According to the World Health Organization, cancer was the top cause of death worldwide in 2020, accounting for about 10 million fatalities. Breast, lung, colon, and rectum cancers, as well as prostate cancer, are the most common cancers.
The bad news is that the majority of malignancies are asymptomatic. They don’t show any early signs or symptoms. In this blog, we will discuss in detail Cancer – Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatment.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a life-threatening condition in which your cells begin to develop in an unregulated manner. Uncontrolled development and proliferation of cells in the body can result in tumors and death.
All cancers begin in the cells. Cells send out signals that regulate how much and how frequently they divide. If any of these signals are inaccurate or missing, cells may begin to grow and multiply abnormally, resulting in a lump known as a tumor. As a result, cancer cells continue to divide indefinitely, developing tumors and damaging your body’s organs.
Types of Cancer
Traditionally, cancer cells and tumors have been classified in four ways:
- Broadly, by tissue, organ, and system.
- Precisely, by type.
- By grade according to WHO classifications.
- Ultimately, by stage, as per Tumor Node Metastasis (TNM) system.
- Classification by site of origin: As per the primary site or the location in the body, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer, brain cancer, etc.
- Classification by tissue types: Cancers can be categorized into six important groups based on tissue types:
- Carcinoma: cancer of the body’s epithelial tissue of the skin or the lining of the internal organ
- Sarcoma: cancer of the body’s bone or soft tissues, including cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, fibrous tissue, or other connective or supportive tissue.
- Myeloma: cancer of the body’s white blood cell called a plasma cell.
- Leukemia: cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system.
- Lymphoma: cancer of the body’s lymph nodes.
- Mixed types: develop in two different types of cells from one category or multiple categories
- Classification by grade: Cancers can also be categorized by their grade. The abnormalities of the cells determine the grade of cancer compared to the surrounding normal tissues. The grade rises from 1 to 4 as the degree of abnormality rises.
- Classification by stage: Cancers are also classified according to their stage. The TNM staging classification is utilized for verifying cancer stages.
- Cancer Stage 0 – Cancer hasn’t spread from where it started (in situ).
- Cancer Stage 1: Small tumors have grown deeper into adjacent tissue but have not migrated to lymph nodes or other body areas.
- Cancer Stage 2: Larger tumors or cancers that have spread to lymph nodes or other regions of the body.
- Cancer Stage 3: the tumor has grown to a specified size, spread to nearby lymph nodes, organs, or tissue, and cancer has several tumors.
- Cancer Stage 4: Cancer has spread from its origin to distant body parts.
Benign or Malignant Cancer
Not every tumor from abnormal cell multiplication is cancerous. Based on this, tumors can be classified as Benign or Malignant.
- Benign tumors are noncancerous, grow slowly, and do not spread
- Malignant tumors are cancerous, infiltrate and destroy neighboring normal tissues, and can spread quickly.
Symptoms of Cancer
The hardest part about cancer is how difficult it is to detect. When a person notices symptoms of cancer, the damage is already done. Cancer has almost invariably moved outside of the organ to other parts of the body.
Cancer cells can multiply without causing any visible signs or symptoms. A person feels pain and discomfort when it grows large enough to press against neighboring tissues. These are warning signs that don’t usually surface early.
That is why a doctor should always discuss lumps, moles, and wounds that do not heal naturally. For instance, Breast cancer is usually discovered as a lump in women’s breasts.
Other than this, one should also consult a doctor for symptoms such as:
- Bruising and bleeding for no known reason
- Consistent cough
- Unexpected weight loss,
- feel sick or have poor digestion
- lump on your neck, head, or any other part of your body.
Causes of Cancer
It’s crucial to understand the causes of cancer because it’s not a single disease. The term “cancer” refers to a group of diseases with one thing in common: uncontrolled cell multiplication. Several factors can be cause of cancer:
- Viruses include human papillomavirus, hepatitis B virus, and herpes virus-8.
- Toxins or irritants in the environment. Exposure to Asbestos, benzene, benzidine, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, radon, and vinyl chloride has been linked to cancer in numerous studies.
- Damage to a cell’s DNA causes some cancers. Heat or light from the sun, microwaves from an oven, X rays from an X-ray tube, and gamma rays from radioactive elements can ionize and alter cell DNA.
Is Cancer Genetic?
Cancer is a genetic disease, which means that it is caused by alterations in genes that control how our cells behave, mainly how they grow and divide.
Inherited characteristics play a role in the development of several cancers. You can inherit mutations in your genes from your parents, increasing your risk of developing cancer.
Some cancers that can be hereditary are:
- Breast cancer.
- Colon cancer.
- Prostate cancer.
- Ovarian cancer.
- Uterine cancer.
- Melanoma (a type of skin cancer)
- Pancreatic cancer.
Cancer Risk Factors
The annual cancer incidence rate is 442.4 per 100,000 men and women. Based on 2013–2017 deaths, the cancer mortality rate is 158.3 per 100,000 men and women annually.
By 2040, the annual number of new cancer cases is predicted to reach 29.5 million, with 16.4 million cancer-related deaths.
Generally, cancer risk factors include:
- Older age
- Family history of cancer
- Alcohol/Tobacco consumption
- Viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Exposure to specific chemicals such as Asbestos, nickel, cadmium, radon, vinyl chloride, benzidine, and benzene
- High-energy radiation, including ultraviolet radiation from the sun, can damage DNA and cause cancer.
Importance of Early Detection of Cancer
Early detection of cancer does not guarantee a cure, but it raises the likelihood that present treatments will result in a cure. Early detection also increases the likelihood that the patient would have a far less painful treatment experience than they would otherwise.
Numerous methods and medications are available to treat cancer, with many more under investigation. Some therapies are “local,” such as surgery and radiation therapy, and are used to treat a specific tumor or body part. Because drug treatments (such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy) can influence the entire body, they are commonly referred to as “systemic” treatments.
Common Types of Treatment for Cancer
- Radiation Therapy
- Targeted Therapy
- Stem Cell or Bone Marrow Transplant
- Hormone Therapy
Which Specialists Treat Cancer
Oncology is a specialist discipline of medicine that deals with diagnosing, treating, and studying cancer. Cancer patients or candidates are referred to Oncologists who are especially trained and experienced. .
Cancer prevention is simply about making good lifestyle choices and taking good care of your overall health.
- Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol
- Keep body weight controlled and healthy
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Engage in regular physical activity
- Protect yourself from UV rays exposure
- Limit exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution, particularly radon.
Cancer isn’t simply an illness; its emotional impact on family, friends, and everybody else is huge. Patients, relatives, and carers may experience emotional distress as a result of a cancer diagnosis. Many cancers are asymptomatic in their early stages, which is why regular screenings are so important It’s critical to notice minor changes and seek help when necessary.
At Kayawell, we connect you with the top Oncologists who can explain cancer symptoms, dangers, and prevention in depth. Feel free to contact these professionals if you or someone you know has questions regarding cancer. Find top experts nearby easily here.