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WHAT IS CANCER?

Cells in the body cyclically undergo phases of growth, division and death. Cancer is a disease in which groups of cells undergo abnormal change and divide incessantly, thereby destroying the normal body tissues. Also, these cells have the potential to spread to other parts of the body, mainly through the bloodstream or the lymphatics.

WHAT CAUSES CANCER?

There is a wide range of risk factors lead to different types of cancer, of which many may have a lot of attributes in common. Some of these are:

  • Smoking
  • Tobacco chewing
  • Family history
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Occupational expose
  • Age, which is non-modifiable.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CANCER?

Malignancy or cancer as it is commonly known as, may present with general symptoms such as weight loss, loss of appetite or specific ones related to the type of underlying cancer such as

  • Difficulty in swallowing/Indigestion.
  • Change in bowel or bladder habits.
  • Abnormal bleeding /discharge.
  • Lump in the breast.
  • Abnormal growth/mass in any part of the body.
  • Changes in a wart or mole. Symptoms listed does not definitively point to cancer but may have other causes not related to cancer.

Symptoms listed does not definitively point to cancer but may have other causes not related to cancer. If you notice such changes in your body, seek clarification at once. Prevention is better than cure and in cases of cancer, prevention is, perhaps, the only cure. So, talk to oncologist at the earliest.

HOW ARE CANCERS TREATED?

Cancer is diagnosed through diagnostic modalities depending upon the type of cancer suspected. However, some of the common ones include x-ray, ultrasound, blood test, tumor marker, urine test, biopsy, endoscopy, bone scan, CT scan, MRI. Usually, it is a combination of these listed ones that are used.

Staging the cancer based on the tumour size and the extent of its spread is an important first step because it highly influences the treatment and prognosis.

Modalities commonly employed in treatment are:

  • Surgery.
  • Radiotherapy, which uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy involves the usage of drugs to shrink tumours and stop them from growing.
  • Hormone therapy.
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