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Cancer

                                                     Dr. G. M. Siddiqui, M.D
                                                     CEO Medical Services, Lifeline Healthcare


Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. They are also called malignant cells. They can develop in almost any organ or tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin, bones, or nerve tissue. Cancer grows out of cells in the body. Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when they are damaged or the body doesn't need them. In cancer cells are growing out of control. Cells divide too quickly and do not die in a normal way.

Causes
The cause of many cancers remains unknown. There are many risk factors for cancer, including:

• Benzene and other chemicals
• Drinking too much alcohol
• Environmental toxins, such as a poison that can grow on peanut plants (aflatoxins)
• Genetic problems
• Obesity
• Radiation exposure
• Too much sunlight exposure
• Viruses

Kinds of Cancer
There are many kinds of cancer.
In the U.S., skin cancer is the most common cancer.
Other than that most common cancers are:

• Prostate cancer for men and Breast cancer for women
• Lung cancer
• Colorectal cancer

Some other types of cancer include: Brain cancer, Cervical cancer, Ovarian cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Blood cancer etc.
The most common cause of cancer-related death is lung cancer. Some cancers are more common in certain parts of the world. Differences in diet or environmental factors may play a role.

Symptoms
Symptoms of cancer depend on the type and location of the cancer. For example, lung cancer can cause coughing, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Colon cancer often causes diarrhea, constipation, and blood in the stool. Some cancers may not have any symptoms. In certain cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, symptoms often do not start until the disease has reached an advanced stage.
The following symptoms may occur with cancer: Chills, Fatigue, Fever, Loss of appetite, weakness, Night sweats, Weight loss.

Diagnosis
Most cancers are diagnosed by biopsy. Depending on the location of the tumor, the biopsy may be a simple procedure or a serious operation. Most patients with cancer have CT scans to determine the exact location and size of the tumor.

A cancer diagnosis is often difficult to cope with. It is important that you discuss the type, size, and location of the cancer with your health care provider when you are diagnosed. You also will want to ask about treatment options, along with their benefits and risks.

Treatment
Treatment varies based on the type of cancer and its stage. The stage of a cancer refers to how much it has grown and whether the tumor has spread from its original location.
• If the cancer is in one location and has not spread, the most common treatment approach is surgery to cure the cancer. This is often the case with skin cancers, as well as cancers of the lung, breast, and colon.
• If the tumor has spread to local lymph nodes only, sometimes these can be removed.
• If surgery cannot remove all of the cancer, the options for treatment may include radiation, chemotherapy or other types of treatment. Some cancers require a combination of treatments. Although treatment for cancer can be difficult, there are many ways to keep up your strength.

Outlook (Prognosis)
The outlook depends on the type of cancer and the stage of the cancer when diagnosed. Some cancers can be cured. Other cancers that are not curable can still be treated effectively. Some patients can live for many years with cancer. Other tumors are quickly life threatening.

Possible Complications
Complications depend on the type and stage of cancer. The cancer may spread and destroy other vital organs.

When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your health care provider if you develop symptoms of cancer.

Prevention
You can reduce the risk of getting a cancerous (malignant) tumor by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Cancer screenings, such as mammography and breast examination for breast cancer and colonoscopy for colon cancer, may help catch these cancers at their early stages when they are most treatable.


 

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