Cancer involves many diseases that entail some cells budding abnormally in an uncontrollable manner, with the ability to extend to other parts of the body.
The major signs that one has this disease are the presence of tumors and lumps in one’s body. Conversely, not all tumors are cancerous and thus it is important for a patient to seek a second opinion for both diagnosis and cure method (WHO n.p.). Other signs that one could be suffering from cancer are sudden unexplained weight loss, having a lump for instance in the breast, abnormal bleeding, constipation, and a persistent cough among others. These symptoms, however, do not automatically connote one is having cancer and that’s why it’s important to be tested to be certain.
The largest contributor in death among all human cancers is caused by the habit of smoking tobacco, which accounts to over twenty-two percent of all deaths. Other basis consists of a poor lifestyle of inactivity, chemicals obesity, hormone, alcohol abuse, autoimmune diseases and poor diet that lacks vegetables and fruits (WHO n.p.). There are other causes too such as previous exposure to radiation during treatment, a previous cancer disease which may have reoccurred, environmental pollutants and contact with ionizing radiation, among others. In third world countries, about twenty percent of cancer patients developed the disease from an infection such as HPV. Before cancer develops, there occurs a process of gene changing from all these causing factors. Sometimes cancer is inherited from a family member who had a genetic defect either from the infections or other causes that alter the hereditary gene of a person.
Source: American Association for Cancer Research
Types of cancer
There are over hundred types of cancers that affect human beings. Some of the most common types being:
- Adrenal Cancer
- Anal Cancer
- Bile Duct Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Bone Cancer
- Brain/CNS Tumors In Adults
- Brain/CNS Tumors In Children
- Breast Cancer
- Breast Cancer In Men
- Cancer of Unknown Primary
- Castleman Disease
- Cervical Cancer
- Colon/Rectum Cancer
- Endometrial Cancer
- Esophagus Cancer
- Ewing Family Of Tumors
- Eye Cancer
- Gallbladder Cancer
- Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors
- Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST)
- Gestational Trophoblastic Disease
- Hodgkin Disease
- Kaposi Sarcoma
- Kidney Cancer
- Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer
- Leukemia – Acute Lymphocytic (ALL) in Adults
- Leukemia – Acute Myeloid (AML)
- Leukemia – Chronic Lymphocytic (CLL)
- Leukemia – Chronic Myeloid (CML)
- Leukemia – Chronic Myelomonocytic (CMML)
- Leukemia in Children
- Liver Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Lung Cancer – Non-Small Cell
- Lung Cancer – Small Cell
- Lung Carcinoid Tumor
- Lymphoma of the Skin
- Malignant Mesothelioma
- Multiple Myeloma
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome
- Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer
- Nasopharyngeal Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma In Children
- Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Penile Cancer
- Pituitary Tumors
- Prostate Cancer
- Salivary Gland Cancer
- Sarcoma – Adult Soft Tissue Cancer
- Skin Cancer
- Skin Cancer – Basal and Squamous Cell
- Skin Cancer – Melanoma
- Skin Cancer – Merkel Cell
- Small Intestine Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Thymus Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Uterine Sarcoma
- Vaginal Cancer
- Vulvar Cancer
- Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia
- Wilms Tumor
Cancerous cells can spread from their original place to another (like from breast to lung), but when they do, they still retain the original name (breast cancer in this case) and treated as so.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The sooner the ailment is detected and treatment regime adopted, the better the chances of one getting cured. Different types of cancer require different screening measures; for instance, those of the skin, breast, prostate, and mouth can be detected through a routine self-examination before the symptoms worsen (WHO n.p.). Most cases are normally discovered and diagnosed when the patient or doctor feels a tumor or when other visible signs develop. In a few cases, patients with the disease are usually diagnosed when they are under evaluation or treatment of other medical conditions.
The diagnosis of cancer starts with a comprehensive physical examination and a review of one’s medical history, including laboratory studies tests. When there is a suspected tumor, the doctor will carry out imaging tests like X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, fiber-optic endoscopy, and computed tomography (CT), to help in establishing its location and size (WHO n.p.). A confirmation of the diagnosis made by a doctor may need to be confirmed by performing a biopsy, which involves removal of tissue from the suspected tumor and analyzed with the help of a microscope to detect cancerous cells. The patient can then be put on treatment regimes, such as chemotherapy, radiation, palliative care, immunotherapy, and surgery depending on the stage of the cancer.
Source: American Association for Cancer Research
- Cancer is ranked as one of the deadliest diseases and among the leading causes of death globally (National Cancer Institute).
- 14 million new cases were reported, as well as 8.2 million deaths in the year 2012 attributed to cancer and its complications.
- More than 60 percent of the globe’s new cases and 70 percent of deaths related to cancer occur in Africa, Asia, and America (WHO n.p.).
- Approximately 1,685,210 new cases will be diagnosed in the US alone, and a projected 595,690 people will succumb to the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.
- By 2014, the number of people living with cancer hit almost 14.5 million, and the number is anticipated to increase to 19 million by 2024.
- The most widespread types in 2016 are breast, lung, and bronchus cancer.
- The rate of mortality is higher in men than in women, with African men recording the highest rate and Asian women recording the lowest rates.
- It is also estimated that nearly 39.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime (National Cancer Institute n.p.).
One can reduce their chances of having cancer by keeping away from smoking, avoid alcohol, maintain a balanced diet and healthy weight have vaccinations such as that of HPV have frequent tests so that early detection can prevent the disease from spreading, and avoid exposure to radiation and other chemicals causing cancer, among others. The chances of continued existence depend on of the category of cancer and the point at which of the treatment. Children have a higher chance of recovering, which stands at 80% in the developed nations as compared to their adult counterparts.
American Association for Cancer Research. Causes of Cancer. American Association for Cancer Research, n.d. web.
National Cancer Institute. Cancer Statistics. National Cancer Institute, Mar 2016. Web.
World Health Organization (WHO). Cancer. World Health Organization, Feb 2015. Web.