Difference between Ulcer and Cancer

Key Difference: Ulcer is a disease that is caused by bacteria, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria to be exact. The bacteria produce substances that weaken the mucous lining causing the stomach to get burned. Cancer, medically known as malignant neoplasm, is a medical condition in which cells divide and grow rapidly causing tumors that may cause harm to surrounding organs, or break off and travel to other parts of the body.

The human body is a complex system that runs in automated mode; however, similar to all well-oiled machines, there are sometimes glitches or malfunctions. The human bodies also suffer from such abnormalities, which result in glitches and cause the body functions to stop working properly. These are known as diseases that the body suffers from. Ulcers and cancers are classified as two different types of diseases but are related as ulcers can develop into cancerous cells.

Ulcer is a disease that is caused by bacteria, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria to be exact. This species of bacteria has a spiral shape that allows it to swim through the mucous lining of the stomach and produce substances that weaken the mucous lining. This causes the acid to burn the internal side of the stomach, resulting in the burning sensation and the pain the stomach. They can also attach to the cells of the stomach and cause inflammation, causing the stomach to produce excess acid. This disease may show symptoms or may not, making it much more difficult to diagnose. Ulcers can also occur on the skin and are known as sores and blisters. These cause the skin to become red and irritated, resulting in pain when touched or pressed. These sores are caused by exposure to heat or cold, irritation, problems with blood circulation or the lack of mobility.

Peptic ulcers and duodenal ulcers are two of the most common types of ulcers that take place in the gastro-esophageal tract. Peptic ulcers take place in the stomach, while the duodenal ulcers take placed in the duodenum or the upper part of the small intestine. The least common type of ulcer is esophageal ulcers, which take place in the esophagus as a result of excessive drinking. Peptic ulcers cause sharp burning or gnawing sensation in the stomach, which gets worse when stomach is empty and better when it is full. The sensation also does not change with the position of the body, such as lying down or standing. The pain could also worsen if the person takes pain medication and better when they take an antacid. Other symptoms also include: weight loss, loss of appetite, bloating, burping, nausea, vomiting and black, tarry stools.

Cancer, medically known as malignant neoplasm, is a medical condition in which cells divide and grow rapidly causing tumors that may cause harm to surrounding organs, or break off and travel to other parts of the body. There are three main types of tumors that may or may not develop into cancer: benign tumor, pre-malignant or malignant. A benign tumor is a small harmless tumor that is not cancerous. A pre-malignant tumor is a pre-cancerous tumor that has the possibility of developing into cancer. Lastly, a malignant tumor is highly cancerous.

Cancer happens when cells divide faster than the ability of the body to control them. The cells group themselves into small lumps of cells, which are known as tumors. These tumors can remain where they are and not grow into size, which makes them benign, while other tumors can grow in size, break off and spread to other parts of the bodies using the blood or lymph systems. Cancers when transferring to new sites often destroy healthy tissues.

Tumors are often hard to diagnose until they are grown huge in size, can be felt via touch or disrupts the process of other organs or tissues. This is mainly because there are no set signs or symptoms that are visible for each kind of cancer. There are over 200 kinds of cancers that are known to exist. Symptoms usually start occurring when tumors or cancer has grown to a certain size. There are also no definite causes of cancer, though certain substances such as radiation, environmental pollutants, lack of physical activity, obesity, tobacco use and certain infections have been known to cause mutations. Around 5-10% of cancers have even been proven to be hereditary.

Cancer is diagnosed by the presence of signs and symptoms, screening tests or medical imaging. This diagnosis is then confirmed by examining a tissue sample under a microscope. One diagnosis is confirmed, cancer can be treated using surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Treatment must ensure that the cancerous cells are eradicated and removed to keep them from replicating again. The chances of surviving the disease vary by the type and location of the cancer, as well as the extent of disease at the start of treatment. It is estimated that in 2007, 13% of all human deaths worldwide were caused by cancer. That amounts to 7.9 million deaths.

Image Courtesy: gastriculcer.blogspot.com, staffordshireurologyclinic.co.uk

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