IntroductionCancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells. This can happen anywhere in the human body. Cancer is one of the highest causes of mortality around the world. There are different types of cancer. Let us check them in detail.
Types of Cancer
SymptomsThe cancer symptoms vary depending on their location and stage (TNM Stage). Most common symptoms are increased tissue seen as a lump or tumor, unexpected bleeding, fatigue, weight loss, fever etc. Most symptoms are specifically related to the origin and location of cancer.
Cancer stages Or TNM StagingTNM staging is a useful tool for diagnosing the extent of the cancerous tissue in the human body. With this staging, one can conclude whether the cancer is an advanced stage or at the beginning stage.
Based on the above three criteria the extent of a cancer is named according to the following findings
So if a doctor or any oncologist describes cancer as T2N0M0 then you can refer to the TNM staging and understand the extent of cancer.
Common and less specific classifications of cancers that is most widely used by common people
Often the cancer staging is evaluated by analyzing the tissue sample called as a biopsy. We can also determine the prognosis of cancer by determining the stage and its location.
Most common cancers among men, women, and children
CausesMajority of the cancer cause is due to environmental factors which mutate the genes resulting in uncontrollable multiplication of cells. 90% of the cancers are due to the mutation of genes. Other causes include chemicals such as tobacco, alcohol, gutkha chewing, betel nut chewing, inhalation of hazardous chemicals such as benzene and physical agents such as asbestos, lead etc. Diet and obesity can also lead to various forms of cancers. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation will result in various forms of skin cancer. Infections by certain viruses (Human Papilloma Virus) and bacteria can also cause cancers. Other causes include inheritance of defective genes, hormonal imbalance can also result in cancer. Some autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease can predispose the risk of causing gastrointestinal cancer.
Different types of Cancer
DiagnosisThe usual diagnosis of cancer can be done by preliminary screenings such as X-Ray, CT Scans, MRI, blood tests, endoscopy, ultrasound etc. These tests initially locate the cancerous tissue in the human body. Later the tissue sample is taken for biopsy to accurately determine the extent of cancer. This test is done by a Pathologist.
In this diagnosis, one must remember that metastatic cancer means that cancer that has developed in a particular organ or tissue is not its site of origin. If a doctor says metastatic cancer to lungs, it means cancer has spread to lungs from a different point of origin.
Treatment The treatment of cancer depends on the stage and location. The basic treatment includes surgical removal of cancerous mass or tissue later followed by various treatment modalities:
There are other treatments available and some of them are cancer-specific such as cytotoxic therapy, angiogenesis therapy etc. Intense research is going on these days to develop and find new treatment modalities. Many drugs have been invented that have least side effects.
Depending on the stage and location of cancer, a patient may require surgery along with chemotherapy, radiation therapy etc.
PrognosisPrognosis depends on the stage of cancer. The mortality rate increases with increased stage of cancer. Usually, cancer which has metastasized has high mortality rate and the life expectancy of such individual on average is 5 years. There is a high chance of forming secondary cancer in survival patients. Although there are many instances where the cancer was cured completely even in advanced stages with no incidence of secondary cancer, it is not a compulsion in every case. Cancer is one of the major cause of mortality around the world. Nearly 13.7% of deaths (out of all other deaths) are due cancer.
The prognosis depends on cancer type, stage, age and overall health of the patient. There are many types of research going on which aims at enhancing the survival rate. Nowadays a patient with a life expectancy of 3-6 months is able to survive more than 5 years with new drugs and treatment modalities. There will be definite side effects of present treatment options available.
The prognosis also depends on the support they get from the family and the society. Most societies think this as a long-term illness which will ultimately result in death. The apparent stigma also affects the outcome. The economic situation is another key role in prognosis. This is reflected in surveys stating that the cancer prognosis is worse in developing countries than developed countries.
How to give support to a Cancer patient? These days moral support is giving great results than medical treatments. Understanding their pain and suffering and easing them in the best way you can support them.
The more you make them feel comfortable in your presence the better they recover. Remember that they will be in immense depression because of their state and they have a tendency of developing pessimism. They try to become introvert and hide their feelings. Show them a lot of love and affection. Show them that you are always there and will lend a shoulder when needed. Try to seek palliative care if available.
How to avoid Cancer?Since environmental factors are the major causes of cancer, having a healthy life is the best way to avoid the risk of cancer incidence. Avoid carcinogenic agents such as smoking (tobacco use), alcohol, processed foods, foods that contain preservatives, junk food etc. Research proved that consumption of red meat will increase the risk of cancer.
Having a planned and healthy lifestyle will always keep cancer at bay. Go for regular full-body checkups at your nearest hospital. Remember that recognizing cancer at early stages is very important to cure it completely.
Every year February 4th is marked as World Cancer Day to raise awareness in people to stay healthy and encourage in prevention, detection, and treatment for cancer.
Raise awareness about this dreadful disease and remove all the taboos about cancer in this society or within your family itself. Deep medical research is going on to develop medicines and remedies to prevent cancer and hence no one needs to worry if he/she has cancer. Stay Healthy, Stay Educated, Stay Safe.
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