essay topics about cancer

Cancer is a disease caused when cells divide uncontrollably and spread into surrounding tissues.

essay topics about cancer

Cancer is caused by changes to DNA. Most cancer-causing DNA changes occur in sections of DNA called genes. These changes are also called genetic changes.

essay topics about cancer

A DNA change can cause genes involved in normal cell growth to become oncogenes. Unlike normal genes, oncogenes cannot be turned off, so they cause uncontrolled cell growth.

essay topics about cancer

 In normal cells, tumor suppressor genes prevent cancer by slowing or stopping cell growth. DNA changes that inactivate tumor suppressor genes can lead to uncontrolled cell growth and cancer.

essay topics about cancer

Within a tumor, cancer cells are surrounded by a variety of immune cells, fibroblasts, molecules, and blood vessels—what’s known as the tumor microenvironment. Cancer cells can change the microenvironment, which in turn can affect how cancer grows and spreads.

essay topics about cancer

Immune system cells can detect and attack cancer cells. But some cancer cells can avoid detection or thwart an attack. Some cancer treatments can help the immune system better detect and kill cancer cells.

essay topics about cancer

Each person’s cancer has a unique combination of genetic changes. Specific genetic changes may make a person’s cancer more or less likely to respond to certain treatments.

essay topics about cancer

Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited or arise from certain environmental exposures. Genetic changes can also happen because of errors that occur as cells divide.

essay topics about cancer

Most often, cancer-causing genetic changes accumulate slowly as a person ages, leading to a higher risk of cancer later in life.

essay topics about cancer

Cancer cells can break away from the original tumor and travel through the blood or lymph system to distant locations in the body, where they exit the vessels to form additional tumors. This is called metastasis.

Types of Genes that Cause Cancer

The genetic changes that contribute to cancer tend to affect three main types of genes— proto-oncogenes , tumor suppressor genes , and DNA repair genes. These changes are sometimes called “drivers” of cancer.

Proto-oncogenes are involved in normal cell growth and division. However, when these genes are altered in certain ways or are more active than normal, they may become cancer-causing genes (or oncogenes), allowing cells to grow and survive when they should not.

Tumor suppressor genes are also involved in controlling cell growth and division. Cells with certain alterations in tumor suppressor genes may divide in an uncontrolled manner.

DNA repair genes are involved in fixing damaged DNA. Cells with mutations in these genes tend to develop additional mutations in other genes and changes in their chromosomes, such as duplications and deletions of chromosome parts. Together, these mutations may cause the cells to become cancerous.

As scientists have learned more about the molecular changes that lead to cancer, they have found that certain mutations commonly occur in many types of cancer. Now there are many cancer treatments available that target gene mutations found in cancer . A few of these treatments can be used by anyone with a cancer that has the targeted mutation, no matter where the cancer started growing .

When Cancer Spreads

essay topics about cancer

In metastasis, cancer cells break away from where they first formed and form new tumors in other parts of the body. 

A cancer that has spread from the place where it first formed to another place in the body is called metastatic cancer. The process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body is called metastasis.

Metastatic cancer has the same name and the same type of cancer cells as the original, or primary, cancer. For example, breast cancer that forms a metastatic tumor in the lung is metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer.

Under a microscope, metastatic cancer cells generally look the same as cells of the original cancer. Moreover, metastatic cancer cells and cells of the original cancer usually have some molecular features in common, such as the presence of specific chromosome changes.

In some cases, treatment may help prolong the lives of people with metastatic cancer. In other cases, the primary goal of treatment for metastatic cancer is to control the growth of the cancer or to relieve symptoms it is causing. Metastatic tumors can cause severe damage to how the body functions, and most people who die of cancer die of metastatic disease.  

Tissue Changes that Are Not Cancer

Not every change in the body’s tissues is cancer. Some tissue changes may develop into cancer if they are not treated, however. Here are some examples of tissue changes that are not cancer but, in some cases, are monitored because they could become cancer:

  • Hyperplasia occurs when cells within a tissue multiply faster than normal and extra cells build up. However, the cells and the way the tissue is organized still look normal under a microscope. Hyperplasia can be caused by several factors or conditions, including chronic irritation.
  • Dysplasia is a more advanced condition than hyperplasia. In dysplasia, there is also a buildup of extra cells. But the cells look abnormal and there are changes in how the tissue is organized. In general, the more abnormal the cells and tissue look, the greater the chance that cancer will form. Some types of dysplasia may need to be monitored or treated, but others do not. An example of dysplasia is an abnormal mole (called a dysplastic nevus ) that forms on the skin. A dysplastic nevus can turn into melanoma, although most do not.
  • Carcinoma in situ  is an even more advanced condition. Although it is sometimes called stage 0 cancer, it is not cancer because the abnormal cells do not invade nearby tissue the way that cancer cells do. But because some carcinomas in situ may become cancer, they are usually treated.

essay topics about cancer

Normal cells may become cancer cells. Before cancer cells form in tissues of the body, the cells go through abnormal changes called hyperplasia and dysplasia. In hyperplasia, there is an increase in the number of cells in an organ or tissue that appear normal under a microscope. In dysplasia, the cells look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer. Hyperplasia and dysplasia may or may not become cancer.

Types of Cancer

There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and brain cancer starts in the brain. Cancers also may be described by the type of cell that formed them, such as an epithelial cell or a squamous cell .

You can search NCI’s website for information on specific types of cancer based on the cancer’s location in the body or by using our A to Z List of Cancers . We also have information on childhood cancers and cancers in adolescents and young adults .

Here are some categories of cancers that begin in specific types of cells:

Carcinomas are the most common type of cancer. They are formed by epithelial cells, which are the cells that cover the inside and outside surfaces of the body. There are many types of epithelial cells, which often have a column-like shape when viewed under a microscope.

Carcinomas that begin in different epithelial cell types have specific names:

Adenocarcinoma is a cancer that forms in epithelial cells that produce fluids or mucus. Tissues with this type of epithelial cell are sometimes called glandular tissues. Most cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate are adenocarcinomas.

