Introduction to cancer
Cancer is an ‘abnormal growth of cells’. The cancer cells continuously multiply in spite of lack of ‘space’ and ‘nutrition’. Cancer cells can be differentiated from the other healthy cells in being different in shape, improper function and the capacity to spread to other parts of the body. The study of cancer and tumors is called as ‘Oncology’. Cancer is not a single disease but is a group of diseases.
Occurance of Cancer in different groups (Epidemiology)
Prevalence of cancer in different regions of the world varies depending on the type of cancer occurring in that particular region. Epidemiological studies suggest that breast cancer and prostrate cancer are common in the developed countries of the world, whereas cervical cancer and stomach cancer occur more frequently in developing countries. Lung cancers seem to have high incidence in both developed and developing countries.1
Classification of cancer
Cancer is named based on the part of the body from where it originates.
Cancers can be classified based on its location and origin as:
Sarcoma: These are malignant tumors growing from the ‘connective tissues’ like fat, muscles, tendons and bones.
Lymphoma: This originates from the ‘lymph nodes’ of the lymphatic system. Lymphomas are further divided into Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Myeloma: This kind of cancer grows on the ‘bone marrow’. Sometimes, the myeloma cells get collected in one bone marrow and form single tumor called ‘plasm
acytoma’ or the myeloma cells get collected in numerous bones forming ‘multiple myeloma’.
Apart from this, cancers are of mixed types also.
Signs and symptoms of cancer
The signs and symptoms of cancer depend on the particular type of cancer affecting the person.
Causes and risk factors of cancer
There are many causes for cancer, and many factors remain unknown.
Following are some of the risk factors causing cancer.
Carcinogens: Mutagens are substances, which bring about mutations of the DNA. The mutagens, which cause cancer are called carcinogens. Carcinogens like tobacco and alcohol cause lung cancer.
Radiations: Radiations of radioactive substances and prolonged exposure to ultra violet radiations causes skin cancer.
Viral and Bacterial infections: Chronic infections of hepatatis viruses like hepatitis B and hepatitis C can cause liver cancer.20 Chronic bacterial infection of Helicobacter pylori, which infects the walls of the stomach can cause gastric cancer.21
Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal imbalances are also known to cause cancer. Higher levels of estrogen can cause endometrial cancer.
Diagnosis of of cancer
Confirmatory tests are done through biopsy which involves microscopic examination of the samples from the suspected area. Biopsies are painful and are conducted in the presence of local anesthesia. Biopsies involve cutting out a piece of tissue from the suspected area with the help of a scalpel.23 Pathological examination of the biopsy helps us to know whether the tumor is ‘benign’ or ‘malignant’.
After the diagnosis, staging tests are done to know the location, growth of cancerous cell to the nearby structures and spread to different parts of the body. CT scan is done to detect cancer in different parts of the body like liver, lungs, brain, lymph nodes etc. MRI scan is done to detect cancer of the brain, bone and spinal cord. BRCA gene test
Treatment of cancer
Treatment of cancer
As cancer refers to a class of diseases, treatment of cancer depends on the type of cancer, location and the stage of cancer.
How to cope up with chemotherapy side effects
Side-effects are closely associated with all chemotherapy treatments. However, the severity of side-effects vary from the fact kind of chemotherapy being taken.
Prevention of cancer
Prevention of cancer
Prevention is the best way to reduce the risk of cancer. Risk factors can be prevented depending on the specific kind of cancer.
Natural wonder for prevention of cancer
Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases all over the world because once it progresses to a certain stage, it cannot be cured.
Management of cancer
Management of pain in the cancer
Cancer is associated with a lot of pain. Hence, symptomatic pain relief is very essential in cancer.
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Article on different cancers
- Bladder cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Colon polyps cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer
- Testicular cancer
Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: March 25, 2013