What is Cancer?
Firstly it is important to understand that cancer is not a single illness, there are many different types and mesothelioma is just one type.
Our bodies are made of tiny building blocks called cells, cancer is a disease of these cells. Cells from different parts of the body look and work differently and millions of new cells are made everyday to replace those lost through old age or wear and tear.
Throughout the body new cells are produced when existing cells divide into two and there is normally a perfect balance between those that are dying and those that are dividing. This vital balance is controlled by a very complicated process, if control of this process is lost it can lead to too many cells being produced which results in a tumour.
Most tumours are not cancerous (sometimes described as benign) and they remain in the area where they first developed. A wart is a common example.
The development of cancer involves a change in the quality of the cells as well an increase in the quantity. They become more aggressive, destructive and independent of normal cells. They are able to invade surrounding tissues, glands and blood vessels and thus spread away from where they started to divide and grow. When the cancer cells reach a new site they may go on dividing and form a new tumour, this is often referred to as a secondary or metastasis.