Basal cell carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the lower or basal (base) layer of the epidermis, which is a person’s outer layer of skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma is a cancer that forms in squamous cells, which are epithelial cells that lie just beneath the outer surface of the skin. Squamous cells also line many other organs, including the stomach, intestines, lungs, bladder, and kidneys. Squamous cells look flat, like fish scales, when viewed under a microscope. Squamous cell carcinomas are sometimes called epidermoid carcinomas.

Transitional cell carcinoma is a cancer that forms in a type of epithelial tissue called transitional epithelium, or urothelium. This tissue, which is made up of many layers of epithelial cells that can get bigger and smaller, is found in the linings of the bladder, ureters, and part of the kidneys (renal pelvis), and a few other organs. Some cancers of the bladder, ureters, and kidneys are transitional cell carcinomas.

essay topics about cancer

Soft tissue sarcoma forms in soft tissues of the body, including muscle, tendons, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, and tissue around joints.

Sarcomas are cancers that form in bone and soft tissues, including muscle, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels , and fibrous tissue (such as tendons and ligaments).

Osteosarcoma is the most common cancer of bone. The most common types of soft tissue sarcoma are leiomyosarcoma , Kaposi sarcoma , malignant fibrous histiocytoma , liposarcoma , and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans .

Our page on soft tissue sarcoma has more information.

Cancers that begin in the blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow are called leukemias. These cancers do not form solid tumors. Instead, large numbers of abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells and leukemic blast cells) build up in the blood and bone marrow, crowding out normal blood cells. The low level of normal blood cells can make it harder for the body to get oxygen to its tissues, control bleeding, or fight infections.  

There are four common types of leukemia, which are grouped based on how quickly the disease gets worse (acute or chronic) and on the type of blood cell the cancer starts in (lymphoblastic or myeloid). Acute forms of leukemia grow quickly and chronic forms grow more slowly.

Our page on leukemia has more information.

Lymphoma is cancer that begins in lymphocytes (T cells or B cells). These are disease-fighting white blood cells that are part of the immune system. In lymphoma, abnormal lymphocytes build up in lymph nodes and lymph vessels, as well as in other organs of the body.

There are two main types of lymphoma:

Hodgkin lymphoma – People with this disease have abnormal lymphocytes that are called Reed-Sternberg cells. These cells usually form from B cells.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma – This is a large group of cancers that start in lymphocytes. The cancers can grow quickly or slowly and can form from B cells or T cells.

Our page on lymphoma has more information.

Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is cancer that begins in plasma cells , another type of immune cell. The abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, build up in the bone marrow and form tumors in bones all through the body. Multiple myeloma is also called plasma cell myeloma and Kahler disease.

Our page on multiple myeloma and other plasma cell neoplasms has more information.

Melanoma is cancer that begins in cells that become melanocytes, which are specialized cells that make melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color). Most melanomas form on the skin, but melanomas can also form in other pigmented tissues, such as the eye.

Our pages on skin cancer and intraocular melanoma have more information.

Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

There are different types of brain and spinal cord tumors. These tumors are named based on the type of cell in which they formed and where the tumor first formed in the central nervous system. For example, an astrocytic tumor begins in star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes , which help keep nerve cells healthy. Brain tumors can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

Our page on brain and spinal cord tumors has more information.

Other Types of Tumors

Germ cell tumors.

Germ cell tumors are a type of tumor that begins in the cells that give rise to sperm or eggs. These tumors can occur almost anywhere in the body and can be either benign or malignant.

Our page of cancers by body location/system includes a list of germ cell tumors with links to more information.

Neuroendocrine Tumors

Neuroendocrine tumors form from cells that release hormones into the blood in response to a signal from the nervous system. These tumors, which may make higher-than-normal amounts of hormones, can cause many different symptoms. Neuroendocrine tumors may be benign or malignant.

Our definition of neuroendocrine tumors has more information.

Carcinoid Tumors

Carcinoid tumors are a type of neuroendocrine tumor. They are slow-growing tumors that are usually found in the gastrointestinal system (most often in the rectum and small intestine). Carcinoid tumors may spread to the liver or other sites in the body, and they may secrete substances such as serotonin or prostaglandins, causing carcinoid syndrome .

Our page on gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors has more information.

Cancer Essay

essay topics about cancer

Cancer : Cancer And Cancer

Abstract In women, one of the most common cancers of course is breast cancer, in men prostate cancer and in men and women, lung cancer and colon cancer are common cancers. It is important to understand that the cancer that occurs in one individual is very different from the cancer that occurs in another. Everyone is different; a lung tumor in one person will be different from a lung tumor in another person. Once a diagnosis of cancer is made, the next obvious question is what do you do? There

Cancer Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases in 2012.2 The amount of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades. Cancer which causes nearly 1 in 6 deaths, is the second leading cause of death globally, and was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries. In 2012 about 14.1 million new cases of cancer occurred globally

Ovarian Cancer : Cancer And Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant or cancerous cells are found in the ovaries. The ovaries are two small organs that are located on each side of the uterus. The way cancer develops is when cells begin to grow out of control. Cancer cells are different from normal cells because they continue to grow and instead of dying, they create abnormal cells that form into a tumor. Woman around age 35-74, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death. The earlier this cancer is treated the

Breast Cancer : Cancer And Cancer

Breast Cancer Studies shows men are diagnosed with breast cancer contrary to the perception that this disease is solely diagnose in women. What is breast cancer in men? Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts from cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that may grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread metastasize to distance of the body (Article 1).Women Manly have breast cancer but men can get it also. Some people doesn’t realize that men have breast tissues

Cancer And Cancer : The Advantage Of Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is the broad name given to a collection of diseases characterized by abnormal cells that grow and invade healthy cells (“What is Cancer?”, 2015). The human body is made up of trillions of cells that grow, divide, and die on a regulated cycle. When errors occur and build up over time, the likelihood of cancer increases. This can result in cells that are old or damaged not dying as they should, and new cells growing when they are not needed. These

Effects Of Cancer On Cancer And Cancer

CANCER Cancer INTRODUCTION: key factual statistics • Cancer is the worlds leading mortality factor with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012 . • And this number is expected to increase by almost 70% over the next 20 years. • lung, prostate, colorectum, stomach, and liver cancer were the 5 most common cancers diagnosed with men ( researched by World Health Organisation in 2012 ). • While in women breast, colorectum, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer

Cancer And Cancer

I would refer a family friend or colleague to the American Cancer Society (ACS) website where a huge selection of support programs is offered throughout treatment and recovery (ACS, 2017c). There is an entire section dedicated to assisting with finding resources in whatever area someone is in or near and different programs from which to choose (ACS, 2017c). Visitors of the website can also filter their search based on an array of different choices ranging from, but not limited to, advocacy, assistance

Pancreatic Cancer : Cancer And Cancer

Pancreatic cancer occurs when build up of cancerous cells develop within the tissues of the pancreas. The build up of those cells can go on undetected for quite some time before pain or any symptoms show themselves. Also some of the pains can be mistaken for symptoms of some other less severe conditions. The pancreas is the organ that produces digestive juices and hormones that regulate blood sugar. Cells called exocrine pancreas cells produce the digestive juices, while cells called endocrine pancreas

manuscript was indicating how a particular gene is connected to how tumors/cancer are suppressed and how tumors/cancer also grow and multiply. When the codon is manipulated and mutated, the point in which the codon becomes altered, or the point in which the p53 gene is stimulated, forms reactions that may be harmful or can be non-threatening. The reaction that could be harmful could generate destruction to the gene and therefore form cancer. A non-threatening reaction may cause a reconstruction in the mutation

What I chose to research on my cancer project was breast cancer, since breast cancer is one of the second deadliest cancers among women I felt like I should research into this topic more in-depth. Anyone, no matter male or female, we are born with some breast cells and tissue. Even though males do not develop milk-producing breasts, a man 's breast cells and tissue can still develop cancer. Male breast cancer is very rare, yet more fatale because they are less likely to assume the lump is possibly

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  • National Cancer Awareness Day: Empowering Hope and Health

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Coveted as one of the most notorious diseases in the world, cancer has known to be one of the leading causes of death across the world. Cancer in any form is life-threatening and people often shy away from discussing it. However, cancer awareness can be of great benefit to the common people.

Long Essay on Cancer

In this long essay on cancer, we are providing you with cancer meaning, speech on cancer awareness. Go through this cancer essay to get a complete overview of this deadly disease.

In a recent study conducted in 2018, it was found that around 9.5 million people died that year owing to cancer. The World Health Organisation has revealed that cancer is the second leading cause of death across the world. The statistics in India are also no better and as per recent figures about 1300 people die every day owing to cancer of different types. Cancer types and causes have seen a steady increase in the past decade which does not bode well for the world population.

Meaning of Cancer

Before we proceed in this essay on cancer, we must understand cancer's meaning or what exactly is cancer? Cancer is the term given collectively to any and all forms of unregulated cell growth. Normally, the cells inside our body follow a definitive cycle from generation to death. However, in a person suffering from cancer, this cycle is unchecked and hence the cell cycle passes through the checkpoints unhinged and the cells continue to grow.

Types of Cancer

Now, that we have a preliminary understanding of the meaning of cancer, let us proceed to the cancer types or specifications. Cancer types are usually named after the area they affect in the body - usually like skin, lung, pancreas, blood, stomach among the others. However, if classified biologically, there are primarily five types of cancer. These include - leukemia, melanoma, carcinoma, sarcoma, and lymphoma.

Leukemia is the type of cancer that originates in the blood marrow and is a cancer of the blood. In this cancer type, no tumors are formed. Melanoma is regarded as one of the most dangerous types of cancer as in this, the skin coloring pigment or melanin becomes cancerous in nature. Carcinomas are cancers of the various types of glands or organs such as the breasts, stomach, lungs, pancreas, etc. Cancers of the connective tissues such as the bones, muscles, etc are classified as sarcomas. Lymphomas, on the other hand, are cancers of the white blood cells. Among the most diagnosed types of cancers are carcinomas.

Cancer Causes

In the present day living environment, a number of factors are liable to cause cancer. However, in many cases, one single factor cannot be attributed or held responsible for causing cancer in an individual. The substances that are known to be cancer-causing or increasing the risks of cancer are known as carcinogens. Carcinogens can range from anything from pollutants to tobacco to something as simple as processed meats.

The effect of carcinogens, however, on different individuals is different and it is also dependent on a number of factors, be it physical, lifestyle-choice, or biological. The physical factors enabling the effect of carcinogens include exposure to different environmental conditions such as UV rays, X-rays, etc. Cancer among mining workers because of their constant exposure to asbestos and fine silicone dust is common. Biological factors generally include hereditary factors, such as the passing of a mutated BRCA1 or 2 mutations from mother to daughter in case of breast cancer. In addition, they also include factors such as age, gender, blood type, etc. Lifestyle choice refers to habits such as smoking, drinking, radiation exposure, etc, which can act as triggers for carcinogens.

Cancer Treatment

In this segment of our essay on cancer, we will discuss the various types of cancer treatments involved and their applicability. The most commonly applied cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Often, these treatments are given in a combination of one with the other. Surgery is usually performed in the case of benign tumors usually followed by a short cycle of preventive chemotherapy. The treatment of chemotherapy includes a combination of drugs targeted to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy, on the other hand, makes use of radiations to kill cancerous cells. All these treatments are usually known to have side effects, so after-care for cancer survivors is also equally important.

The kind of treatment best suited for a patient is usually determined by the physician. The most important aspect of cancer treatment is early diagnosis and immediate medical intervention. The chances of surviving or beating cancer increase by a paramount value if diagnosed in the early stages.

Cancer Awareness

In India, and many other countries, speaking or discussing cancer is still considered taboo and this perception is in dire need of a change. Always remember cancer awareness is the first step towards cancer prevention. You must come across survivors sharing their journey by means of speech of cancer awareness. It can be of great benefit to know about the disease beforehand as it will keep you wary of any signs or symptoms you might come across and bring the same to the notice of your physician immediately. This will help in preventing or fighting cancer more effectively.

Short Essay on Cancer

To provide you with a grasp on the subject matter, we have provided a short essay on cancer here. Cancer is a disease in which the cells in specified or different parts of the body start dividing continuously. Cancer is usually caused by specific substances that affect several factors in our body. These specific substances are called carcinogens.

