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Diseases » Cancer- Causes, treatment and prevention

Cancer- Causes, Treatment and Prevetion


What is Cancer? What are signs and symptoms of cancer? What we should know about cancer? How to prevent cancer?


                                                                                                                                                                                       Courtesy: Flickr

Cancer is the out of control multiplication of cells in the body which are abnormal. Cancer advances when the body’s immunity mechanism stops working. In normal condition cell grows, and divide to form new cells and old cells are replaced by new cells when they are damaged or grow old. In cancer cell growth continues with old cells even when they are damaged they do not die, and also they keep on generating new cells which is abnormal.

Cancer is just the general name of the disease which has many types. When these additional cells form a tissue mass, it is called a tumor. Not all type of cancers form tumors. Cancerous tumors are of two types benign and malignant. In Malignant Type of tumor, cells can spread or attack to nearby tissues. As these tumors grow, some of cancer cells can detach and move to other organs in the body through the lymphatic system and blood and there they form new tumor distant from the original tumor.

While, benign tumors are large tumor which are not dangerous and they do not spread or attack nearby tissues. When benign tumor is removed from the body, they generally do not grow again, while malignant tumors occasionally do. But Benign brain tumors can be dangerous.

There are three stages of cancer and cancer cure is possible in early stages of cancer, in last stage it may be difficult to cure cancer.

Causes of cancer:

There are many researches going on for cancer. There is not any particular cause of cancer found but there are many factors which may be contributing for cancer. Some of the factors one can control to prevent cancer while some of the factors like age, family history is impossible to control. Family history of some types of cancer can be signal of Inherited cancer syndrome.

Some of the following risk factors

  1.  Age factor: for cancer prone people growing age is the most risking factor, like according to research studies there is a median age for diagnosis of cancer which is 66 years. This means some may develop cancer before this age group and some may be after this age. There is specific median age for different types of cancer like for breast cancer diagnosis the median age is said to be 61 years. For colorectal cancer diagnosis age is 68 years. For lung cancer it is 70 years. But some are not possible to avoid, particularly if they are present in the air we inhale, the water we regularly drink, the food.Some substances which are called as carcinogens are not necessary will cause cancer many other influence play roles in cancer causing like duration of exposure and also genetic makeup of the person.

But there is no age limit to disease, it can occur at any age. For example, bone cancer is most often detected among individuals below age 20. And other type of cancer like leukemia’s are detected mostly in children and teenagers under 20 years of age in about 10% of cases. Other types of cancer like neuroblastoma, are mostly detected in children or teenagers than in adults.

2. Alcohol consumption: people who are addicted or who drink more than moderate amount are more prone to cancers of liver, mouth, larynx, throat cancer and breast cancer. Risk levels are high for those who drink and also addicted to tobacco.

3.  Cancer causing agents in environment: there are some carcinogens present in the environment that can damage DNA.  exposures to these substances like chemicals in smoke of tobacco or harmful radiation like ultraviolet(UV) rays from the sun. People can take measures to avoid exposures of these harmful agents.

4.  Inflammation which is chronic: Inflammation is a physiological response which is normal it helps to heal tissues which are damaged. process of inflammation ends when tissue is repaired. In chronic inflammation, the process of inflammation might begin without any injury and it never end. Chronic inflammation might be initiated by never ending infections, for normal tissue there is abnormal immune reactions. chronic inflammation can lead to DNA damage which in turn cause cancer. like, people suffering from chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn disease, may have increase rate of colon cancer.

5.  Some Infectious Agents: some infectious agents like viruses, bacteria and parasites, can cause cancer in the people who are suffering from the same or also raise the risk of cancer. Certain viruses can disturb the normal control on growth of cell and cell division. Some virus like Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which is known for causing AIDS increase the risk of cancer as they attack immune system of the body.

6.  Exposure to radiation: some radiations like x rays, gamma rays have ionizing radiation, which are very powerful and can damage DNA and cause cancer.

7.  Genetics: some types of cancer run in some families, but most of the types of cancers are not evidently related to the genes we inherit.  Changes in the Gene that begin in one cell over the progress of an individual's life cause cancers[1].

