Cancer is a medical word that refers to a group of illnesses characterised by the abnormal proliferation of cells that proliferate uncontrollably and have the potential to enter and kill healthy tissues in the body, as well as the ability to spread throughout the body.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the Western world, but the chances of recovering from cancer are steadily improving for most types, due to advances in early cancer detection and cancer treatment options.
Cancer stages are usually indicated by grades with Roman numerals I through IV, with a higher number indicating that the cancer is more advanced. In some cases, the stage of the cancer is indicated by letters or a verbal description.
Symptoms of cancer
Cancer symptoms differ from case to case depending on the organ affected by the cancer. Some general symptoms of cancer are attributed to it, but they are not specific to cancer alone, and include:
- High temperature.
- The appearance of a lump or swelling that can be felt under the skin.
- Body weight fluctuations, including unintended weight gain or loss.
- Changes in the surface of the skin, such as: appearance of yellow color, appearance of dark areas or red spots on the skin, appearance of non-healing wounds or changes in moles that were present on the skin.
- Changes in the working patterns of the bowels or bladder.
- persistent cough
- Difficulty to swallow.
- Indigestion or feeling sick after eating.
Causes and risk factors for cancer
Cancer is born as a result of a mutation that occurs in a chain of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) found in cells. This chain in the human body contains a set of orders prepared for the cells of the body that determine how to grow, develop and divide.
Healthy cells sometimes tend to make changes in their DNA, but they are still able to correct the bulk of these changes, but if they cannot make these corrections, the altered cells often die.
However, some of these deviations cannot be corrected, which leads to the growth of these cells and their transformation into cancerous cells. These deviations can also prolong the life of some cells more than their normal life expectancy. Cancer cells accumulate as a result of this mechanism.
How does a person get cancer?
The accumulation of these cells produces a cancerous tumour in some types of cancer, but not all types of cancer produce cancerous tumours. For example, leukaemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood cells, bone marrow, lymphatic system, and spleen, but it does not produce a tumour.
Initial genetic deviation is only the beginning of the process of cancer development, and researchers believe that the development of cancer requires a number of changes within the cell, including the following:
1. An initiating factor that leads to a genetic change
Sometimes a person may be born with a specific genetic deviation, while the genetic deviation may occur in others as a result of active forces within the body such as: hormones, viruses, and chronic infections.
Genetic deviation can also occur as a result of active forces outside the body, such as: Ultraviolet – UV rays that come from sunlight, or carcinogenic agents from cancer-causing chemicals (Carcinogen) present in the living environment.
2. A catalyst for rapid cell growth
Adjuvant factors exploit genetic aberrations and changes caused by initiating factors, as adjuvants cause cells to divide more rapidly and this can lead to the cells accumulating as a cancerous tumor. The auxiliary factors can be transmitted by inheritance, and they can be formed inside the body or they can reach from the outside and enter the body.
3. An encouraging factor that makes cancer more aggressive and helps it spread
Without the stimulating factors, the cancerous tumor can remain benign and localized, but the stimulating factors make the cancer more aggressive and increase the possibility of cancer breaking into and destroying nearby tissues, as well as increasing the possibility of cancer spreading to other organs throughout the body.
As is the case with the initiating and facilitating factors, the encouraging factors can also be transmitted by inheritance, or formed as a result of the effects of environmental factors. The genetic structure, lifestyle and environment in which we all live can form the basis for the formation of cancer or the completion of its formation if it has started. From people exposed to the same factor that can cause cancer.
Factors known to increase the risk of developing cancer include:
- Age: Cancer development can take several decades, which is why most people are diagnosed with cancer after the age of 55.
- Habits: It is known that certain lifestyles may increase the risk of developing cancer.
- Smoking: People who smoke are more likely to develop lung cancer than others.
- Drinking alcohol: People who drink alcohol have a higher risk of developing cancer.
- Excessive exposure to the sun: multiple sunburns accompanied by the appearance of a fluid-filled bubble appearing in the upper layers of the skin increases the risk of cancer.
- Family history: Only about 10% of all cancer cases occur on a genetic basis. If cancer is prevalent in the family, genetic abnormalities are very likely to be transmitted by inheritance.
- General health status: Certain chronic diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, can greatly increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
- Living environment: The environment in which we live may contain harmful chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer.
- Chemicals: such as those found in the home or in the workplace such as: asbestos or benzene, as they can be among the factors that increase the risk of cancer.
Complications of cancer
Cancer and cancer treatment may lead to several complications, including the following:
- Side effects of cancer treatment.
- Unusual immune system reactions to malignancy.
- Cancer outbreak.
- Cancer recurrence after treatment.
Diagnosing cancer in its early stages provides the best chances for recovery from it, so if the patient feels suspicious symptoms, he should consult with his doctor about which tests are most appropriate for him for early detection of cancer, as early detection of cancer may save the lives of some people with some types of cancer. cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends early cancer screening for people with moderate risk factors for the following types of cancer:
- Breast cancer: Breast cancer is often screened for women 40 years of age and older.
- Cervical cancer: Screening for cervical cancer occurs in women 21 years of age and older or three years after their first sexual intercourse.
- Colon cancer: Colon cancer is screened for men and women 50 years of age and older.
- Prostate cancer: Cancer of the prostate gland is screened for men from the age of 50 and over.
Tests needed to diagnose cancer
For the purpose of diagnosing cancer, the doctor may choose one or more early detection tests for cancer, which include the following:
- physical examination.
- Laboratory tests.
- Imaging examinations.
After diagnosing cancer, the doctor tries to determine the extent of the cancer or the stage the cancer has reached, then the doctor decides on treatment methods or the possibilities of recovery according to the classification and grade of cancer in the specific patient.
Cancer treatment consists of a variety of treatments, and cancer treatment options are related to several factors, such as: type and stage of cancer, general health status, in addition to the preferences of the patient himself.
An oncologist can be consulted about the benefits and risks of each cancer treatment option to determine the best and most effective cancer treatment for each case.
Cancer treatment goals
The application of cancer treatment is carried out by achieving multiple and different goals, including the following:
- Treatment aiming at eliminating or destroying cancer cells.
- Treatment aimed at destroying remaining cancer cells.
- A treatment aimed at treating the side effects resulting from cancer and its treatment.
- Available treatments for cancer
Doctors today have a variety of tools designed to treat cancer. These treatments include the following:
- Radiation therapy.
- Bone marrow and stem cell transplant.
- Biological therapy.
- hormonal therapy.
- drug therapy.
- clinical trials.
There is no sure way to prevent cancer, but doctors have identified some ways that can help reduce risk factors for cancer, including:
- Quit Smoking.
- Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight.
- Maintain a balanced and healthy diet.
- Do some form of physical activity on most days of the week.
- Maintain a normal and healthy weight.
- Ensure that early detection examinations are carried out regularly.
- Consult your doctor about available vaccines.
It has not been conclusively proven that alternative therapies lead to a cure for cancer, but the possibilities of alternative medicine may help counteract the effects and reduce the symptoms of cancer and side effects resulting from its treatments, such as fatigue, nausea and pain.
You should consult a doctor about whether these treatments may help in the treatment or if they interfere with the basic treatments, these treatments include the following:
- Various relaxation techniques.
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