Cancer can be caused owing to exposure to pollution, radiation, harmful substances, poor lifestyle choices, etc. Cancer is best treated when detected early. Usually, surgery as well as other treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. are used to treat cancer.

Cancer awareness is one of the best means that help in preventing and fighting the disease.

Points to Remember About Cancer

Students are recommended to remember the point of facts so it can be helpful for the students to write an essay with ease. Below are listed a few quick points for the convenience of students who are opting to write an essay on Cancer—

Cancer is a condition in which the cells divide in vast numbers uncontrollably which results in impairment and other damage to the body.

Excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition or physical inactivity and, excess weight of the body are some of the causes of Cancer. 

Genetic factors can be responsible for the development of cancer. 

Some genetic malfunctions occur after birth and factors like exposure to the sun and smoking can increase the risks. 

A person can also inherit a certain predisposition for a particular type of cancer. 

Chemotherapy is one of the treatments for cancer that targets the dividing cells, it can cure cancer but the side effects can be fatal. 

Hormone Therapy is another way for treating cancer where the medication targets certain hormones that interfere with the human body. Hormones are essential in breast cancer and prostate cancer. 

Immunotherapy is another way where the medication and treatment target the immune system to boost it.

Personalized medication is one of the newer developments where the treatment is more personalized depending on the person’s body and gene. It is believed that this kind of treatment can cure all types of cancer. 

Radiation therapy is the treatment in which a high dose of radiation is given out to kill the cancerous cells. It can be used for shrinking the tumors before the surgery. 

Stem cell transplant is essential for blood-related cancer like leukemia and lymphoma. In this treatment, the blood cells are removed that are destroyed by chemotherapy and radiation and then the cells are put back into the body after being developed by the doctors. 

Surgery is also a part of the treatment. 

Leukemia, Breast cancer, thyroid cancer, melanoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pancreatic, endometrial, colon, liver, and bladder cancer are the types of cancer that people are diagnosed with every year. 

The most common types of cancer are lung cancer and melanoma.

Cancer is classified by doctors in two ways. 

First, by the location of the cancerous cells. 

And secondly, by the tissues that are affected by it. 

Metastasis is a condition where cancerous cells spread to different parts of the body. 

Improvements in the rate of cancer have been seen over the years after a significant drop in tobacco consumption and smoking. 

The outlook of cancer depends on the severity, type, and location of the cancerous cells.  

Some cancer can exhibit symptoms while others don’t so it is always advised to report anything to the medical expert if something is wrong. Cancer doesn’t exhibit many symptoms unless it is in an advanced stage so it is usually better to go for regular checkups. 

Tumors can be caused in the brain and spinal that can be cancerous in nature. 

Germ cell tumors give rise to sperm and eggs in the body and it can be caused in any part of the body. 

Quick Ways to Remember and Write an Essay on Cancer

Do the research

It is essential to write the valid points and present them in this essay as it is based on Cancer. An essay on Cancer must be comprehensive and should ideally contain the context related to this topic hence, it is very important for a student to know about this topic thoroughly in order to write the essay brilliantly. 

Analyze the question

A student must understand the intention of the essay and know the terms that are needed to be used. It will clearly form an essay that consists of all the valid points related to cancer. 

Remembering the information on Cancer

Cancer as a topic is vast because there are several types of Cancer and writing about all of them is not possible in a condensed essay so it is important to understand and remember the points which are more essential than the others to be mentioned in the essay.  

Defining the terms and theories

It is essential for a student to explain the terms being used in the essay. For example, writing the names of the types of Cancer is not enough, it also has to be explained by the student on how it affects and how it may be treated. 

Organize a structured essay 

Students must write the essay in a coherent manner which must begin with the introduction to cancer, followed by the body of the essay that must contain the types of cancer, treatment, and other information regarding the topic of Cancer. It must be well concluded later to tie everything up neatly. 

Cancer is, undoubtedly, one of the most life-shattering diseases. Together, let us make an effort to take on this disease with more care and hope.

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FAQs on National Cancer Awareness Day: Empowering Hope and Health

1. Differentiate Between Cancerous and Non-Cancerous Tumours.

The unregulated cell mass inside the body is known as a tumour and can be specified to a particular area or the uninhibited cell growth may spread to the surrounding tissues. Based on this, tumours are majorly classified into two types:

Benign Tumours: This type of tumours are usually regarded as non-cancerous as they are specified to a particular area and can be surgically removed without causing damage to the surrounding tissue.

Malignant Tumours: These tumours, on the other hand, have broken free from their site of origin and spread to other tissues, usually through the bloodstream. These tumours are cancerous in nature and usually require other treatments.

essay topics about cancer

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Key elements.

  • Focus –  An essay should have a clear, central idea. Know what you’re going to write about and don’t wander. Before writing, consider creating an outline to organize your ideas.
  • Stay on point –  A good essay should be organized and flow, especially from one paragraph to the next. Flow is essential for readers to understand what you’re writing about. A good tip is to read your essay out loud. This will help you notice any problems or sections that need to be rewritten. 
  • Good grammar – Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and word choice. Mistakes can cause you to lose credibility and make your readers stop reading. 
  • Voice –  You have a writing voice; use it! It’s called creativity. The best writing voice carries your personality and is unique to you. Don’t try to copy what you think is good form. Be aware of it, but make sure what you write is yours and no one else’s.

Before Writing

  • Understand your assignment.  What is the goal of this essay? What do I want to convey? What is the length and deadline?
  • Determine your central point or argument. A clear point of view is essential for a focused essay.
  • Create an outline.  Outline what you want to say and map out a structure for your essay. This keeps you on track, focused, and makes it easier to start writing. Once you have a clear idea of what you want to say, what evidence you’ll use, and in what order, you’re ready to start writing!

While Writing

  • Hook your reader. The introduction sets the tone for your essay. The first sentence should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity and inform them of what to expect. It could be a surprising fact, a bold statement, or a short anecdote related to your message.
  • Provide context. This includes a few additional details that will help your reader undertsand your argument.
  • Give details. This is in the body of your essay where you will tell your story, provide facts, and the evidence that you really want to convey.
  • Wrap it up.  Your essay’s ending ties together your main points. A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence or even a paragraph that leaves the reader with a strong final impression. Avoid including new information, undermining your main point, or using phrases like “in conclusion”.

