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    Health    Cancer
    Also called: Carcinoma, Malignancy, Neoplasms, Tumor

    Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don't need them, and old cells don't die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren't cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.

    Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Most treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some may involve hormone therapy, biologic therapy, or stem cell transplantation.

    NIH: National Cancer Institute

    Symptoms of Cancer

    The following features are indicative of Cancer:
    • unintentional weight loss
    • fever
    • excessive fatigue
    • changes to the skin
    • pneumonia
    • difficulty in swallowing
    • narrowing in the bowel
    • coughing up blood
    It is possible that Cancer shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
    References: 1

    Common Causes of Cancer

    The following are the most common causes of Cancer:
    • exposure to chemicals
    • exposure to ionizing radiation
    • exposure to non-ionizing ultraviolet radiation
    • heredity
    • some hormones imbalance
    References: 1

    Risk Factors of Cancer

    The following factors may increase the likelihood of Cancer:
    • increasing age
    • physical inactivity
    • bacterial infection
    • passive smoking
    • inherited mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2
    • environmental factors

    Prevention of Cancer

    Yes, it may be possible to prevent Cancer. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
    • do not use tobacco
    • control excess weight
    • be physically active
    • do not drink alcohol
    • prevent yourself from sexually transmitted infections
    • avoid exposure to polluted environment
    References: 2

    Occurrence of Cancer.

    Degree of Occurrence

    The following are number of Cancer cases seen each year worldwide:
    • Very common > 10 Million cases

    Common Age Group

    Cancer most commonly occurs in the following age group:
    • Can happen at any age

    Common Gender

    Cancer most commonly occurs in the following gender:
    • Not gender specific
    References: 3, 4

    Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Cancer

    The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Cancer:
    • Blood tests: To examine the physiological and biochemical states
    • CT scans: To create detailed pictures of areas inside the body
    • Endoscopy: To examine the interior of a hollow organ
    • Cytogenetics: To identify information about molecular changes
    • Immunohistochemistry: To analyse information about molecular changes
    References: 5

    Doctor for Diagnosis of Cancer:

    Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Cancer:
    • Anesthesiologist
    • Dermatologist
    • Dietitian
    • Dosimetrist
    • Endocrinologist
    • Enterostomal therapist
    • Gastroenterologist
    • Gynecologist
    • Hematologist
    • Medical oncologist
    • Neonatologist
    • Nephrologist
    • Neurosurgeon
    • Oncologist
    • Palliative care specialists
    • Pediatric oncologist
    • Physical therapist
    • Psychiatrist
    • Psychologist
    • Radiation oncologist
    • Surgical oncologist

    Complications of Cancer if Untreated

    Yes, Cancer causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Cancer is left untreated:
    • may be fatal
    References: 6

    Procedures for Treatment of Cancer

    The following procedures are used to treat Cancer:
    • Surgery: Removes the affected organ before cancer spread to other part
    • Radiation therapy: Damage the cancer cells
    • Chemotherapy: Helps in inhibiting the cancer growth
    • Stem cell transplant: Replaces the diseased bone marrow
    • Immunotherapy: Uses the body's immune system to fight against cancer
    • Hormone therapy: Removing some hormones from the body may cause the cancer cells to stop growing
    References: 7, 8

    Self-care for Cancer

    The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Cancer:
    • Stop smoking: Stopping smoking will reduce the risk of cancer in the future
    • Avoid excessive sun exposure: Reduces the risk of skin cancer
    • Eat healthy diet: Choose a diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables
    • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise is linked to a lower risk of cancer
    • Reduce alcohol consumption: Drink alcohol in moderation
    References: 9

    Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Cancer

    The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Cancer:
    • Acupuncture: Helpful in pain management
    • Massage therapy: Reduces pain, nausea, fatigue and depression caused due to cancer
    • Yoga: Reduces emotional strain during treatment
    References: 10

    Patient Support for Treatment of Cancer

    The following actions may help Cancer patients:
    • Learn about cancer: Helpful in making treatment decisions
    • Keep friends and family close: Keeping your close relationships gives you emotional support
    References: 11

    Time for Treatment of Cancer

    While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Cancer to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
    • More than 1 year
    References: 12

    Questions - Cancer

    Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled reproduction and growth of abnormal cells. There are many types of cancers and they can be diagnosed through biopsy of the tumor, blood tests, bone marrow biopsy and x-rays among others. Due to the variability of types and locations, different tests are used to identify different types of cancer. A chest x-ray is commonly used in the diagnosis of lung cancer and other diseases.
    1. Cancer. MedlinePlus. URL: Accessed April 11, 2018. 
    2. Chest X-ray. MedlinePlus URL: Accessed April 11, 2018.
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    Cancer is not just one disease, is many diseases. Therefore, symptoms and their presentation differ depending on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body and this can occur in any organ or tissue in the body. Symptoms of cancer depend on the type and the location of cancer, some types of cancer might not have any symptoms while others might not have symptoms until the disease has reached a more advanced stage.
    1. Cancer. MedlinePlus. URL: Accessed April 11, 2018
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    1. Wikipedia Cancer - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    2. Wikipedia Cancer - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    3. National Cancer Institute Cancer Statistics - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    4. Ahmedin Jemal, Freddie Bray, Melissa M.Center, Jacques Ferlay, Elizabeth Ward, David Forman Global cancer statistics - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    5. American Cancer Society Health Professionals Associated With Cancer Care - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    6. Esserman LJ, Thompson IM, Reid B, et al. Addressing overdiagnosis and overtreatment in cancer: a prescription for change. Lancet Oncol. 2014;15(6):e234-42.a - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    7. American Cancer Society Can Childhood Cancers Be Prevented? - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    8. Mayo Clinic Cancer Treatments and drugs - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    9. Mayo clinic Cancer Prevention - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    10. Mayo Clinic Cancer Alternative medicine - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    11. Mayo Clinic Cancer Coping and support - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    12. Wikipedia Treatment of cancer - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    13. Source:

    Last updated date

    This page was last updated on 8/07/2018.
    This page provides information for Cancer.