About Cancer

Questions People Ask About Cancer :

Cancer is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all start because abnormal cells grow out of control. Untreated cancers can cause serious illness and even death.

What is Normal cells in the body?:

The body is made up of hundreds of millions of living cells. Normal body cells grow, divide, and die in an orderly fashion. During the early years of a person's life, normal cells divide faster to allow the person to grow. After the person becomes an adult, most cells divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells or to repair injuries.

 How cancer starts ?

Cancer starts when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control. There are many kinds of cancer, but they all start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cells.Cells become cancer cells because of damage to DNA. DNA is in every cell and directs all its actions. In a normal cell, when DNA gets damaged the cell either repairs the damage or the cell dies. In cancer cells, the damaged DNA is not repaired, but the cell doesn't die like it should. Instead, this cell goes on making new cells that the body does not need. These new cells will all have the same damaged DNA as the first cell does. In most cases the cancer cells form a tumor. Some cancers, like leukemia, rarely form tumors. Instead, these cancer cells involve the blood and blood-forming organs and circulate through other tissues where they grow.

How cancer spreads?

Cancer cells often travel to other parts of the body, where they begin to grow and form new tumors that replace normal tissue. This process is called metastasis. It happens when the cancer cells get into the bloodstream or lymph vessels of our body.

How cancers differ?

Different types of cancer can behave very differently. For example, lung cancer and breast cancer are very different diseases. They grow at different rates and respond to different treatments. That is why people with cancer need treatment that is aimed at their particular kind of cancer.

Are Every Tumors cancer?

Not all tumors are cancerous. Tumors that aren't cancer are called benign. Benign tumors can cause problems – they can grow very large and press on healthy organs and tissues. But they cannot grow into (invade) other tissues. Because they can't invade, they also can't spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). These tumors are almost never life threatening.

How common is cancer?

Half of all men and one-third of all women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetimes.Today, millions of people are living with cancer or have had cancer. The risk of developing most types of cancer can be reduced by changes in a person's lifestyle, for example, by quitting smoking, limiting time in the sun, being physically active, and eating a better diet. The sooner a cancer is found and treated, the better the chances are for living for many years.

What causes cancer?

Things people do : Some cancers are caused by things people do or expose themselves to. For example, smoking can cause cancers of the lungs, mouth, throat, bladder, kidneys, and other organs, as well as heart disease and stroke. Although not everyone who smokes gets cancer, smoking increases a person's chance of getting the disease. Being in the sun too much without protection can cause skin cancer. Melanoma is a very serious form of skin cancer that is linked to sunlight and tanning bed exposure.

 Things Other Things people are exposed to : Radiation can cause cancer. For example, people exposed to nuclear fallout have a higher cancer risk than those who were not exposed. Rarely, radiation treatment for one type of cancer can cause another cancer to grow many years later. This is why doctors and dentists use the lowest possible doses of radiation for x-rays and scans (much lower than the doses used for cancer treatment).

Things Genes that run in families : Of every 20 cases of cancer, about 1 is linked to genes that are inherited from parents.

Things Bottom line  : No one knows the exact cause of most cases of cancer. We know that certain changes in our cells can cause cancer to start, but we don't yet know exactly how it all happens. Scientists are studying this problem and learning more about the many steps it takes for cancers to form and grow. Although some of the factors in these steps may be a lot alike, the process that happens in the cells is generally different for each type of cancer.

 Can injuries cause cancer?

It is a common myth that injuries can cause cancer. But the fact is that a fall, bruise, broken bone, or other such injury has not been linked to cancer. Sometimes a person might visit the doctor for what is thought to be an injury and cancer is found at that time. But the injury did not cause the cancer; the cancer was already there. It also sometimes happens that a person will remember an injury that happened long ago in the place cancer was found. Rarely, burn scars can be the site of cancer many years after the burn has healed. Most often, skin cancer is the type that grows in a burn scar.

Can stress cause cancer?

Researchers have done many studies to see if there is a link between personality, stress, and cancer. No scientific evidence has shown that a person's personality or outlook can affect their cancer risk.

 Is cancer contagious?

You will not get cancer by being around or touching someone with cancer. Don't be afraid to visit someone with cancer. They need the support of their family and friends.

 Can cancer be prevented?

There is no sure way to prevent cancer, but there are things you can do to reduce your chances of getting it.

Tobacco : Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body and accounts for some 30% of all cancer deaths. Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and oral (smokeless) tobacco products cause cancer and should not be used. Studies clearly show that ex-smokers have less risk of cancer than people who continue to smoke.