Summarized from various sources

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Resources, Tools, and Articles

Visuwords: visual dictionary, thesaurus, lexicon, creative nonfiction: an overview, how to write a narrative essay.

“A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay, along with the descriptive essay, allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing.

Narrative essays test your ability to express your experiences in a creative and compelling way, and to follow an appropriate narrative structure.”

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Addressing Challenges in Radiation Therapy: Safety, Efficacy, and Patient Experience

This essay about the challenges in radiation therapy discusses the essential elements of ensuring safety, optimizing efficacy, and prioritizing the patient experience. It explores how rigorous quality control measures and ongoing education contribute to safety, while emphasizing the delicate balance between precision and compassion in treatment delivery. Additionally, it highlights the importance of communication and supportive services in enhancing the patient. The essay also into the role of innovation, showcasing how emerging technologies and advancements like proton therapy and artificial intelligence are shaping the future of radiation therapy. Overall, it emphasizes the collective dedication of healthcare professionals to illuminate the path towards improved cancer treatment outcomes.

How it works

Radiation therapy, a cornerstone in the realm of cancer treatment, confronts a multitude of challenges, each demanding a nuanced approach: the relentless pursuit of safety, the optimization of efficacy, and the cultivation of a patient experience that embodies empathy and support. Within this intricate tapestry of care, the journey towards healing unfolds, guided by a commitment to excellence and innovation at every turn.

Ensuring the safety of radiation therapy remains an unyielding priority, a continuous quest for perfection in an ever-evolving landscape.

Rigorous quality control measures and cutting-edge imaging technologies stand as sentinels against potential risks, meticulously ensuring that each dose of radiation strikes its intended target while safeguarding surrounding healthy tissues. Beyond technology, however, lies a deeper commitment to ongoing education and training, fortifying the knowledge base of practitioners and fostering a culture of vigilance and excellence.

Efficiency in radiation therapy demands a delicate balance, an artful orchestration of precision and compassion in the pursuit of optimal outcomes. Tailored treatment modalities, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), emerge as cornerstones of personalized care, harnessing the power of advanced imaging modalities like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to sculpt treatment plans with unparalleled accuracy. Moreover, the integration of emerging therapeutic approaches, from immunotherapy to targeted agents, holds the promise of unlocking synergistic effects that augment the therapeutic impact of radiation.

Amidst the intricacies of treatment planning and delivery, the patient experience remains at the heart of radiation therapy, where empathy and understanding serve as guiding principles. Communication emerges as a linchpin, empowering patients with knowledge and instilling confidence in their care journey. Beyond medical interventions, supportive services stand as pillars of strength, offering solace and companionship on the road to recovery. From psychological counseling to integrative therapies, every effort is made to alleviate the burden of treatment and foster a sense of holistic well-being.

Innovation serves as the lifeblood of progress in radiation therapy, propelling the field forward into uncharted realms of possibility. Emerging technologies, such as proton therapy and image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), redefine the boundaries of precision and adaptability, offering new avenues for delivering targeted treatments with unprecedented accuracy. Likewise, the convergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and medical imaging holds the potential to revolutionize treatment planning and prediction, ushering in an era where each patient receives care tailored to their unique biology and needs.

In the grand tapestry of radiation therapy, each thread represents a unique narrative of resilience and hope, woven together by the skilled hands and compassionate hearts of healthcare professionals. As we navigate the challenges that lie ahead, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to safety, efficacy, and patient-centered care, for it is through our collective dedication that we illuminate the path toward a future where cancer is conquered, and each patient’s journey is imbued with the promise of healing and renewal.

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Home > Eppley Institute > Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations: Cancer Research

Theses/dissertations from 2024 2024.

Therapeutic Effects of BET Protein Inhibition in B-cell Malignancies and Beyond , Audrey L. Smith

Theses/Dissertations from 2023 2023

Development of Combination Therapy Strategies to Treat Cancer Using Dihydroorotate Dehydrogenase Inhibitors , Nicholas Mullen

Overcoming Resistance Mechanisms to CDK4/6 Inhibitor Treatment Using CDK6-Selective PROTAC , Sarah Truong

Theses/Dissertations from 2022 2022

Omics Analysis in Cancer and Development , Emalie J. Clement

Investigating the Role of Splenic Macrophages in Pancreatic Cancer , Daisy V. Gonzalez

Polymeric Chloroquine in Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Therapy , Rubayat Islam Khan

Evaluating Targets and Therapeutics for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer , Shelby M. Knoche

Characterization of 1,1-Diarylethylene FOXM1 Inhibitors Against High-Grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma Cells , Cassie Liu

Novel Mechanisms of Protein Kinase C α Regulation and Function , Xinyue Li

SOX2 Dosage Governs Tumor Cell Identity and Proliferation , Ethan P. Metz

Post-Transcriptional Control of the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) in Ras-Driven Colorectal Cancers , Chaitra Rao

Use of Machine Learning Algorithms and Highly Multiplexed Immunohistochemistry to Perform In-Depth Characterization of Primary Pancreatic Tumors and Metastatic Sites , Krysten Vance

Characterization of Metastatic Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma in the Immunosuppressed Patient , Megan E. Wackel

Visceral adipose tissue remodeling in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cachexia: the role of activin A signaling , Pauline Xu

Phos-Tag-Based Screens Identify Novel Therapeutic Targets in Ovarian Cancer and Pancreatic Cancer , Renya Zeng

Theses/Dissertations from 2021 2021

Functional Characterization of Cancer-Associated DNA Polymerase ε Variants , Stephanie R. Barbari

Pancreatic Cancer: Novel Therapy, Research Tools, and Educational Outreach , Ayrianne J. Crawford

Apixaban to Prevent Thrombosis in Adult Patients Treated With Asparaginase , Krishna Gundabolu

Molecular Investigation into the Biologic and Prognostic Elements of Peripheral T-cell Lymphoma with Regulators of Tumor Microenvironment Signaling Explored in Model Systems , Tyler Herek

Utilizing Proteolysis-Targeting Chimeras to Target the Transcriptional Cyclin-Dependent Kinases 9 and 12 , Hannah King

