Cancer is a fatal disease in which the cells are divided that cannot be controlled. This division may result in damage to the immune system, other impairments, and tumors. According to an estimate, around 15.5 million people are suffering from cancer in the United States in 2018. This article discusses what cancer is, its different types, symptoms, how it develops, what treatment options can be best to treat, and what preventions can be made to increase the quality of life.
What Is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease which results because of the changes in cells that cause the divisions of cells and growth which becomes uncontrolled. Some specific types of this disease may cause quick cell growth and the cell growth becomes slower in some other types. Also, the cell growth is visible in some specific types of cancer which are known as the tumors. On the other hand, cell growth is not visible in some other types, such as leukemia.
Most of the cells of our body have to perform their particular functions on the basis of their fixed lifespans. It may seem surprising to you that the death of a cell is a beneficial and natural process. This process is known as apoptosis. A cell gets guidelines to die as the other cell needs to take its place for better functioning. Cancerous cells interrupt the instructions that allow these cells to stop dying and dividing. Resultantly, they start growing in the body and use the nutrients and oxygen that is required to the other cells to complete their necessities. In this way, the tumors can be formed and they impair the complete immune system. Not only this, but they don’t allow the body to do its proper functioning. Cancerous cells can appear in a specific area of the body or they can also spread to the other areas. Different things happen in each case.
Signs and symptoms depend on the specific type of cancer and various other factors. However, it is necessary to know the warning signs and symptoms so that if a person is having them, he can contact his doctor. Early diagnosis is necessary to get better treatment. For instance, breast cancer may present in the form a nipple discharge or a lump in the breast. On the other hand, metastatic breast cancer can have some other symptoms including fatigue, pain, and seizures. Some of the patients don’t even get any signs & symptoms.
According to the American Cancer Society, 8 symptoms & warning signs can help in the identification of cancer. So, the person knows he needs medical assistance. Have a look at these signs!
- Change in the bladder or bowel habits
- A severe sore throat that doesn’t seem to move towards healing
- The apparent change in the thickness, shape, color, or size of a mole or wart
- Hoarseness or nagging cough
- Issue in swallowing
- Thickening of the lump
- Unusual discharge or bleeding from the wart
Some other symptoms and signs may help in alerting the person as well as his doctor to the possibility of cancer. These signs include;
- Unexplained loss of appetite
- Immediate weight loss
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Usual treatment doesn’t work for the treatment of infections
- Unusual and unexplainable pain in the bones and body parts that can become even worse
- Fevers that may persist for a long time but always unexplained
A person having any of these symptoms or signs need to consult their doctor on an immediate basis. Getting detailed checkup and done with the tests is necessary to know if you are having any health issue or not. Here, you need to know that these signs and symptoms do not always signify that you are having cancer, they can be the onset of another casual disease. But still, getting timely checkup is important.
Many types of cancers can appear with the above-mentioned symptoms, but some others may not have any of these symptoms. For instance, lung cancer is a type of fatal disease that just come with the symptoms of pain (mild or severe). However, this pain is usually felt in the chest area. Also, unusual bleeding may happen to the patient but only when he coughs. Having intense fatigue and shortness of breath are some other signs of lung cancer.
As cancer comes with a number of types with a huge number of specific and non-specific symptoms, so the best way to learn the particular symptoms is to learn about them separately. You need to spend a few moments to do authentic research regarding the symptoms of cancer in the specific body part where you are feeling some difference. It can help you a lot to get an accurate answer to your question. On the contrary, you can do the search on a specific body part and which symptoms can reveal an issue in that particular body part. Following are the examples of the process that you can perform to get enough information related to the symptoms.
- Top search engines are one of the best ways to do search for your problem. You can find a list of the links to cancer and get to the heading of symptoms to know if this is the information that you want to get or not. Also, you may simply type your symptom in the search bar. For example, type ‘blood in urine and cancer’ and you will get a number of websites. Go for the authentic websites and get the details.
- Another way is to type the specific body area and mention the name of the disease (cancer) with it. For example, write ‘lungs and cancer’ in the search bar and you will get a number of websites. Again you have to read the information on credible websites to know the answer.
- The important thing that you need to consider while doing this search is that not all websites are authentic and credible because most of them are not reviewed by the medical experts. Hence, Tabib.pk always put the information by getting it from medical experts.
In case, the type of cancer is not known or it is not diagnosed, then you can do more research on the basis of your issue. Hence, the better among all is to consult your doctor.
A number of causes may lead to cancer. When you know the causes, then you can prevent them.
For instance, a report of 2014 reveals that more than 4 lacs 80 thousand people have died in the United States because of the smoking cigarettes. Smoking is not the sole cause of cancer. Following is the list of risk factors. Have a look!
- Poor nutrition
- Physical inactivity
- Increased body weight
- Consuming more alcohol
Some other causes of the disease are not avoidable. Age is one of the most significant risks that are not preventable. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 87 percent of the people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer in individuals ages 50 years or more.
Is Cancer Genetic?
It is one of the main concerns that you should be focused on. Knowing if the disease is genetics or not is important to treat it. According to medical experts, genetic factors can play their role in the onset of this disease. The genetic code of an individual can describe when these cells would be expired and divided. Their changes depend on the genes and they may lead to defective instructions and may result in cancer. The production of proteins in the cells also depends on the genes. After birth, some changes may happen in the genes because of the increased sun exposure and smoking. Some other changes can also be made into the genes because of the chemical signals. At last, a specific kind of cancer is predisposition through inherited. This is discussed as hereditary cancer syndrome. It contributes to the development of about 5 to 10 percent of cases related to cancer.
