Cancer can cause many symptoms, but these symptoms are most often caused by illness, injury, benign tumors, or other problems. If you have symptoms that do not get better after a few weeks, see your doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Often, cancer does not cause pain, so do not wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor. Some of the most common symptoms are as follows:
Pain when urinating
Blood in the urine
Blood in the stools
Changes in bowel habits
Lump or firm feeling in your breast or under your arm
Nipple changes or discharge
Skin that is itchy, red, scaly, dimpled, or puckered
Cough or hoarseness that does not go away
Pain after eating (heartburn or indigestion that doesn’t go away)
Nausea and vomiting
Fatigue that is severe and lasts
Fever or night sweats for no known reason
A white or red patch on the tongue or in your mouth
Bleeding, pain, or numbness in the lip or mouth
Drooping of the face
A flesh-colored lump that bleeds or turns scaly
A new mole or a change in an existing mole
A sore that does not heal
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
Swelling or lumps anywhere such as in the neck, underarm, stomach, and groin
Weight gain or weight loss for no known reason
There are no clear reasons for cancer onset. Some of the reasons which are plausible as per researchers are as follows:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Exposure to chemicals and toxins
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Obesity and overweight.
- Genetic factors
- Exposure to UV / IR rays.
- Exposure to excessive radiation.
More about Treatment
Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.
However in Cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumors.
Many cancers form solid tumors, which are masses of tissue. Cancers of the blood, such as leukemias, generally do not form solid tumors.
Cancerous tumors are classified as malignant and benign. Malignant cancers can spread into, or invade nearby tissues. Benign tumors do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. In the case of malignant cancer cells can break off and travel to distant places in the body through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor. This process is called metastasis
Usually benign tumors, when removed, usually don’t grow back, whereas malignant tumors sometimes do. Unlike most benign tumors elsewhere in the body, benign brain tumors can be life threatening.
Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide. Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited or acquired. Acquired cancer arise during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or because of damage to DNA caused by certain environmental exposures. Cancer-causing environmental exposures include substances, such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and radiation, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Types of Cancers
There are a number of cancers occurring (approx 170 types) the more common ones are as follows:
Diagnosis of cancer can be usually divided into 3 types of tests
Lab tests are not conclusive tests, though they indicate the presence (or absence) of certain tumor markers
Imaging tests are usually used to create pictures of areas inside the body and help the doctor to see if a tumor is present. Some of the common imaging techniques used are:
- CT scan
- Nuclear scan
- Pet Scan
- Bone scan
In most cases the conclusive test for determining cancer is a biopsy. In this procedure the doctor removes a sample of tissue and sends to a pathologist. The pathologist examines the tissue under a microscope and performs other tests to conclude if the tissue is malignant.
Biopsy is done by using a needle (to draw tissue samples) or by endoscopy, where the doctor uses a light to examine areas inside the body, (like colonoscopy or bronchoscopy) or by surgery, where an area of the tissue is removed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia.
There are many types of cancer treatment. The types of treatment that you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is. Some people with cancer will have only one treatment. But most people have a combination of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. When you need treatment for cancer, you have a lot to learn and think about. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused.
When used to treat cancer, surgery is a procedure in which a surgeon removes cancer from your body. Learn the different ways that surgery is used against cancer and what you can expect before, during, and after surgery.
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Learn about the types of radiation, why side effects happen, which ones you might have, and more.
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Learn how chemotherapy works against cancer, why it causes side effects, and how it is used with other cancer treatments.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer. This page covers the types of immunotherapy, how it is used against cancer, and what you can expect during treatment.
Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread. Learn how targeted therapy works against cancer and about common side effects that may occur.
Hormone therapy is a treatment that slows or stops the growth of breast and prostate cancers that use hormones to grow. Learn about the types of hormone therapy and side effects that may happen.
Stem cell transplants are procedures that restore blood-forming stem cells in cancer patients who have had theirs destroyed by very high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Learn about the types of transplants, side effects that may occur, and how stem cell transplants are used in cancer treatment.
Precision medicine helps doctors select treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of their disease. Learn about the role precision medicine plays in cancer treatment, including how genetic changes in a person's cancer are identified and used to select treatments.
Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
Cancer treatments and cancer can cause side effects. Side effects are problems that occur when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. It is a good idea to know about the various side effects to recognise and help reduce them
- Appetite Loss
- Bleeding and Bruising (Thrombocytopenia)
- Edema (Swelling)
- Fertility Issues in Boys and Men
- Fertility Issues in Girls and Women
- Flu-Like Symptoms
- Hair Loss (Alopecia)
- Infection and Neutropenia
- Memory or Concentration Problems
- Mouth and Throat Problems
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Nerve Problems (Peripheral Neuropathy)
- Organ-Related Inflammation and Immunotherapy
- Sexual Health Issues in Men
- Sexual Health Issues in Women
- Skin and Nail Changes
- Sleep Problems
- Urinary and Bladder Problems
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Complementary medicine is treatments that are used along with standard medical treatments but are not considered to be standard treatments. One example is using acupuncture to help lessen some side effects of cancer treatment.
Alternative medicine is treatments that are used instead of standard medical treatments. One example is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of anticancer drugs that are prescribed by an oncologist.
Integrative medicine is a total approach to medical care that combines standard medicine with the CAM practices that have been shown to be safe and effective. They treat the patient's mind, body, and spirit.
Factors That are Known to Increase the Risk of Cancer
Cigarette Smoking and Tobacco Use (esp. Lung cancer, Oral cavity cancer, bladder cancer, Cervical cancer, Esophageal cancer etc)
Infections - Like Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Hepatitis B & C, for cervix, vagina, anus, oropharynx, and liver cancer
Radiation - UV radiation - for non-melanoma skin cancer, leukemia, thyroid cancer, breast cancer,
Immunosuppressive Medicines After Organ Transplant as these medicines decrease the immune system’s ability to fight diseases.
Factors That May Affect the Risk of Cancer
Lack of physical Activity
Environmental Risk Factors
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. In addition to the physical problems and emotional distress caused by cancer, the high costs of care are also a burden to patients, their families, and to the public. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer is lowered. Hopefully, this will reduce the burden of cancer and lower the number of deaths caused by cancer.
Cancer is not a single disease but a group of related diseases. Many things in our genes, our lifestyle, and the environment around us may increase or decrease our risk of getting cancer.
Scientists are studying many different ways to help prevent cancer, including the following:
Ways to avoid or control things known to cause cancer.
Changes in diet and lifestyle.