Your Cancer Guide Is Here!

Overview | Growth of cancer | Types |Stages | Causes | Symptoms | Risk factors | Complications | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention |

Everyone knows that cancer is a deadly disease. But do you know that cancer is the second – leading cause of death in the world? Among the different types of cancers, breast, lungs, liver, stomach and colon cancer are found the deadliest. Let’s know, what you should know!

What is cancer?

Simply, Cancer is a disease in which cells grow abnormally and uncontrollably, start from one organ or part of the body, and then spreads throughout the body. Well, cancer is a broad term in itself. All those diseases which include uncontrolled growth and divisions of cells due to cellular changes can be considered cancer. In some types of cancer, there is a rapid growth of cells and in some others, the rate of growth and division of cells is quite slow. All these unwanted changes lead to the formation of tumors, damage to the immune system and impairments, etc.

Fact: There are about 200 types of cancer.

Growth of cancer:

As we all know, our body have trillions of blood cells, which works and helps us to be alive and function properly. Healthy cells has some life span, after which they gets destroyed and new ones takes their place. And thus, the cycle goes on. Bit when due to some conditions, there is an unwanted change or mutation in the DNA present within the cells, then this mutation cause cancer and disrupt the normal functions of the cell, tissues, etc.

If you don’t know, DNA gives instructions to cells that what functions the cells, tissues etc. have to perform and his to divide and grow. It exists in the individual genes of each and every cell.

Although, mutations in DNA is not very rare, it happens sometimes but can be resolved by cells. But when these mutations can not be resolved by cells, then the cells becomes cancerous.

These mutations can stop the death of the cells, which should die; and can produce new cells, even when not needed. These extra cells together combine and form tumours, which first effect the place or organ of it’s origin, and then spreads all over the body causing cancer, through tissues. Although, some tumours are non – cancerous while some are cancerous called Malignant tumours. The process which involves migration of cancer cells through blood streams, all over the body are called metastasis. This process makes the cancer more dangerous and difficult to treat.

Types of Cancer:

The type name of the cancer is depends on the area or organ where it begins. Although, cancer spreads all over the body, but still is known by the area or organ name. For example, if the tumour cells or tumour is bred in the lungs, it is called lungs cancer, despite the spread of tumour cells throughout the body. Similarly there are about 200 types of cancer like breast cancer, long cancer etc. Still, the most commonly diagnosed cancer types are:

  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Thyroid
  • Endometrial
  • Leukemia
  • Bladder
  • Colon and rectal
  • Pancreatic etc.

And yes, there are some general types of cancer also. Their clinical terms are as follows:

  • Leukaemia – When the bone marrow, which creates cells gets cancerous, then this condition is called Leukaemia.
  • Lymphoma – Cancer of immune system.
  • Myeloma – Cancer of immune system
  • Carcinoma – It is a form of cancer which begins in the skin or tissues that cover other internal organs.
  • Sarcoma – When the connective tissues of the body develops cancer, such as bones, muscles, blood vessels, cartilage etc. then this condition is called Sarcoma.
  • Central nervous system cancer: The cancer of tissues of the brain and spin cord.

To know better and more accurately, it is to be suggest that you should search about the type you want to know, or you can ask your health expert too.

Men are more likely to get lung, prostate and colorectal cancer. Whereas, in women, breast, King’s and colorectal are the most common cancer types. While, Leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumours etc. are mostly found in children.

Stages of cancer:

  • Stage 1: small cancer (early stage)
  • Stage 2: cancer has grown (large stage)
  • Stage 3: cancer has spread into nearby tissues (larger stage)
  • Stage 4: cancer has spread throughout the body. (Final stage)

Some doctors also consider stage 0, which means that cancer is in ‘it’s place’.

Causes of Cancer:

We have read previously in this article about how DNA mutation cause cancer. But there are some factors which can trigger or cause the mutations in DNA.

Before that, one should know that the DNA mutation can be hereditary or can even take place after birth. Mostly, the second case is applicable.

Although, there are some factors which contribute in the production of cancer. These are —

  • Tobacco and Cigarettes, as they have about 66 carcinogenic toxic chemicals.
  • Prolonged use of chemical – based make – up products.
  • Genetics
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Environment
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals and substances
  • Ionising radiation, such as X – ray
  • Certain viruses, such as hepatitis B and C, HPV, EBV etc.
  • Excessive consumption of red meat
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor nutrition.

And many more.

Hence, it can be concluded that — anything that can trigger the uncontrolled growth and division of cells can cause cancer.

Some general symptoms of Cancer:  

  • Lump or skin thickening that can be felt
  • Change in body weight
  • Fatigue
  • Unhealed sores
  • Hoarseness
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Change in skin colour
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Persistent trouble in digestion and after eating
  • Persistent muscle pain
  • Chronic fever
  • Night sweating
  • Unexplained bleeding and bruising

These are some general symptoms that can be experienced in all types of cancer along with the specific symptoms according to the type.

Risks factors and complications:

  • Old age
  • Poor lifestyle habits
  • Family history of cancer
  • Underlying health conditions
  • An environment filled with harmful chemicals and toxins
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Chemical changes in the body
  • Unprotected exposure to sun rays
  • Certain virus
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Brain and nervous system problems
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of exercise etc.

Diagnosis:

The first step towards diagnosis is a physical examination and medical history. Complete blood count (CBC) and electrolytes level tests can help to diagnose cancer and its type also. Endoscopy along with imaging tests like MRI, CT scan, X-rays – ray etc. Can also be prescribed bed.

American cancer society has described seven warning signs of cancer. If you also have these symptoms, then don’t waste time and go for a diagnosis. The warning symptoms are – CAUTION, I.e.

  1. Change in bowel and bladder habits
  2. A sore throat that doesn’t heal
  3. Usual bleeding or discharge
  4. Thickening or lump anywhere in the body
  5. Indigestion (chronic)
  6. Obvious change in the size, colour, shape or thickness of a mole
  7. Nagging cough

Treatment:

Treatment of cancer is possible now. The method of treatment depends on the type of cancer. But some common ones are :

  1. Chemotherapy
  2. Hormonal therapy
  3. Immunotherapy
  4. Personalized medicines
  5. Radiation therapy
  6. Stem cell transplant
  7. Surgery
  8. Targeted therapy

Your doctor will examine your condition and then prescribe your treatment according to your need.

Prevention:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid alcohol consumption
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure
  • Avoid any kind of contact with toxic chemicals
  • Have a healthy lifestyle and diet
  • Exercise daily
  • Go for cancer screening, if needed.
  • Get vaccines for other diseases that can cause cancer
  • Avoid cancer-causing agents
  • Avoid products full of chemicals
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