- What is cancer?
- The difference between normal and cancer cells
- The causes of cancer
- The growth of advanced cancer and metastasis
- Noncancerous tissue changes
- Commonly searched cancer types
- Common cell cancer types
- Common cancer treatments
- What are the stages of cancer?
- Some more questions you may have about cancer
Noncancerous tissue changes
Not all changes in the body’s tissues are cancerous. There are certain tissue changes that may form into cancer when left untreated. Before cells become cancerous, they undergo changes called hyperplasia and dysplasia. However, if these stages of change are monitored and possibly treated, they may not develop into cancer. They are explained below:
This happens when tissue cells divide at a faster pace than normal, creating a build-up of extra cells. What is difficult, is that the tissue structure and cells appear normal when looking through a microscope. This type of noncancerous change is normally the result of a number of conditions such as chronic inflammation or the imbalance of female hormones, which is seen in the case of endometrial (the uterine lining) hyperplasia, which is commonly found in post-menopausal women.
This is more serious than hyperplasia, however, it also refers to a build-up of cells. In this case, the cells appear abnormal. The more the cells appear to be abnormal, the higher the chance is of cancer forming.
Certain kinds of dysplasia are able to be treated and monitored. Dysplastic nevus is a type of dysplasia, being an abnormal skin mole. This can develop into skin cancer (melanoma), however, most cases don't. Another example of this is known as Barret's oesophagitis. This is when the normal cells of the oesophagus become abnormal, or they undergo dysplasia due to continuously untreated exposure to acidic gastric fluid from acid reflux.