Insights into Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Pathogenesis and Metastasis Using a Bedside-to-Bench Approach , Marissa Lobl

Development of a MUC16-Targeted Near-Infrared Antibody Probe for Fluorescence-Guided Surgery of Pancreatic Cancer , Madeline T. Olson

FGFR4 glycosylation and processing in cholangiocarcinoma promote cancer signaling , Andrew J. Phillips

Theses/Dissertations from 2020 2020

Cooperativity of CCNE1 and FOXM1 in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer , Lucy Elge

Characterizing the critical role of metabolic and redox homeostasis in colorectal cancer , Danielle Frodyma

Genomic and Transcriptomic Alterations in Metabolic Regulators and Implications for Anti-tumoral Immune Response , Ryan J. King

Dimers of Isatin Derived Spirocyclic NF-κB Inhibitor Exhibit Potent Anticancer Activity by Inducing UPR Mediated Apoptosis , Smit Kour

From Development to Therapy: A Panoramic Approach to Further Our Understanding of Cancer , Brittany Poelaert

The Cellular Origin and Molecular Drivers of Claudin-Low Mammary Cancer , Patrick D. Raedler

Mitochondrial Metabolism as a Therapeutic Target for Pancreatic Cancer , Simon Shin

Development of Fluorescent Hyaluronic Acid Nanoparticles for Intraoperative Tumor Detection , Nicholas E. Wojtynek

Theses/Dissertations from 2019 2019

The role of E3 ubiquitin ligase FBXO9 in normal and malignant hematopoiesis , R. Willow Hynes-Smith

BRCA1 & CTDP1 BRCT Domainomics in the DNA Damage Response , Kimiko L. Krieger

Targeted Inhibition of Histone Deacetyltransferases for Pancreatic Cancer Therapy , Richard Laschanzky

Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Class I Molecule Components and Amyloid Precursor-Like Protein 2 (APLP2): Roles in Pancreatic Cancer Cell Migration , Bailee Sliker

Theses/Dissertations from 2018 2018

FOXM1 Expression and Contribution to Genomic Instability and Chemoresistance in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer , Carter J. Barger

Overcoming TCF4-Driven BCR Signaling in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma , Keenan Hartert

Functional Role of Protein Kinase C Alpha in Endometrial Carcinogenesis , Alice Hsu

Functional Signature Ontology-Based Identification and Validation of Novel Therapeutic Targets and Natural Products for the Treatment of Cancer , Beth Neilsen

Elucidating the Roles of Lunatic Fringe in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma , Prathamesh Patil

Theses/Dissertations from 2017 2017

Metabolic Reprogramming of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Cells in Response to Chronic Low pH Stress , Jaime Abrego

Understanding the Relationship between TGF-Beta and IGF-1R Signaling in Colorectal Cancer , Katie L. Bailey

The Role of EHD2 in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Tumorigenesis and Progression , Timothy A. Bielecki

Perturbing anti-apoptotic proteins to develop novel cancer therapies , Jacob Contreras

Role of Ezrin in Colorectal Cancer Cell Survival Regulation , Premila Leiphrakpam

Evaluation of Aminopyrazole Analogs as Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitors for Colorectal Cancer Therapy , Caroline Robb

Identifying the Role of Janus Kinase 1 in Mammary Gland Development and Breast Cancer , Barbara Swenson

DNMT3A Haploinsufficiency Provokes Hematologic Malignancy of B-Lymphoid, T-Lymphoid, and Myeloid Lineage in Mice , Garland Michael Upchurch

Theses/Dissertations from 2016 2016

EHD1 As a Positive Regulator of Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor-1 Receptor , Luke R. Cypher

Inflammation- and Cancer-Associated Neurolymphatic Remodeling and Cachexia in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma , Darci M. Fink

Role of CBL-family Ubiquitin Ligases as Critical Negative Regulators of T Cell Activation and Functions , Benjamin Goetz

Exploration into the Functional Impact of MUC1 on the Formation and Regulation of Transcriptional Complexes Containing AP-1 and p53 , Ryan L. Hanson

DNA Polymerase Zeta-Dependent Mutagenesis: Molecular Specificity, Extent of Error-Prone Synthesis, and the Role of dNTP Pools , Olga V. Kochenova

Defining the Role of Phosphorylation and Dephosphorylation in the Regulation of Gap Junction Proteins , Hanjun Li

Molecular Mechanisms Regulating MYC and PGC1β Expression in Colon Cancer , Jamie L. McCall

Pancreatic Cancer Invasion of the Lymphatic Vasculature and Contributions of the Tumor Microenvironment: Roles for E-selectin and CXCR4 , Maria M. Steele

Altered Levels of SOX2, and Its Associated Protein Musashi2, Disrupt Critical Cell Functions in Cancer and Embryonic Stem Cells , Erin L. Wuebben

Theses/Dissertations from 2015 2015

Characterization and target identification of non-toxic IKKβ inhibitors for anticancer therapy , Elizabeth Blowers

Effectors of Ras and KSR1 dependent colon tumorigenesis , Binita Das

Characterization of cancer-associated DNA polymerase delta variants , Tony M. Mertz

A Role for EHD Family Endocytic Regulators in Endothelial Biology , Alexandra E. J. Moffitt

Biochemical pathways regulating mammary epithelial cell homeostasis and differentiation , Chandrani Mukhopadhyay

EPACs: epigenetic regulators that affect cell survival in cancer. , Catherine Murari

Role of the C-terminus of the Catalytic Subunit of Translesion Synthesis Polymerase ζ (Zeta) in UV-induced Mutagensis , Hollie M. Siebler

LGR5 Activates TGFbeta Signaling and Suppresses Metastasis in Colon Cancer , Xiaolin Zhou

LGR5 Activates TGFβ Signaling and Suppresses Metastasis in Colon Cancer , Xiaolin Zhou

Theses/Dissertations from 2014 2014

Genetic dissection of the role of CBL-family ubiquitin ligases and their associated adapters in epidermal growth factor receptor endocytosis , Gulzar Ahmad

Strategies for the identification of chemical probes to study signaling pathways , Jamie Leigh Arnst

Defining the mechanism of signaling through the C-terminus of MUC1 , Roger B. Brown

