Awareness About Cancer

Awareness About Cancer is Already the Half Battle Won

Cancer is not as scary and deadly as it was decades before because of advancements in medical health science, the disease is curable if diagnosed at an early stage. Moreover, the recovery rates have gone up in recent years with the betterment of medical care and therapeutic procedures. The need of the hour is not to ignore any symptoms and seek medical advice at the earliest.

What is Cancer?

According to WHO, Cancer is a group of diseases that can start in any organ system, cells, or tissues of the body when the diseased cells grow beyond control and extend outside their normal boundaries to reach adjacent cells and organs of the body. The process of uncontrollable growth of cells and invading other cells or tissues of the body is called metastasizing and is the reason behind the increased mortality rates due to cancer. Cancer is also known as neoplasm and malignant tumor.

As per National Cancer Institute, some genes of the human body get activated known as proto-oncogenes, which lead to the formation of oncogenes. This occurs due to certain chemical agents or radiation exposure to the human body. Thus during cancer, the orderly process of cell division breaks down.
Facts and Figures about Cancer

  1. As per Globacan 2020* Breast cancer represents 1 in 4 cancers diagnosed among women globally. Colorectal, lung, cervical, and thyroid cancers are also common among women.
  2. Lung cancer and prostate cancer are the most common among men, together accounting for nearly one-third of all male cancers.
  3. There continue to be significant disparities between higher and lower-income countries, with GLOBOCAN 2020 predicting that countries classified with “Low or Medium Human Development Index (HDI) “will have the greatest relative increases in cancer incidence by 2040.
  4. Around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.
  5. Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths(2)
  6. Cancer causing infections, such as hepatitis and human papilloma virus (HPV), are responsible for up to 25% of cancer cases in low- and middle-income countries. (3)
  7. Only 1 in 5 low- and middle-income countries have the necessary data to drive cancer policy (4)

Common symptoms

If you are feeling any of the symptoms described below then you must proceed with the full-body scan although similar symptoms can be felt in many conditions, it is hereby advised that one should not ignore these symptoms and consult a doctor.

  • Extreme tiredness, lump or raised area under the skin
  • Unintentional weight loss or gain
  • Delayed healing of sores or alterations in existing moles
  • Alterations in bowel or bladder habits
  • Chronic cough or difficulty in breathing, problem in swallowing, changes in voice
  • Prolonged indigestion or heaviness after food
  • Prolonged without reason painful joints or sore muscles
  • Other symptoms include prolonged without any reason fever or night sweats and any reason bleeding or bruising.

Sometimes the patient observes no changes until the disease has progressed to later stages therefore, a complete body check-up once a year helps in the early screening of the disease.

Types of cancer

Carcinomas are a variety of cancer that initiates in cells that form the skin or the cells on the outer surface of the internal organs like the liver or kidneys. Similar to other varieties of cancer these carcinomas are faulty cells that undergo uncontrollable division and spread to different parts of the body.

Lymphoma is a variety of cancer that initiates in the fighter cells of the human immune system, which are known as lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are present in lymph nodes such as lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and other body parts. If a patient has a lymphoma then the morphology of these lymphocytes alters and grows uncontrollably.

Sarcoma is a cancerous tumor that initiates from faulty cells of mesenchymal (connective tissue) cells or other different types of tissues. Sarcomas are regarded as the primary connective tissue cancer that primarily originates in the connective tissue whereas the connective tissue tumors which develop in any other part and later on spread to connective tissue are known as a secondary sarcoma.

Leukemia is a variety of cancer that initiates in the blood-formulating tissue that is normally the bone marrow. The outcome is the over-manufacturing of faulty WBC cells which takes an active part in fighting against infections in the body.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, which develops in the pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes, and they manufacture melanin that provides color to the skin. It can develop in the eyes, and occasionally inside the body parts like the nose or throat. The etiology of melanomas is still not discovered fully but the exposure to UV rays from the sun enhances the threat of melanoma and therefore the melanoma can be prevented by limiting the exposure of harmful radiations.