Alcohol : Drinking alcohol is also linked to a higher risk of certain types of cancer. If you drink, limit your intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink a day for women. This may help curb your cancer risk.

Drinking and smoking : The combined use of alcohol and tobacco raises the risk of mouth, throat, voice box, and esophagus cancer far more than the effects of either drinking or smoking alone.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays and sunlight: You can lower your chances of getting skin cancer by

  • Staying out of the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wearing a hat, shirt, and sunglasses when you are in the sun
  • Using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher
  • Not using tanning beds or lamps

Diet : We know that our diet (what we eat or don't eat) is linked to some types of cancer, although the exact reasons are not yet clear. The best information we have suggests a lower cancer risk for people who:

·         Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables (at least 5 servings a day)

·         Choose whole grains rather than refined grains and sugars

·         Limit red meats (beef, pork, and lamb)

·         Limit processed meats (such as bacon, deli meats, and hot dogs)

·         Choose foods to help stay at a healthy weight

How is Cancer Early detected?

To find cancer early, while it is small and before it has spread, adults should have regular tests called screening examinations. Talk to your doctor about which screening tests might be right for you. If cancer is found early, it can be easier to treat.

How many people alive today have ever had cancer?

Today, about 12 million people alive in the United States have had some type of cancer. Some of these people are cancer-free; others still have the disease.

 How is cancer treated?

Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the 3 main types of cancer treatment. A person with cancer may have any or all of these treatments.

Surgery : Surgery is often the first treatment option if the cancer is a tumor that can be removed from the body. Sometimes only part of the cancer can be removed. Radiation or chemotherapy might be used to shrink the cancer before or after surgery.

Chemotherapy : Doctors use chemotherapy or "chemo" drugs to kill cancer cells. Usually, the drugs are given intravenously (IV or into a vein) or taken by mouth. Chemo drugs then travel throughout the body in the bloodstream. They can reach cancer cells that may have metastasized (spread) from the tumor.

 

Radiation therapy : Radiation therapy is treatment with high energy rays (such as x-rays) to kill or shrink cancer cells. The radiation may come from outside the body, called external radiation, or from radioactive materials placed right into the tumor (internal or implant radiation). Getting external radiation is a lot like getting an x-ray. It is painless, but it can cause side effects.

Other types Of Cancer Treatment : her kinds of treatment you might hear about include hormone therapy, stem cell or bone marrow transplant, and immunotherapy. Hormone therapy is sometimes used to treat certain kinds of prostate and breast cancers. Immunotherapy is treatment designed to boost the cancer patient's own immune system to help fight the cancer.

 What are the side effects of cancer treatment?

The type of treatment a person gets depends on the type and stage (extent) of the cancer, the age of the patient, and his or her medical history and general health. Each drug or treatment plan has different side effects. It is hard to predict what side effects a patient will have, even if patients get the same treatment. Some effects can be severe and others fairly mild. It is true that some people have a tough time with cancer treatment, but many others manage quite well throughout treatment.

 Chemo side effect: Short-term (and often treatable) side effects of chemo can include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss, and mouth sores. Because chemo can damage the blood-producing cells in the bone marrow, patients may have low blood cell counts. This can lead to:

  • Higher risk of infection (from a shortage of white blood cells)
  • Bleeding or bruising after minor cuts or injuries (from a shortage of blood platelets)
  • Anemia (from low red blood cell counts), which can cause tiredness, shortness of breath, pale skin, and other symptoms

Cancer care teams must work carefully with the patient to manage the side effects of chemo. Everyone will respond differently to chemo. Most of the side effects of chemo go away after treatment ends. For example, hair lost during treatment grows back after treatment is over. In the meantime, most patients are able to use wigs, scarves, or hats to cover, warm, or protect their heads.

Radiation side effect: Radiation treatments are much like x-rays and do not cause any pain. The most common side effects are skin irritation and fatigue. Fatigue is a feeling of extreme tiredness and low energy. It is especially common when treatments go on for many weeks. Fatigue often does not get better with rest. Other side effects can happen, too, depending on what part of the body is being treated.

What are symptoms of Cancer?

Cancer is a broad term that encompasses over one hundred different types of cancer. Although each type has its own set of characteristics, there are some cancer symptoms that occur in many types of cancer.It is important to note that some types of cancer do not present any symptoms until they are in advanced stages. This is why cancer screening and risk assessment are vital for cancer prevention and early detection.

A broad spectrum of non-specific cancer symptoms may include:

Persistent Fatigue:Fatigue is one of the most commonly experienced cancer symptoms. It is usually more common when the cancer is advanced, but still occurs in the early stages of some cancers. Anemia is commonly the culprit -- a condition that is associated with many types of cancer, especially types affecting the bowel. Fatigue is a symptom of both malignant and non-malignant conditions and should be evaluated by a physician.