Targeting telomerase in human pancreatic cancer cells , Katrina Burchett

The identification of KSR1-like molecules in ras-addicted colorectal cancer cells , Drew Gehring

Mechanisms of regulation of AID APOBEC deaminases activity and protection of the genome from promiscuous deamination , Artem Georgievich Lada

Characterization of the DNA-biding properties of human telomeric proteins , Amanda Lakamp-Hawley

Studies on MUC1, p120-catenin, Kaiso: coordinate role of mucins, cell adhesion molecules and cell cycle players in pancreatic cancer , Xiang Liu

Epac interaction with the TGFbeta PKA pathway to regulate cell survival in colon cancer , Meghan Lynn Mendick

Theses/Dissertations from 2013 2013

Deconvolution of the phosphorylation patterns of replication protein A by the DNA damage response to breaks , Kerry D. Brader

Modeling malignant breast cancer occurrence and survival in black and white women , Michael Gleason

The role of dna methyltransferases in myc-induced lymphomagenesis , Ryan A. Hlady

Design and development of inhibitors of CBL (TKB)-protein interactions , Eric A. Kumar

Pancreatic cancer-associated miRNAs : expression, regulation and function , Ashley M. Mohr

Mechanistic studies of mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) , Xiaming Pang

Novel roles for JAK2/STAT5 signaling in mammary gland development, cancer, and immune dysregulation , Jeffrey Wayne Schmidt

Optimization of therapeutics against lethal pancreatic cancer , Joshua J. Souchek

Theses/Dissertations from 2012 2012

Immune-based novel diagnostic mechanisms for pancreatic cancer , Michael J. Baine

Sox2 associated proteins are essential for cell fate , Jesse Lee Cox

KSR2 regulates cellular proliferation, transformation, and metabolism , Mario R. Fernandez

Discovery of a novel signaling cross-talk between TPX2 and the aurora kinases during mitosis , Jyoti Iyer

Regulation of metabolism by KSR proteins , Paula Jean Klutho

The role of ERK 1/2 signaling in the dna damage-induced G2 , Ryan Kolb

Regulation of the Bcl-2 family network during apoptosis induced by different stimuli , Hernando Lopez

Studies on the role of cullin3 in mitosis , Saili Moghe

Characteristics of amyloid precursor-like protein 2 (APLP2) in pancreatic cancer and Ewing's sarcoma , Haley Louise Capek Peters

Structural and biophysical analysis of a human inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase polymorphism , Peter David Simone

Functions and regulation of Ron receptor tyrosine kinase in human pancreatic cancer and its therapeutic applications , Yi Zou

Theses/Dissertations from 2011 2011

Coordinate detection of new targets and small molecules for cancer therapy , Kurt Fisher

The role of c-Myc in pancreatic cancer initiation and progression , Wan-Chi Lin

The role of inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase (ITPA) in maintanence [sic] of genomic stability in human cells , Miriam-Rose Menezes

Molecular insights into major histocompatibility complex class I folding and assembly , Laura Christina Simone

The role of bcl-2 in colon cancer metastatic progression , Wang Wang

A rational peptidomimetic approach towards generation of high affinity BRCT (BRCA1) inhibitors , Ziyan Yuan

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Making life-altering decisions after my cancer diagnosis: a young adult cancer survivor’s story.

essay topics about cancer

Allison Rosen, MS, is the director of Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) for the American Cancer Society. She lives in Houston, Texas.

I’ve been contending with health issues since I was 12, when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. As I began my early 30s, I was feeling the healthiest of my life. I was working out 5 days a week and attributed sudden weight loss and fatigue to weight training and high-intensity Zumba classes. The one concerning symptom was a feeling of food getting stuck in my digestive system every time I ate, and I began having unrelenting heartburn as well as abdominal and chest pain.

Since my Crohn’s disease diagnosis, I have become pretty good at understanding the nuances of my body. I pay attention to any unusual changes and seek medical attention if I have any doubt about my health. I knew that having Crohn’s disease put me at greater risk for colorectal cancer , and as a result, every year, I have a colonoscopy . The previous test, which I had gotten done just 12 months earlier, had found no evidence of disease. But to ease my mind and get an answer to what may be causing my symptoms, I made an appointment with my gastroenterologist.

An x-ray detected an intestinal obstruction, and my physician prescribed medication she said should clear the blockage. But still my symptoms persisted. The gastroenterologist decided to perform a colonoscopy immediately to see what was causing the intestinal problem.

A life-changing diagnosis

My gastroenterologist found a mass growing inside my colon, blocking food from moving through my intestinal tract. “There is a growth in your colon, measuring 13 centimeters,” said the physician. “I don’t think it’s cancer, but I’ll let you know for sure in a few days.”

Three days later, on June 7, 2012, my life irrevocably changed. I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The initial staging put the cancer at stage III. It was later downgraded to stage IIC after I received radiation therapy and chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and, finally, surgery to remove the mass.

When I got the diagnosis, I was scared about how my life was going to change. Cancer and the havoc it can wreak are all too familiar to me. In addition to being involved in cancer research, several members of my family have been diagnosed with the disease. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, and both of my grandmothers died of cancer (one of multiple myeloma and one of breast cancer).

After consulting with several oncologists, I chose the one who during our first meeting said, “Allison, you are not just a number to me. You are someone I want to make sure we do everything right, because this cancer, with your history of Crohn’s disease, is very aggressive. We want to get you on treatment right away and get this disease under control.” The tumor was growing so fast, he said, that if I hadn’t gotten the colonoscopy when I did, I would not be alive.

Knowing the seriousness of my medical situation, the fact that I was not just a number to my oncologist made all the difference to me. It was comforting to know that my age, marital status, and lifestyle would all be factored into the treatment recommendation and that there would be shared decision-making with both my oncologist and surgeon.

Making life-altering choices

The treatment plan included several rounds of radiation therapy and chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before surgery. Although I did have a conversation with my oncologist about fertility preservation before treatment started, unfortunately, because of the aggressiveness of the cancer, there wasn’t enough time to harvest and freeze my eggs. Not being able to preserve my fertility is among the greatest disappointments and challenges I’ve had to face since my cancer diagnosis.