Stages Of Cancer
Thanks to the technology that it can be known that at which stage the person is suffering from cancer. Measuring the staging helps to know how far the infection is caused by the body when it is diagnosed. It is measured by using tests and scans. It is essential to know at which stage cancer lies. It helps the doctor to diagnose the problem and to create a treatment plan which will work perfectly. Furthermore, it helps the individual to understand his situation completely so that he can know further circumstances.
Different staging systems are used for this purpose. However, the following 2 are the most common among all.
- Numbered Cancer Stage System
- TNM System
1. Stage 0 Cancer
At this stage, cancer attacks the cells but still it is in the place from where it doesn’t spread.
2. Stage 1 Cancer
On this stage, cancer remains in the same area or spread near the tissues. Hence, it doesn’t spread into other areas of the body or lymph nodes.
3. Stage 2 & 3 Cancer
On this stage, the cancer infection spreads to the lymph nodes or in the nearby tissues.
4. Stage 4 Cancer
This is considered the last stage of cancer when it spreads to other areas of the body. This is known as metastatic cancer.
Types of Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most happened types of cancer in the United States. This type is followed by prostate and lung cancers. This statement is one the basis of the research conducted by the National Cancer Institute.
Every year, above 40,000 individuals in the United States are diagnosed with any of the following kinds of cancer. Have a look at these types;
- Rectal and colon
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer has almost more than 200 types. Following are the details regarding some other types!
- Cancers related to Central Nervous System
- Lymphoma and myeloma
New medicines and treatment technologies are introduced for the treatment of cancer. Usually, doctors prescribe the medicines or other technologies of the treatments on the basis of the type of cancer. Overall health is also concerned while prescribing treatment.
Following are the examples of cancer treatments.
- Hormone Therapy – Medicines are prescribed to perform hormone therapy. It helps in changing the specific hormones that interfere with the capability of the body to generate them. This approach is commonly used in prostate & breast cancers because hormones play an essential role in such kind of cancer.
- Chemotherapy – The purpose of chemotherapy is to kill the cancerous cells by using medicines. These medicines target the division of cells. Also, the medicines used in this therapy helps in shrinking tumors. However, the side-effects of this therapy are enormous and severe.
- Precision Medicine – Precision medicine is also known as the technique of using personalized medicines to treat cancer. It is the latest approach. Genetic testing is performed to identify which treatments will work specific type of cancer in an individual case. Every person is different and cancer attacks each person differently, so this treatment helps to know the medicines that can affect the condition of an individual. Researches have revealed that such type of treatment can treat almost all kinds of cancer.
- Immunotherapy – Particular medicines and other treatment technologies are used in this approach to increase the immune system. Also, it works to fight the cells that cause cancer. Adoptive cell transfer and checkpoint inhibitors are the basic examples of Immunotherapy.
- Stem Cell Therapy – It is one of the latest techniques to treat cancer. This type of treatment is beneficial for the patients who have cancer-related to blood cells including lymphoma and leukemia. The specific cells are removed from the body both red and white blood cells, whichever is required. These cells are damaged through radiation or chemotherapy before removing them through stem cell therapy. The cells are then strengthened by the lab technicians so that they can again inject into the body.
- Radiation Therapy – High amount of the radiations is utilized in this type of therapy to kill cells that lead to cancer. The radiation may be recommended to shrink or damage the tumor before conducting surgery in some cases.
- Surgery – Usually, surgery is recommended as part of the treatment plan when the patient is having a cancerous tumor. In addition to it, the lymph nodes can be removed by the surgeon so that the disease doesn’t spread anymore.
- Other Therapies – Some other therapies are also conducted on the basis of an individual case. These types of therapies help to prevent the cancerous cells to spread more. Monoclonal antibodies and small-molecule drugs are most important techniques of these therapies.
Note: A health expert may recommend more than one treatments in a specific case to increase the effectiveness.
Different complications may happen while a person is having cancer. Various complications are related to the stage and type of cancer. Though some complications are common among all kinds of cancer.
- Hair loss (usually, occurs after treatment)
- Loss of appetite
- Immune system
On the basis of the American Cancer Society, the death rate because of cancer has declined by 26 percent between 1991-2015. When an individual is suffering from the cancer, his outlook depends on the basis on which the cancer spreads. It may be the location, level of severity, and types.
The symptoms and signs should be taken into the view so that the detection can be made in the early stage. So, there is the need to spread awareness regarding the side-effects of smoking and other habits which may lead to the cancer.
Cancer makes the divisions of the cells in an uncontrollable manner. Also, this fatal disease leads the patients to die before their lifecycle.
Different factors play their role in causing the cancer. They include genetic aspects and other lifestyle choices (smoking, consuming more alcohol, etc.) as they can contribute to the onset of this disease. A number of elements influence the manner in which DNA communicates with the cells which lead to the death and division of the cells.
Breast cancer is the most common kind among the residents of the United States after nonmelanoma skin cancer. Though lung cancer is known as one of the leading reasons for the death of patients having cancer.
Various treatments are available to treat the ailment, however, they are improving with every passing day. Chemotherapy, surgical method, and radiation therapy are mostly used in treatment methods. These methods are working successfully in treating the patients and improving their quality of life. Some patients are also moving towards precision medicine, stem cell transplantation, and related techniques to get a boost in their life.
As a result, the diagnosis, as well as death rates of the cancer, are minimizing ever year.