The term "cancer" is an historical name that was given by the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. The Greek terms employed by Hippocrates, were actually used to describe a crab, which he thought a tumor resembled.
At the end of the 19th century, different types of cancer were already known, and in some cases, could even be cured.
Over the last generation, there have been tremendous strides in research and major discoveries have been made, leading to the emergence of a new field of study - oncology.
Many names were given to cancer: cancer, malignant disease, tumor disease. This plurality of names arose in view of the fact that cancer is perceived as a difficult, incurable illness. The truth is today's modern medicine in many cases is capable of overcoming the disease, so that it is definitely curable, particularly in childhood.
"Cancer" is a name of a group of diseases, and what typifies all of these diseases is the development of a tumor, which is caused by uncontrolled proliferation of the single cell or a small number of cells. The different types of cancers are classified by the type of cell that is initially affected, where the process of unrestrained and uncontrolled growth of cells originated.
The two main characteristics of cancerous cells:
Interminable and uncontrolled proliferation.
Tumor cells wander from their site of origin, travel through the blood and lymphatic system, and colonize a distant site, where they begin to divide and grow again, eventually forming new secondary tumors, called metastases.
In most cases, the reason why a healthy cell becomes a cancerous cell is still unknown. In the remaining cases, the reason may be:
Hereditary influences (rare).
There are numerous myths surrounding cancer which originated in the days when medical knowledge was scarce. The Following is a list of erroneous beliefs, all of which are false:
Cancer is a disease that everyone dies from - false!
Cancer is incurable - false!
Cancer is a communicable disease - false!
Cancer is an untreatable disease - false!
The child patient should not be informed of his disease - false!
Children with cancer remain bald - false! They are bald for a brief period, following chemotherapy. When it comes to radiation therapy - it depends on the dose of radiation, and in any case, only when the radiation is aimed at the head.
The entire family should be kept in the dark about the disease - false!
Children who have cancer are isolated from their peers - the disease has nothing to do with social isolation, aside from certain stages of treatment that require temporary isolation. It is very important for the child to maintain a social life.
Kids at school shouldn't know about the disease - false, it's impossible and definitely not a desirable situation!
Children with cancer cannot maintain scholastic achievement - not necessarily. The child's achievements depend on his/her capacity, efforts, and encouragement that he/she receives during treatment.
Nowadays, cure rates have improved considerably resulting in a significant increase in the chances of recovery!