The initial surgery to remove the tumor and colon and create a temporary ileostomy was successful. After more rounds of chemotherapy, I was told I was cancer-free. Time to celebrate, right? The truth is, it was just the opposite.

The physical toll the treatment has taken on my body is daunting and, in some instances, permanent. In addition to being unable to become pregnant, I still have cognition issues and ongoing kidney problems, and I’m prone to developing kidney stones and infections. I am also dealing with osteoporosis , which someone my age should not have to do.

Perhaps the biggest life-altering decision I had to make after my treatment was to have my temporary ostomy made permanent. Crohn’s disease and cancer had done so much damage to my colon, it was necessary to undergo several more surgeries to repair the problem, and the possibility of successfully reversing the need for an ostomy was becoming less likely. Although contemplating having a permanent ostomy was difficult, 3 considerations tipped the balance for me: my fear of a cancer recurrence , my quality of life, and my lifestyle.

I have a very active life that includes traveling the world and trying new adventures, such as skydiving and mountain climbing. Having a high-quality life was more important to me than my physical appearance, and I have no regrets about this decision. My long-term side effects from the cancer and ostomy do not stop me from living the life I want. In fact, they have inspired me to be even more adventurous.

Finding a new life purpose

The life I envisioned before cancer is very different from the life I’m living now, but it’s a small price to pay for being alive. I was sure by now I would be married and have several children, and a career in forensic science. Cancer has given me a new perspective on life. It has made me realize how precious and fragile life is. Rather than lament what I don’t have, I’m grateful for everything I do have: a wonderful family and friends, a career with the American Cancer Society, good health, and a new life purpose to help bridge the gap between the health care system and the communities it serves.

If I can save even one life by sharing my story, my experience with cancer has been worth it. 

Category: 

  • Living With Cancer

Tags: 

  • patient perspective
  • survivorship
  • young adults
  • decision making
  • colorectal cancer
  • side effects

Related Resources: 

  • Colorectal Cancer - Risk Factors and Prevention
  • Being a Young Adult or Teen With Cancer
  • Resources for Young Adults With Cancer
  • How to Thrive While Living With an Ostomy Bag
  • How I Navigated the Challenges of 2 Colorectal Cancer Diagnoses As a Teen and Young Adult

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More young people are getting cancer. Can I lower my risk?

Cancer rates among people under 50 are on the rise. knowing family history may make you eligible for early screening..

essay topics about cancer

Q: I know someone who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s in her 40s and totally healthy. Why do people like her get cancer?

A: Cancer rates among people younger than 50 — called early-onset cancer — have been on the rise worldwide since 1990. Men and women in their 40s represent the largest portion of those diagnoses.

While early-onset cancer rates are rising for many kinds of cancers — including breast, uterine, colorectal and prostate — they’re still relatively infrequent. In 2019, early-onset colorectal cancer occurred at a rate of 5.7 per 100,000 people (up from 3.5 in 1990) and breast cancer occurred at a rate or 13.7 per 100,000 people (up from 9.6 in 1990) worldwide.

This is why asking family members of their health history is crucial — it will affect when your physician recommends you get your first mammography or colonoscopy and whether you may need more genetic testing. About a quarter of patients with early-onset colorectal cancer, for instance, have a family history that would have warranted screening earlier than age 45 — a missed opportunity to catch or even prevent those cancers early.

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essay topics about cancer

When my patients ask why people get cancer, I often tell them to think of a tower of blocks. Let’s say it takes 100 blocks for a person to get cancer. Genetics, environment and lifestyle habits can all add blocks to the tower.

Some of us will have genetic mutations we inherit from our parents or will have been exposed to things in the womb that add blocks to that tower before we can crawl. Some of us will grow up in environments where we’re exposed to pollutants in the air, soil or water; live in areas where ultra-processed foods are most plentiful and what our families can afford; or become infected with viruses that stimulate cancer formation — none of which are factors we made a conscious choice about.

And then our age and numerous other exposures and risk factors — many of which scientists have yet to uncover, but include alcohol intake, exposure to UV rays, smoking and obesity — all add more blocks to that tower.

Behind the scenes, our immune system is constantly scrambling to knock blocks off — with variable success rates. No two people are going to acquire the exact same constellation of 100 blocks in the same amount of time, and many will live their whole lives without reaching 100 blocks.

The factors that determine when and how someone’s tower tips over to cancer are unique, not always known and too often beyond individual control. It’s why some people who smoke never get cancer and others who are in peak physical shape still do.

“One of the biggest challenges in dissecting the causes of early-onset cancers is that there is not a single explanation,” said Bilal Siddiqui , an assistant professor and medical oncologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “There are multiple environmental factors, and we don’t yet fully understand all of them.”

Why doesn’t the immune system fight off cancer?

Cancers appear in all of us every day — but fortunately, they are typically detected and removed by our immune system.

Several important factors that aid cancer to evade our immune system are modulated by the environment. Smoking, alcohol and genetics are well-known risk factors. Other risk factors that were less common in earlier generations may also explain the rise of young cancers.

Maternal obesity and a high birth weight are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. A rise in sedentary behaviors such as prolonged TV viewing and consuming sugary beverages — all of which are linked to high fasting blood sugar and obesity — have been implicated in early-onset cancers. Younger age at the start of a woman’s first period, older age at first birth and use of birth-control pills all increase the risk of getting breast cancer before menopause. And for early-onset colorectal cancer, consumption of red meat appears to play a detrimental role.

It’s important to remember that almost half of all cancers are preventable, Siddiqui added.

A 2022 study published in the Lancet found that about 44 percent of cancer deaths involved a modifiable risk factor such as tobacco use or air pollution.

Early-life exposures that could lead to cancer are hard to study — imagine being asked today to recall how many minutes you played in the sun 15 years ago. But scientists are working on a variety of approaches to overcome these obstacles — such as scouring electronic health records for objective evidence and analyzing biospecimens such as saliva and stool collected in childhood for clues.

What I want my patients to know

Besides mitigating any known risk factors, we can do a better job in identifying cancer early.

After learning your family history, go get the screening recommended by your doctor. Fewer than 20 percent of people ages 45 to 49 are up to date with colorectal cancer screening, and only about 66 percent of women age 40 and over were up to date with breast cancer screening.

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