Cancer; symptom, types, and treatment

Being diagnosed with cancer is one of the most frightening and stressful things for anyone. Having information about the disease and knowing its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery can put us up in the fight.

What is cancer?

The unusual faster division of cells in the human body resulting in a tumor or lump is called cancer.

  • In the year 13.9 lakh people in India had cancer.
  • New cases of cancer have increased at a rate of 1.1 % to 2% annually from 2010 to 2019 and at the same time deaths because of Cancer have increased at a rate of 0.1% to 1% annually.
  • In the year 2020, 94.1 out of 100000 men and 103.6 out of 100000 women were suffering from cancer.

Stages of Cancer?

Most cancers are categorized into four stages depending upon the extent of spread and severity tests are performed to diagnose the stage and a number is given higher the number means more severe the cancer is.

Stage 1: If cancer has not spread to a lymph node or tissue and is localized it is said to be in stage one.

Stage 2: If cancer has not spread but grown it is said to be in stage two.

Stage 3: If cancer has already affected other tissues or lymph nodes and is no more localized it is said to be in stage three.

Stage 4: If cancer has already spread to other areas or organs in the body it is said to be in stage four, this is also referred to as the advanced stage.

Other than these there is a precancerous stage or stage zero if the cancer is present at a localized area where it has started at this stage it can easily be treated.

Types of Cancer

Cancer has five main types,

Carcinoma: Cancers that affect organs and glands are known as Carcinoma such as lungs, breasts, pancreatic, and skin cancers.

Sarcoma: Cancers that affect soft tissues or connective tissues are known as Sarcoma such as muscle, fat, bone, cartilage, or blood vessels.

Melanoma: Cancers that develop on the cell that pigment our skin is known as Melanoma.

Lymphoma: Cancers that affect white blood cells or lymphocytes are known as Lymphoma.

Leukemia: Cancer that affects blood is known as Leukemia.

Common Cancer types in India

Breast Cancer, Oral Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Lung Cancer, Stomach Cancer, and Colorectal Cancer are the six most common Cancer types accounting for 49% of new cases. Oral cancer is the most common type in men and Breast cancer in women.

Cancer is mostly fetal because when it develops it hinders the proper functioning of the organs affecting the vital organ functions. WHO World Cancer Report states that 1 out of 10 Indians will develop cancer during their lifetime and for 1 out of 10 Indians cancer will be the cause of death.

Causes of Cancer

Many reasons can contribute to cancer in our body such as,

  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Hormone therapy

The use of tobacco products and smoking is the leading cause of Lung Cancer, Oral Cancer, Laryngeal Cancer, Esophageal Cancer.

Signs of Cancer

Symptoms of Cancer can vary for every other patient however few initial indicators can be,

  • Unusual weight loss
  • Persistent tiredness
  • Constant pain
  • Fever mostly at nights
  • Skin changes

Other common symptoms can surface with the passage of time such as,

  • Unusual lump
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty in Swallowing
  • Mole or Wart that changes appearance
  • Unhealing Sore

Diagnosis of Cancer

Cancer is diagnosed after understanding the symptoms, location of the tumor and by doing a comprehensive examination and by conducting some tests such as,

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI
  • Ultrasonography
  • Biopsy

Treatment of Cancer

Once diagnosed doctors can come up with a personalized treatment plan according to the findings, treatment can include,

  • Chemotherapy: This is one of the most common treatments given to the patients, in this treatment high-power medicines are administered to kill the cancer cells, may be given through an IV or in the form of a pill.

Hair loss, Fatigue, Nausea, and vomiting are side effects of Chemotherapy.

  • Radiation therapy: In this treatment high dose of radiation is given to kill the cancer cells, this can also be given along with Chemotherapy.

Fatigue, Hair Loss, and Skin problems are common side-effects of Radiation therapy.

  • Surgery: In this treatment, tumor is removed through surgical procedure.

Pain, Weakness, Infection, Blood clots, Allergy to anesthesia are common side-effects of Surgery.

  • Hormone therapy: In this treatment hormones are used to block other cancer causing hormones.

Fatigue, Bloating, Hot flashes, Erectile dysfunction, and Blood clots are common side-effects of Hormone therapy.

  • Immunotherapy: In this treatment the immune power of the patient is used for targeting cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells.

Fever, Chills, Muscle aches, Skin rash, Swelling, Increased bruising or bleeding are common side-effects of Immunotherapy.

  • Bone marrow transplant: In this treatment damaged stem cells are replaced with healthy cells, chemotherapy is done before the treatment for making the body prepared for the transplant.

Nausea, Vomiting, Flu-like symptoms, Greater risk of infection are common side effects of a Bone marrow transplant.

If a patient is undergoing cancer treatment he or she should visit a doctor if,

  • High fever 101° or more
  • Severe headaches
  • Chills
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sores on lips
  • Sudden heavy weight loss
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Blood in urine or poop
  • Excessive bleeding or bruising

Preventing cancer is not possible but the risk of cancer can be reduced by following a healthy lifestyle style.

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