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.
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).