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Cancer

Definition

The word cancer is the name given to the diseases where abnormal cells multiply in uncontrollable growth and reach nearby tissues. And to a certain extent, they can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymphatic system.

Prevention

Cancer is not just a disease, but multiple different diseases. Many factors in our genetics, lifestyle, and surroundings can increase or lower the risk of developing cancer. Studies have shown that at least a third of all cancer cases could be prevented through:

  • Changes in eating habits and lifestyle.
  • Early detection of precancerous conditions which could become cancer in the future.
  • Chemoprevention, medicine that attacks a precancerous condition, or impedes cancer from developing.
  • Surgery to lower risks.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms depend on the location of the cancer and the size and stage in which it damages organs and tissues. If it spreads, then the signs or symptoms can appear in different parts of the body. Sometimes, cancer develops in places where no symptoms had been shown until its size increases.   

Know your body and its reactions. This can be the beginning step toward receiving a diagnosis. Be alert to the changes happening in your body and notify your doctor if they seem malign:

  • Unexplainable weight loss. Losing ten pounds or more can be a beginning sign. This happens most frequently in cases of cancer in the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lung.
  • Fever. It is very common to have a fever once cancer has spread. This symptom is frequent in cases of leukemia or lymphoma.
  • Fatigue. Extreme fatigue that does not get better even after resting. This is an important sign that develops as cancer progresses.
  • Pain. In some kinds of cancer, this is the beginning symptom, such as in bone cancer or testicular cancer.

Changes in the skin. Darkening of the skin, yellowish coloration in the skin and eyes, redness of the skin, or excessive hair growth. These are some signs of skin cancer, along with other types of cancer.

Risk Factors

It is not possible to know exactly why some people develop cancer and others do not. However, research has shown that there are several risk factors that can increase a person’s probability of receiving a positive diagnosis.  

  • Alcohol.
  • Diet.
  • Age.
  • Infectious germs.
  • Hormones.
  • Chronic inflammation.
  • Immunosuppression.
  • Sunlight.
  • Obesity.
  • Radiation.
  • Tobacco.

Treatment

There are various types of treatments, which depend on the kind of cancer and how advanced it is. It is possible to receive only one kind of treatment. However, most affected patients receive a combination of treatments.

The most common treatments against cancer are:

  • Surgery.
  • Radiotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Immunotherapy
  • Hormone therapy.
  • Stem cell transplant.
  • Precision medicine and targeted therapy.

It is normal to feel concerned and confused. Speak with your doctor and research your options.

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