Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Masha. Masha Wonders, “What is cancer and what is it caused by?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Masha!

Have you ever been sick? If so, you know it’s no fun at all. Many kids deal with chickenpox, strep throat, and the flu. These are common illnesses. But sometimes, both kids and adults get more serious illnesses. Being very sick for a long time can be scary. One of the scariest illnesses a person can get is cancer. 

Has your life been affected by cancer? If not, you probably know someone whose life has been. Cancer affects the lives of most people in one way or another. Whether it happens to yourself, a friend, or a family member, cancer can change everything.

Cancer comes in many types. And anyone can get it. It happens more often to older people, but kids can get cancer, too. Thanks to advanced medical treatments, though, many types of childhood cancer can be treated and cured.

How does cancer start? It has to do with the cells in your body. Cells are the small units that make up the human body. When your body’s cells work properly, they grow and divide. Over time, they stop growing. Cancer cells, however, grow and spread very fast. They keep growing and don’t stop when they’re supposed to.

As they grow, cancer cells tend to group together to form masses called tumors. As tumors form and grow, they destroy healthy cells. They attack the tissues that help the body function. This causes someone with cancer to become very sick.

Have you ever heard that cancer “spreads“? That’s what doctors call it when cancer cells break away and move to new parts of the body. If cancer gets to enough areas and damages enough healthy cells and tissues, it can cause death.

Why do people get cancer? No one knows. However, experts have identified some factors that may lead to cancer. For example, cigarette smoking and drinking too much alcohol have been linked to certain types of cancer. Even spending too much time in the sun has been connected to cancer.

Cancer is still very mysterious. Experts have worked hard for many years to come up with better treatments. Today, many patients go through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. These methods may be used alone or combined. It all depends on the type of cancer a patient has.

Thanks to advances in medicine over the years, more and more people survive cancer today. When all the signs and symptoms of cancer are gone, doctors say a patient is in remission. Remission is a word that every cancer patient wants to hear. Doctors and scientists continue to find new treatments. Eventually, remission is a word that more and more patients will hear!

Standards: NGSS.LS1.A, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

What has 18 arms, 18 legs and wears black robes? We swear the answer isn’t scary, but you’ll have to judge for yourself!