Cancer is a deadly disease, and suffering from it can be very stressful, depressing, and frightening at the same time. From diagnosis to recovery, taking care of your health is important to embark on the journey of becoming a cancer survivor.
What is Cancer, and How Does it Start?
Cancer is a disease that occurs when there is an abnormal growth of cells in the body. A large group of diseases happens when normal cells transform into cancerous cells that replicate themselves and spread.
Our body is an intelligent system. When toxins increase in the body, it starts to create lumps at the earlier stage. But when these lumps are ignored and not taken care of, they become cancerous cells. It occurs when the programming of the cell is disrupted, and the growth becomes uncontrolled due to several factors. Cancer starts when the body’s genes mutate, leading to the formation of cancerous cells. These cells start to create cancer clusters and tumors.
For example, abnormal cells are developed in the bone marrow in blood cancer. Eventually, these abnormal cells multiply in an uncontrolled manner and reduce the count of normal blood cells.
Types of Cancer –
Broadly there are 19 types of cancer, and the most common of them are the following –
- Breast cancer: Women are mostly affected by breast cancer, and about 1% of men are affected. It occurs when the breast cells start to grow abnormally, and the division in them becomes more rapid. It is found that hormonal, lifestyle, and environmental factors increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Lung cancer: It can further be divided into 2 types. These are non-small cell cancer and small cell lung cancer. It is found that 90% of lung cancer is caused due to smoking and pollution in cities.
- Prostate cancer: This cancer is found in one out of 9 men. It is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate.
- Colorectal Cancer: This type of cancer is attributed to high fat and low fiber diet. It is very prevalent in richer countries.
- Blood cancers: The most common types are leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Blood cancer is generally caused when there are mutations in the DNA within the blood cells.
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What are Cancer Symptoms?
Cancer is one of the most complicated diseases and may cause noticeable symptoms that canvas in quickly. Earlier symptoms of developing cancer may include –
- Unexpected weight loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Persistent pain
- Fever that occurs especially at night
Danger Signs –
If the earlier symptoms are overlooked, and the cancer is left untreated, it may cause additional symptoms recorded as danger signals.
These are –
- Persistent sores common cold sores can disappear after a few days, but cancer sores do not.
- Lumps or masses formed under the skin don’t go away easily and require immediate medical attention.
- Indigestion or change in bowel habits should be reported as they are often caused in the intestinal tract.
- Unexplained or abnormal bleeding from any opening requires immediate investigation by a physician. Coughing up or vomiting blood or blood in the urine please or rectal bleeding are common cancer symptoms.
- The persistent hoarseness or cough of abnormal durations can identify cancer of the larynx, respiratory passages, or lungs.
- Excessive unexplained weight loss is also a sign of hidden cancer and should be reported immediately.
- Difficulty in breathing or swallowing is also one of the danger signs.
Causes of Cancer –
It is very difficult to identify the definite cause of cancer. However, certain carcinogenic substances can increase the chances of developing cancer. For example, cancer is a common disease in people who smoke or chew tobacco. Cancer can also be the result of a genetic disorder. Medical researchers have estimated that 5 to 12% of cancers result from inherited genetic mutations that cannot be controlled.
Prevention of Cancer –
Following are some risk factors that you can control and prevent yourself from developing cancer –
- Say no to smoking: smoking cigarettes, cigars, or e-cigarettes increases the risk of developing lung pancreatic, oesophageal, and oral cancer.
- Diet: having a high fat or high sugar content in your diet exposes you to the risk of many types of cancer. Hence, you can seek guidance about a proper diet from a healthcare provider.
- Exercise: you are more vulnerable to diseases if your body is not active and does not perform any physical exercises. Therefore, add exercises to your daily routine.
- Environment: with increasing pollution in the environment, exposure to toxins like asbestos, pesticides, and radon is likely to increase the risk of developing cancer.
- Protect yourself against sun damage: Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can significantly lead to skin cancer.
- Hormone therapy: Women taking hormone replacement therapy have an increased risk for breast and endometrial cancer.
To prevent cancer, you should go through regular cancer screening.
Treatment of Cancer –
With recent advancements in the medical field, it has become quite easy to detect and cure cancer. Several treatments are available for cancer, and sometimes these treatments can be combined according to your situation.
Some of the most common cancer treatments include –
- Chemotherapy: It is a treatment that uses powerful drugs to destroy cancer cells. This treatment can also be applied directly to the specific area affected.
- Radiation therapy: With the use of high dosages of radiation, cancerous cells can be killed. It is very common for radiation therapy to be combined with chemotherapy.
- Surgery: If the cancer tumors haven’t spread, they can be removed through surgery. It can be combined with chemotherapy or radiation to shrink the tumor and proceed with the surgery.
- Biological response modifier therapy: It is a treatment that changes your body’s natural process and helps stimulate your immune system to perform more effectively.
- Bone marrow transplant: It is also called stem cell plantation. In this process, the damaged cell is replaced by a healthy one.
Side Effects of Cancer Treatment –
It is very important to balance the treatment that destroys the malignant cells so they don’t leave a trace of side effects. Yet, all cancer treatments have side effects.
The most common of them are –
- Nausea and vomiting
However, making little changes in your daily habits can help you prevent this life-threatening disease. Once diagnosed with cancer, you must undergo the necessary treatment and combat this disease to return even stronger and healthier.