What is Cancer?
Cancer is a class of diseases which results from the abnormal growth of cells in the body. These cells can even form malignant tumors which, if not treated, can result in the death of a person.
What causes cancer?
Viruses are largely responsible for putting a person in a vulnerable condition of cancer. For instance, the HIV that is, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, that causes aids is also associated with the increased risks of sarcomas and liver cancer. Whereas other viruses like the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with cervical, oral, and anal cancers.
Another reason which might cause cancerous conditions is the changes in the DNA that’s present within cells. DNA contains a large number of individual genes which carry a set of instructions that tell the cell when to grow, divide and when to perform certain functions. A problem occurs when these instructions catch errors, which stop the cell from functioning normally and thus, leaving it cancerous.
There are various types of cancer. A few of them are as follows:
- Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the most common disease that’s difficult to treat once it’s diagnosed. It occurs when cells start to grow abnormally in one or both the lungs and put a person in a state of bloody coughs1, breathing difficulties, revenant infections, and fatigue.
- Kidney Cancer
Kidneys perform a very important function of the filtration of blood and removal of excess water, salt, and waste from the body. Kidney cancer is accompanied by symptoms such as blood in the urine, fatigue, and weight loss. It happens when malignant tumors form in the tissues of the kidney.
- Skin Cancer
Skin cancer occurs when the body does not repair the damage in the DNA of the cells as a result of which, the cells grow uncontrollably and divide abnormally. Skin cancer is caused due to a number of factors that include overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by the sun, genetic issues, or because of the skin type.
Signs and symptoms of cancer
It is really hard to observe cancer symptoms. They do become obvious, but when it’s quite late. Below are some of the general cancer symptoms. If these cancer signs continue to persist, then the person must consult a doctor immediately.
- Traces of blood in the urine
Blood or blood spots in urine are an indication that the person might be suffering from the cancer of the bladder or kidney. Therefore, it's important to keep a check, and red coloration in the urine should be investigated.
- A throaty harshness
Hoarseness might be the first sign of throat cancer. It can be caused by simple allergy or by vocal cord polyps. But it should not be taken as a respiratory infection and ignored. If the huskiness in the throat lasts more than three to four weeks, it must be evaluated.
- Occurrence of lumps on the skin
The reason for persistent lumps is yet unknown. The lumps on the skin are mostly benign, and sometimes they are a sign of skin cancer. If a lump remains swollen for weeks, months or even a year, it must be removed and tested.
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
Bleeding from the vagina after or before menses is the sign of cancer of the uterus. Even if bleeding during menses gets heavier, that also needs to be medically examined.
- Mild fever, weight loss, and night sweating
These kinds of conditions can lead to different kind of cancers. Particularly, the causes of a mild fever and quick weight loss must be checked out as soon as possible.
- Itching in the genital area
Fungal infections or skin cancers can cause continuous itching in the anal area or might change the skin color. This may be studied as a cancerous or pre-cancerous condition.
- Long-lasting and non-healing sores
Sores generally heal in a week, but if they don’t, then you might have mouth cancer or oral infection that could later result in cancer. Non-healing sores or white or red patches on your tongue can also be signs and symptoms of cancer.
- Changing warts or moles
If the moles on your skin seem to be enlarging and bleed, then they must be quickly removed. They can also change color, so it’s vital to keep a check on your skin.
Hence, if you observe any of the above-mentioned symptoms on your body, go to the physician and get yourself treated because health comes first.
Treatment of Cancer
Living in the age of advancement, science has come up with many life-saving treatments of cancer. The treatment primarily depends on the type of cancer you have and how advanced medication it requires. Cancers that are at their early stages are very easily treated with the following methods:
Chemotherapy basically involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It can decrease the growth of cancer cells and can even stop it from recurring. In addition, it can also ease cancer symptoms by shrinking the tumors, thus causing pain.
Surgery is done by using scalpels and other sharp tools to cut your body and remove cancerous tumors or a part of that region plagued by cancer. It requires cutting through the skin, muscles and even bones that may require a long time to heal.
- Radiation Therapy
Radiotherapy uses strong radiations to damage the DNA of the cancerous cells. This slows down the growth of such cells which are eventually broken down and removed by the body.
Similarly, there are other treatments like immunotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and stem-cells transplant2> that all work to kill cancerous cells.
Apart from these medical treatments, it’s our responsibility to avoid eating unhygienic and fried food and refrain from drinking sodas and soft drinks on a regular basis. One secret to a healthy lifestyle is exercise and frequent use of vegetables and fruits in your diet.
- WebMD - Coughing Up Blood (Hemoptysis)
- Canadian Cancer Society - Stem Cell Transplant