Cancer – arm yourself with knowledge

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This article will equip you with some important information about cancer.

Cancer facts

What is cancer?

The word cancer originates from a Latin word meaning crabs. Cancer is described as a disease in which abnormal cells divide without any control and invade the surrounding tissues. When these cells uncontrollably divide to form lumps or masses called tumours, it can be harmful to the human body. These cancerous cells, also known as malign cells, tend to move around the blood vessels destroying the healthy cells of the body.

Signs and symptoms of cancer

There are different types of cancer and each type has different symptoms. The symptoms depend upon the location of the tumour. For example colon cancer often causes diarrhea and blood in the stool.

Most cancers cause fatigue, chills and loss of appetite amongst other symptoms. So far, this disease has caused approx. 7.1 million deaths around the world. When dealing with cancer, there are certain points that are important to keep in mind:

  • It is not contagious as no one can catch it from someone else.
  • It is not caused by bumps or bruises.
  • There are only three approved modalities for the treatment of cancer - surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. All these are based in the allopathic theory of medicine. The approach is to destroy the organisms or cells causing the disease.

Types of cancer

There are different types of cancer such as Carcinoma, Sarcoma and Leukaemia. Carcinoma is a malignant neoplasm of epithelial origin that arises in the tissues of the body organs. Sarcoma refers to tumours that originate in bone, muscle, cartilage, fibrous tissue or fat. Leukaemia is cancer of the blood or blood-forming organs. When leukaemia develops, the body produces a large number of abnormal blood cells.

What can cause cancer?

Use of tobacco, certain diets, alcohol, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and to a lesser extent, exposure to cancer causing agents (carcinogens) in the environment and the workplace are some of the potential catalysts of cancer. Cancer develops over time when certain normal genes start mutating. Such cells multiply rapidly and become malignant. These gene mutations occur due to a complex mix of factors related to lifestyle, heredity and environment.

Cancer can affect just about every organ in the human body. Many people are surprised to learn that cancer can affect parts of the body like eyes and the heart.

It’s important to remember that when cancer-like symptoms appear, it’s not always cancer.

Infections, benign tumours, or other problems may also cause them. It is important to see the doctor about any of these symptoms or about other physical changes. Diagnostic tests are available for most common cancers. If diagnosed early, chances of surviving cancer are greatly increased.

The ill-effects of smoking and chewing tobacco

What do the various stages of cancer mean?

Mouth cancer - the most common cancer amongst Indian men

 

Photograph via sxc.hu