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Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. There are over 100 different known cancers that affect humans.
It is Also called: Carcinoma, Malignancy, Neoplasms, Tumor. Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don’t need them, and old cells don’t die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren’t cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Most treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some may involve hormone therapy, biologic therapy, or stem cell transplantation.
Cancers can be grouped according to the type of cell they start in. There are 5 main categories

  • Carcinoma – cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. There are a number of subtypes, including adenocarcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and transitional cell carcinoma
  • Sarcoma – cancer that begins in the connective or supportive tissues such as bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, or blood vessels
  • Leukaemia – cancer that starts in blood forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and go into the blood
  • Lymphoma and myeloma – cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system
  • Brain and spinal cord cancers – these are known as central nervous system cancers

Causes of Cancer

Cancer is a complex group of diseases with many possible causes. The known causes of cancer, includes genetic factors; lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, diet, and physical activity; certain types of infections; and environmental exposures to different types of chemicals and radiation.

Genetics and Cancer

Some types of cancer run in certain families, but most cancers are not clearly linked to the genes we inherit from our parents

Tobacco and Cancer

cigarette, cigar, and smokeless tobacco use affects different groups of people.

Diet and Physical Activity

diet, physical activity, excess body weight, and alcohol use may affect your risk of cancer.

Sun and UV Exposure

Too much sun exposure also cause cancer.

Radiation Exposure and Cancer Risk

The different types of radiation exposure also have cancer risk

Other Carcinogens

The environmental causes of cancer that may lurk in our homes, at work, in pollution, and even in some medical tests and treatments. some types of infections are linked to cancer.
It has also been seen that not all tumors are cancerous; they are either malignant or benign.
Benign tumors aren’t cancerous. They can often be removed, and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumours do not spread to other parts of the body.
Malignant tumors are cancerous and are made up of cells that grow out of control. Cells in these tumours can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes cells move away from the original (primary) cancer site and spread to other organs and bones where they can continue to grow and form another tumour at that site. This is known as metastasis or secondary cancer. Metastases keep the name of the original cancer location. e.g. pancreatic cancer that has spread to the liver is still called pancreatic cancer.

Symptoms of Cancer

15 Cancer Symptoms for Women

  • Cancer Symptoms for Men
  • Problems When You Pee
  • Changes in Your Testicles
  • Blood in Your Pee or Stool
  • Skin Changes
  • Changes in Lymph Nodes
  • Trouble Swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Mouth Changes
  • Weight Loss Without Trying
  • Fever
  • Breast Changes
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Pain
  • Belly Pain and Depression
  • Stages of Cancer
  • Staging is a way of describing the size of a cancer and how far it has grown. When doctors first diagnose a cancer, they carry out tests to check how big the cancer is and whether it has spread into surrounding tissues. Staging is important because it helps your treatment team to know which treatments you need.Stage 1 usually means that a cancer is relatively small and contained within the organ it started in.
    Stage 2 usually means the cancer has not started to spread into surrounding tissue but the tumour is larger than in stage 1. Sometimes stage 2 means that cancer cells have spread into lymph nodes close to the tumour. This depends on the particular type of cancer.
    Stage 3 usually means the cancer is larger. It may have started to spread into surrounding tissues and there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes in the area.
    Stage 4 means the cancer has spread from where it started to another body organ. This is also called secondary or metastatic cancer.
    Sometimes doctors use the letters A, B or C to further divide the number categories – for example, stage 3B cervical cancer. 

    Cancer Treatment Options

    Treatment Types

    Find out what you need to know about the most common types of cancer treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and many others. Learn how they work and why they are used, and get an idea of what to expect and how they might affect you if you’re getting them.

    Surgery

    Surgery can be used to diagnose, treat, or even help prevent cancer in some cases. Most people with cancer will have some type of surgery. It often offers the greatest chance for cure, especially if the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. Learn more about surgery here.

    Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of medicines or drugs to treat cancer. The thought of having chemotherapy frightens many people. But knowing what chemotherapy is, how it works, and what to expect can often help calm your fears. It can also give you a better sense of control over your cancer treatment.

    Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. It is one of the most common treatments for cancer, either by itself or along with other forms of treatment..

    Targeted Therapy

    Targeted therapy is a newer type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to more precisely identify and attack cancer cells, usually while doing little damage to normal cells. Targeted therapy is a growing part of many cancer treatment regimens.

    Immunotherapy

    Immunotherapy is treatment that uses your body’s own immune system to help fight cancer. There are different types of immunotherapy to treat different types of cancer.

    Hyperthermia

    The idea of using heat to treat cancer has been around for some time, but early attempts had mixed results. Today, newer tools allow more precise delivery of heat, and hyperthermia is being studied for use against many types of cancer.

    Stem Cell Transplant (Peripheral Blood, Bone Marrow, and Cord Blood Transplants)

    bone marrow transplants and other types of stem cell transplants that are used to treat cancer.

    Photodynamic Therapy

    Photodynamic therapy or PDT is a treatment that uses special drugs, called photosensitizing agents, along with light to kill cancer cells. The drugs only work after they have been activated or “turned on” by certain kinds of light.

    Lasers in Cancer Treatment

    Lasers, which are very powerful, precise beams of light, can be used instead of blades (scalpels) for very careful surgical work, including treating some cancers.

    Alternative and Complementary Therapy:

    This therapy involves homeopathy and acupuncture

    Cancer Recurrence

    Cancer recurrence is defined as the return of cancer after treatment and after a period of time during which the cancer cannot be detected. (The length of time is not clearly defined.) The same cancer may come back where it first started or somewhere else in the body.
    There are different types of cancer recurrence:

    • Local recurrence means that the cancer has come back in the same place it first started.
    • Regional recurrence means that the cancer has come back in the lymph nodes near the place it started.
    • Distant recurrence means the cancer has come back in another part of the body, some distance from where it started (often the lungs, liver, bone marrow, or brain).

    Care After Cancer Treatment

    After your cancer treatment, as a cancer survivor you’re eager to return to good health. But beyond your initial recovery, there are ways to improve your long-term health so that you can enjoy the years ahead as a cancer survivor.
    The recommendations for cancer survivors are no different from the recommendations for anyone who wants to improve his or her health: Exercise, eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, avoid tobacco and limit the amount of alcohol you drink
    Aftercare also involves the review of physical exam and medical history of a patient that include endoscopy, imaging procedures and blood work. This aftercare is very important as it helps in determining the changes in health of a patient.