  • Unintentional Weight Loss:While it may be a welcome surprise to lose weight without trying, it can be a red flag for many illnesses, including cancer. Losing 10 pounds or more unintentionally definitely warrants a visit to the doctor. This type of weight loss can occur with or without loss of appetite. Remember, weight loss can be a symptom of cancer, but is also a symptom of many other illnesses, too.
  • PainTypically, pain is not an early symptom of cancer, except in some cancer types like those that spread to the bone. Pain generally occurs when cancer spreads and begins to affect other organs and nerves.lower pack pain is cancer symptom that is associated with ovarian cancerand colon cancer. Shoulder pain can also be a symptom of lung cancer. Pain in the form of headaches can be associated with brain tumors (malignant and benign). Stomach pains can be related to types of cancer, like stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, mand many others. Stomach pain can be a very vague symptom because so many illnesses can cause stomach pain.
  • Fever:A fever is a very non-specific symptom of many mild to severe conditions, including cancer. In relation to cancer, a fever that is persistent or one that comes and goes frequently can signal stress on the immune system. Fevers are commonly associated with types of cancer that affects the blood, like leukemiaand lymphoma, but are also common in people whose cancer has spread.
  • Bowel Changes:If you experience constipation, diarrhea, blood in the stools, gas, thinner stools, or just a general overall change in bowel habits, see your doctor. These symptoms are most commonly associated with colon cancer, but are also related to other cancer types.
  • Chronic Cough:A persistent, new cough or a cough that won't go away or becomes worse needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Blood and/or mucus may accompany the cough and can be caused many conditions. In relation to cancer, a chronic cough with blood or mucus can be symptom of lung cancer.

 MYTHS AND TRUTHS ABOUT CANCER:

Myths have become common.throughout the years there have been many cancer myths floating around. The question is: Is there any truth to these cancer myths? Keep reading and learn fact from fiction!

1. Hair dye causes brain cancer.

There has been a lot of speculation about hair dye and cancer. It has been thought that hair dye caused several different types of cancers like bladder and breast cancer, but there is no evidence of it causing brain tumors. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on May 25, hair dye does not increase the risk of developing cancer. This cancer myth is believed by many Americans.

2. Cell phones cause cancer.

Contrary to popular belief, cell phones are not believed to be a cause of cancer. There is no credible study available that consistently proves that using a cell phone has the ability to cause cancer.

3. If your mom or dad had cancer, you will have it too.

While it is true that some cancers are genetic, this does not mean that one will definitely develop cancer because of their heredity. Cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancerand colorectal cancerare a few of the cancers that can be passed down genetically. If a parent has these cancers, the cancer gene may be passed to their child. If a child inherits the gene, it only raises the likelihood of developing cancer, not guaranteeing a cancer sentence.

4. Cancer causes hairloss.

Cancer does not cause hair loss. Hair loss is a side effect of cancer treatments, like chemotherapyand radiation therapy. Not everyone who has chemotherapy or radiation loses their hair either.

5. Only women get breast cancer.

This is by far the biggest cancer myth of all. Men get breast cancer also! An estimated 1500 men will be diagnosed and about 500 will die from the disease this year. Male breast canceris uncommon, yet still happens.

6. There is a cure for cancer, but pharmaceutical companies are hiding it.

This is one cancer myths that drives every medical professional crazy! If this is true, then why do loved ones of drug company researchers still die of cancer at the same rate as the general population? What some people don't realize is that many forms of cancer are curable!

7. Cancer is almost always fatal.

Yes, cancer can cause death. But new breakthroughs in early detection of cancer have made it much more treatable. It is estimated that 40% of cancer patients reach or exceed the five year survivor mark!

8. Wearing antiperspirants and deodorant can cause cancer.

According to the National Cancer Society, there is no conclusive evidence from recent studies that wearing them can cause breast cancer. This cancer myth is by far one of the most popular among women.

9. Some types of cancer can be contagious.

No type of canceris contagious. However, there are two known contagious viruses, HPVand Hepatitis C, that can cause cancer. HPV is a known risk factor for cervical cancer and Hep C causes liver cancer. Both viruses can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, although Hep C is more often transmitted through blood to blood contact such as sharing needles and transfusions (prior to 1992).

10. Positive thinking will cure cancer.

While maintaining a positive outlook during cancer treatment is essential, it will not cure cancer. Being optimistic helps with quality of life during treatment. There is no scientific evidence that a positive attitude will cure cancer