What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease caused by the abnormal separation of cells from the body as a result of damaged DNA. Cancer cells quickly break apart and become a tumor, from which the cancer cells eventually die due to lack of blood. Cancer is divided into different categories depending on the organ in which the cancer cells are found, e.g, lung cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, skin cancer, etc.
As stated, cancer varies in more than 100 categories. Each type differs in severity, such as lung cancer and brain cancer, which are very serious and cause patients to die faster than skin cancer. As a result, cancer treatments vary depending on the type of cancer, stage, physical condition, and other factors. For example, lymphoma is easier to treat than lung cancer or brain cancer.
- There are no symptoms when some cancer cells still remain.
- Patients show symptoms of general illness, such as fatigue, poor appetite, weight loss, deteriorating health, and sadness.
- Patients hurt from severe pain as a sign that cancer cells are proceeding to other organs or throughout the body.
- One or more symptoms of the 8 dangerous warning signs below warn patients to consult their doctors and have cancer cell detection.
8 dangerous warning signs to notice
- Changes in the excretory system, such as black stools or bloody urine
- Difficulty swallowing, cramping or bloating
- Gruffness or chronic cough
- Abnormal leukorrhea, such as odor or bleeding
- Chronic and intractable wound
- Changes in warts or moles
- Cyst in the breasts or other parts of the body
- Tinnitus or nosebleed
What causes cancer?
Cancer is a complex disease where the causes in 90% of cases are environmental factors and lifestyle, while only some cases are the result of genetic disposition. The main causes of cancer include:
- Tobacco: Using tobacco while smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco and its products increase the risk of cancer.
- Lifestyle: A sedentary or adverse lifestyle, such as lack of exercise, diet, or alcohol consumption, can be the cause of certain cancers.
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun: Can be the cause of skin cancer.
- Exposure to radiation: includes long-term exposure to radiation emitted by nuclear units.
- Other carcinogens: Carcinogens include substances that enter the human system and cause constant irritation that leads to certain types of cancer.
- Genetic / Hereditary factor: The most common cause is a family history, but there may not be many cases of cancer in the family.
What are the different types of cancer?
The different types of cancer are:
Skin, lungs, stomach, pancreas, blood cancer or leukemia, colon, ovary, liver, breast, esophagus, peritoneal, testicular, and thyroid.
Most types of cancer can be treated if they are found early. Early detection and prevention help fight cancers of many types. Whenever any abnormality or persistent pain or fever is detected, consult your doctor and do not ignore the symptoms.
Types of cancer treatment
There are many types of cancer treatments. The types of treatment you obtain will depend on the type of cancer you have and how progressive it is.
Some people with cancer will receive only one treatment. But most people have a mixture of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. When you need cancer treatment, you have a lot to absorb and think about. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused. However, talking with your doctor and learning about the types of treatment you can receive can help you feel more in control.
- Surgery: When used to treat cancer, surgery is a procedure in which a surgeon removes cancer from your body. Learn about the different ways cancer surgery is used and what to expect before, during, and after surgery.
- Radiotherapy: Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that usages high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Learn about the types of radiation, why side belongings occur, which ones you might have, and more.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that usages drugs to kill cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy to treat cancer: Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that assistances your immune system to fight cancer. This page covers the types of immunotherapy, how it is used against cancer, and what to expect during treatment.
- Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that emphasizes changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread.
- Hormonal therapy: Hormone therapy is a treatment that decelerates or stops the development of breast and prostate cancers that use hormones to grow.
- Stem cell transplantation: Stem cell transplants are procedures that restore blood-producing stem cells in cancer patients that have been destroyed by very high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Learn about the types of transplants, the side effects that can occur, and how stem cell transplants are used in cancer treatment.
- Precision medicine: Precision medicine helps doctors select the treatments that are most likely to help patients based on the genetic information of their disease. Learn about the role precision medicine plays in cancer treatment, including how genetic changes in a person’s cancer are identified and used to select treatments.
Diagnosis in cancer
Diagnosing cancer in its earliest stages often provides the best chance for a cure. With this in mind, talk with your doctor about what types of cancer screenings may be appropriate for you. For some cancers, studies show that screening tests can save lives by diagnosing cancer at an early stage. For other cancers, screening tests are recommended only for people at higher risk.
Several medical organizations and patient advocacy groups have recommendations and guidelines for cancer screening. Review the various guidelines with your doctor and together you can determine what is best for you based on your own risk factors for cancer.
Your physician may use one or more approaches to diagnose cancer:
- Physical exam: Your physician may feel areas of your body for lumps that may indicate a tumor. During a physical exam, you can look for abnormalities, such as changes in skin color or enlargement of an organ, that may indicate the presence of cancer.
- Lab tests: Laboratory tests, such as blood and urine tests, can help your doctor classify abnormalities that may be caused by cancer. For example, in people with leukemia, a common blood test called a complete blood count can reveal an unusual number or type of white blood cells.
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests allow your physician to inspect your bones and internal organs in a non-invasive way. Imaging tests used to diagnose cancer may include a computed tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), ultrasound, and x-ray, etc.,
- Biopsy: During a biopsy, your doctor collects a sample of cells to analyze in the laboratory. There are several ways to collect a sample. The biopsy procedure that is right for you depends on your type of cancer and its location. In most belongings, a biopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose cancer.
In the laboratory, doctors look at cancer cell samples under a microscope. Normal cancer cells appear uniform, with similar sizes and an orderly organization. Cancer cells look less orderly, with different sizes, and with no apparent organization.
Stages of cancer
Once cancer is diagnosed, your physician will work to control the extent (stage) of your cancer. Your doctor uses the stage of your cancer to determine your treatment options and your chances of a cure.
Staging tests and procedures may include imaging tests, such as bone scans or X-rays, to see if cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer stages are usually indicated by Roman numerals, I through IV, with higher numbers indicating more advanced cancer. In some cases, the stage of cancer is indicated by letters or words.