Types of cancer

there are many types of cancer, some of the commonest cancer types are listed below:

  1.  Anal cancer
  2. Breast cancer
  3. Ovarian cancer
  4. Liver cancer
  5. Skin cancer
  6. Stomach cancer
  7. Cervical cancer
  8. Lung cancer
  9. Gall bladder cancer
  10. Eye cancer

Symptoms of cancer

These are some generals signs and symptoms of cancer, having them does not mean you suffer from cancer as they also seen in other conditions too but if these symptoms are long lasting and getting worse then you should visit your doctor for finding out the cause[2].

  1. Sudden weight loss: when there is sudden loss of weight (more than 5 kgs) with no reason, this may be the first alarming sign of cancer. As the first symptom of cancer most of the time is unexplained weight loss. This is seen mostly in pancreas and stomach cancers
  2. Fever: it is one of the most common symptom of cancer and it is more frequent when there is spread of cancer and it is mostly experienced during treatment of cancer as it affects the immune system of the body. Fever may be the beginning sign of cancer types like leukemia
  3. Easy fatigue: This is seen when cancer progresses, there is fatigue with extreme tiredness which does not get better even with rest. Some cancer causes unusual blood loss which may even lead to fatigue.
  4. Pain: Pain may be an initial symptom for some cancers like cancer of bone or cancer of testicular. For brain tumor there may be a headache that does not get well with treatment or prolong headache without relief. For the cancer of ovary or colon, there may be symptom of Back pain. Pain due to cancer may show the sign that cancer has already started spreading.
  5. Changes in skin: Along with skin cancer there are other cancers too which affects skin like darkening of skin, itching or redness unusual.
  6. Disturbance in bowel: There may be long time constipation or diarrhea, which may not get cured or pain during passing stools or urine may be the sign of colon or bladder cancer.
  7. Long time sores: Sores which do not heal quickly may be the alarming sign of the cancer. Especially in skin cancer there may be skin sores which bleed a lot and do not heal. Or in oral cancer there are sores in mouth which do not heal, they should take early measures for cancer prevention.
  8. White patches in the mouth: If there are white patches on tongue or in mouth they are called as leukoplakia which is pre-cancerous stage and may lead to oral cancer if not treated.
  9. Bleeding: Unusual bleeding in the cough or stools may be the early or advanced sign of cancer of lungs or colon. Unusual bleeding from any orifice is the sign of cancer
  10. Lumps in the skin: There may be thick mass or lump like felt in the skin at some parts of the body, usually in breast cancer there is lump like felt on breast which may be increasing in size.

Other cancer symptoms are specific to particular type of cancer.

Treatment of cancer

As everybody is aware of the cancer and its power, treatment of cancer depends upon its stage. There are many alternative therapies which can be tried along with cancer treatment which may help cancer patients to improve their immunity and help them to relieve their symptoms:

  • One can go for nutritional therapy with chemotherapy as this may help improve immunity of the person.
  • There are many complementary therapies which concentrate on increasing relaxation and decreasing stress. They may help to tranquil your emotions, relieve nervousness, and increase your sense of health and happiness. Like classical homoeopathy treatment and acupuncture.
  • There is growing evidence that certain complementary therapies help to control few of the symptoms and ill effects of cancer and its treatments. Like, acupuncture therapy can help to relieve illness caused by certain chemotherapy medications. Acupuncture also help to relieve symptoms of post-surgery pain for lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Many patients prefer complementary therapies as they are non-toxic and more natural.
  • Certain types of complementary medicine, such as specific herbal remedies, may cause increased side effects.
  • Staying optimistic improves the health
  • Having an optimistic viewpoint is a significant part of managing with cancer. Even if your cancer might be tough to cure, you should have confidence for a cure. This is normal and very vital part of handling with having cancer[4].

Prevention of cancer

Cancer is one of the life threating disease where is mostly incurable in later stages, following are the ways which may help to prevent the cancer and its progress[3].

  • You should always avoid tobacco in all forms
  • You should try and maintain good healthy weight.
  • You should bring regular physical activity in practice.
  • You should eat balanced nutrition rich diet with adequate fruits and vegetables (healthy eating).
  • Avoid alcohol completely or limit its intake.
  • You should protect your skin from UV rays
  • You should know your family history and health risks.
  • You should go for regular health checkups and screening tests for cancers.
  • You should not avoid signs of prolong illness 

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