Cancer, also known as the malignant tumor, is a group of diseases involving uncontrolled cell growth with the potential of spreading to other parts of the body and invading it. Although it sound dangerous, not all tumors are cancerous. There are over hundred types of cancer and each is classified by the type of cell initially affected. Depending on the malignancy of the tumor a patient undergoes the required treatment. Tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous and circulatory system.
A new lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, a change in bowel movements are a few symptoms of cancer. There is no one typical reason or virus for cancer. There are many things responsible for it:
It occurs when a cell’s gene mutation makes the cell unable to correct the DNA damage and unable to commit suicide. Carcinogens are a class of substances that are responsible for damaging DNA, promoting or aiding cancer. Tobacco, asbestos, arsenic, radiations such as Gamma and X-rays, the sun and the compounds in car exhaust fumes are all examples of carcinogen. They damage our body cells and their ability to function properly. Cancer may be the result of a genetic predisposition that is inherited from family members. With growing age, the number of possible cancer-causing mutations in our DNA also increases.
Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths, another 10% is due to obesity, a poor diet, lack of physical activity and consumption of alcohol. Certain infections, exposure to radiation and environmental pollutants are responsible for about 20% of cancers in the developing countries.
There are many types of cancer. The most common types of cancer in males are lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer. In females the most common types of cancer are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer.
It is usually treated using a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery and targeted therapy. It is very important to detect the pain and symptoms. Palliative care is an important aspect in cancer during the advanced stages. The chance of survival depends on the type of cancer and the extent of the disease at the start of treatment.
Many cancers can be prevented by not smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, eating vegetables, fruits and food grains, getting vaccinated against certain infections, not consuming too much alcohol, red meat and avoiding too much exposure to sunlight.