Cancer is a disease which starts due to an abnormal growth of cells. Cancer is not a single disease; it is a group of more than 100 different and distinctive diseases. Cancer may involve any tissue of the body and have certain different forms in each body part. Most of cancers are named for the type of organ or cell in which they start.
The frequency of a particular cancer depends on gender. While skin cancer is the most common malignancy for both men and women, prostate cancer is the second most common type in men and breast cancer in women. Skin cancers are often curable, moreover; cancer frequency does not equate to cancer mortality. Today, lung cancer is the leading cause of death for both men and women both.
Some facts about Cancer-
- Cancer is an uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body.
- There are over 200 different types of cancer.
- Anything that may cause a normal body cell to develop abnormally can be a cancer. General categories of cancer-related or causative agents are like: ionizing radiation, some pathogens, chemical or toxic compound exposures and human genetics.
- Cancer symptoms and signs depend on the type of cancer; although general signs and symptoms are not very specific. The following symptoms can be found in patients with different cancers: weight loss, pain, skin changes, fatigue, change in bowel or bladder function, persistent cough, unusual bleeding, or voice change, fever, lumps, or tissue masses.
- Moreover, there are many tests available to screen and presumptively diagnose cancer, the real diagnosis is made by examination of a biopsy sample of suspected cancer tissue.
- Cancer staging is determined by biopsy results and it helps to determine the cancer type and the extent of cancer metastasize (spread), staging also helps caregivers determine treatment protocols. Usually, in most staging methods, the higher the number assigned (usually between 0 to 4), results the more aggressive the cancer type or more widespread is the cancer in the body.
- Treatment protocols vary according to the stage and the type of the cancer. Most treatment protocols are designed to fit the disease of individual patients. However, most treatments include:
- Chemotherapy, and
- Radiation therapy.
- There are many listed home remedies and alternative treatments available for cancers, but patients are strongly recommended to discuss these things with the Cancer doctor.
- The prognosis of cancer can range from poor to excellent. It depends on the cancer type and its staging with those aggressive cancers and those staged with higher numbers (3 to 4) often have a prognosis that ranges more toward the poor.
Causes of Cancer-
Anything that may cause a normal body cell to develop abnormally can be a cancer. There are many things that can cause cell abnormalities and have been linked to cancer development. Some cancer causes remain unknown where other cancers have lifestyle or environmental triggers or may develop from more than one known cause. Many cancer patients develop cancer due to a combination of these factors. Although it is difficult or impossible to determine/examine the initiating factors that cause a cancer to develop in a specific person. Research has provided healthcare with a number of likely causes that alone or in concert with other causes for initiating cancer. Here is a listing of major causes and is not all-inclusive as specific causes are added as research advances-
- Toxic or chemical compound exposures: Nickel, cadmium, vinyl chloride, benzidine, Benzene, asbestos, N-nitrosamines, tobacco or cigarette smoke (contains at least 66 known potential carcinogenic chemicals and toxins), and aflatoxin
- Ionizing radiation: Radon, uranium, ultraviolet rays from sunlight, radiation from alpha, beta, gamma, and X-ray-emitting sources.
- Pathogens: EBV or Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis viruses B and C, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV), Merkel cell polyomavirus, Schistosoma spp., and Helicobacter pylori; other bacteria have being researched as possible agents.
- Genetics: A number of specific cancers are linked to human genes and are as follows- colorectal, prostate, breast, ovarian, skin and melanoma.
Symptoms and signs of cancer-
The American Cancer Society describes these following seven warning signs that cancer may be present, and which should prompt a person to seek medical attention-
- Change in bladder habits
- A sore throat issue that does not heal
- Unusual bleeding or discharge (like nipple secretions or a sore that will not heal that oozes material)
- Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or somewhere else
- Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
- Obvious change in the color, shape, size, or thickness of a wart or mole
- Suffering to a nagging cough or hoarseness
These some other symptoms may also alert you or your doctor to the possibility of your having some form of cancer-
- Unexplained loss of weight or appetite
- A new type of pain in the bones or other areas of the body that may be worsening, or come and go, but is unlike previous pains you had before
- fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
- Unexplained low-grade fevers
- Recurring infections which will not heal with usual treatment
Treatment for cancer-
A doctor who specialized in cancer treatment is called an oncologist. He or she may be a surgeon, a medical oncologist or a specialist in radiation therapy. The first uses surgery to treat cancer; the second one is radiation therapy and the third, chemotherapy and related treatments. Each may consult with the others to develop the best treatment plan for the particular patient. This treatment is based on the type and the stage of cancer. In some people, diagnosis and treatment occur at the same time if the cancer disease is surgically removed when the surgeon removes the tissue for biopsy.
Erlotinib- Erlotinib is a first line treatment for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. It is prescribed to treat locally advanced/metastatic non-small cell lung cancer when the disease has not progressed after treating with first-line chemotherapy. The anti-cancer medication can be given to treat locally advanced/metastatic non-small cell lung cancer that has not responded to less than one year of the chemotherapy regimen. The pharmaceutical agent in combination with gemcitabine is also used as the first line treatment for advanced, surgically unresectable, or metastatic pancreatic cancer. The cancer drug decreases the spread of lung or pancreatic cancer with increased survival.
Sofosbuvir- Sofosbuvir is the FDA approved the medication for the treatment of viral hepatitis. It is specially formulated to treat chronic HCV infection as a component of a combination antiviral therapy. The new antiviral medication is proven to be extremely effective in treating hepatitis C genotypes 1, 2, 3, and 4. The medicine falls into the category of drugs known as viral polymerase RNA inhibitors, which means it can interfere with the hepatitis C reproduction process. The antiviral therapy is extremely effective in getting rid of the progression of the infection. Twelve weeks of treatment with this medication are enough to cure hepatitis C
Tamoxifen- Tamoxifen is the most widely used medications in the treatment of breast cancer. The medicine is active against certain types of breast cancer, namely hormone responsive or estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. It is categorized under the class of drugs known as antineoplastics, which works by blocking the effects of the hormone estrogen in the body. The anti-cancer medication is effective in preventing the growth of the types of breast cancer cells that require estrogen for growth and survival. The pharmaceutical agent is also useful in treating breast cancer that is advanced and has spread to other parts of the body.
Temozolomide - Temozolomide is a prescription medication used to kill abnormal (cancer) cells. It interferes with the development of cancer cells, slowing their growth and spread in the body. The anti-cancer medication is used in combination with radiation therapy to treat certain types of a brain tumor in adults. The oral anti-cancer drug is especially discovered to treat high-grade glioma, which is a rapidly progressive form of brain cancer with a poor survival rate. It is given after treating with other standard drugs with surgery and radiotherapy that have been failed to work
Zoledronic Acid- Zoledronic acid is a multipurpose pharmaceutical drug used to treat many health conditions. The drug is best for patients with hyperglycemia malignancy, a condition of having high levels of calcium in the body. It is also indicated for the treatment of myeloma and metastatic bone lesions from solid tumors. The drug has an essential role in the treatment of osteoporosis. The medication efficiently reduces serum calcium levels in the body. The pharmaceutical agent is advantageous in decreasing fractures, radiation/surgery to bone, or spinal cord compression in those patients who are suffering from myeloma or metastatic bone lesions
Although patients may receive a unique systematic treatment or protocol for their cancer. Most treatments have one or more of the following components-
- radiation therapy or
- combination treatments (a combination of two or all three treatments).