Preventive measures

The disease has been an outcome of a faulty lifestyle and too much exposure to harmful radiation. However, the etiology of the disease is still not clear but there are certain aggravating factors that culminate in the disease.

Cancer can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle, no Tobacco intake, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting sun exposure and avoiding risky behavior like unprotected sex, and regular health checkups to limit the disease at an early stage.

The most common risk factors of cancer are age, alcohol, cancer-causing items, prolonged inflammation, diet, hormonal disturbance, immunity suppressing drugs, infectious substances, overweight and passive smoking also increases the risk of developing cancer.

Diagnostic methods

  • Cancer can be diagnosed in a number of ways. Through physical examination, a doctor can inspect any abnormal growth under the skin like a lump.
  • Other common ways are routine urine and blood examinations that can detect any abnormality in the function of any organ.
  • Imaging tests also help the doctors to inspect internal organs and bones in a non-invasive manner like through CT scan, MRI, PET, USG and X ray.
  • Biopsy is another technique in which sample of cells are collected from the site of a lump or suspected area and is the most accurate way to detect cancer.

More than these techniques if you notice any changes in the regular body functions then you should seek medical advice and can catch hold of the disease in the very early stages and can get fully recovered.

Management of cancer 

The treatment of cancer depends upon the type of cancer and its extent of spread in the body. The most common therapeutic measures for cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy, photodynamic therapy, and stem cell transplant therapy. Intensity modulation treatment therapy and Image-guided radiation therapy uses linear accelerators and help in more guided radiation therapy, as it identifies the shape and size of tumors in the body. It is particularly useful for tumors that move and change shape easily. Immunotherapy

“Cancer may have started the fight but medical science will finish it.”

The issue that makes cancer difficult to cure is the ability of cancer cells to dodge the body’s immunity system. The immune system at times fails to recognize those cells as threats or the system is inefficient to fight them. However, owing to recent advances in medical science, now immunotherapy drugs can mark these cells in order to facilitate easier detection. The drugs help to strengthen the defense mechanism of the body to ensure fierce attack.

A gene therapy called CART-cell therapy has been approved by FDA, which uses the body’s immune cells (also known as T-cells) to treat the deadly disease. The cells are extracted from the blood and changed by doctors by adding new genes. A recently discovered drug known as Tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) has been approved to treat lymphoblastic leukemia of children and young adults until 25 years of age.

Customized medicine The conventional belief in treating cancer was that patients with a certain type and stage of cancer would get the same treatment. However, a straightjacket treatment might not be effective in treating all the patients. The patient’s genes can help the doctors give a fair idea about the treatment required. It is not recommended to wipe off all the cells (including healthier ones) rather the focus should only be on deadly cells.

High-tech advancements The technological advances have made it easier for doctors to learn the specifics of the disease in greater detail. The imaging techniques are useful in locating the exact position and spread of the deadly cells. For instance- MP-MRI techniques can expose the groups of blood vessels in a new prostate tumor. The micro view helps the doctors in providing the best treatment.

FLI (Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging) is extremely beneficial to detect breast cancer. Imaging can help doctors to check for the presence of proteins that are leading to the growth of cancer cells. Summary

The over-arching objective of this blog is to disseminate awareness and bring about a psychological change amongst the masses towards cancer. Earlier the name itself was enough to drive the chill waves down the spine but not anymore as the doctors and scientists have researched new drugs and techniques to manage the disease. Let’s join hands and spread the word amongst our dearest friends and family members.

How KareOptions can help?

Finding the right doctor for getting a second opinion and dealing with other day-to-day chores would be overwhelming for most patients. Some patients may find it difficult to tell their current doctor that they would like a second opinion. Sometimes, your doctor may help you find the right specialist, but in most cases, you have to do a lot of work finding the right doctor without delaying your required treatment. Insurance companies may or may not cover the cost of a second opinion, and some may reimburse your costs when you consult a specialist who belongs to their approved lists of providers.

KareOptions can simplify the process of getting a second opinion for your cancer treatment by undertaking all the groundwork to get access to specialists that suit your healthcare needs. Our Medical Second Opinion Service (MSOS) and Second Opinion Board Review (SOBR) help you obtain a sound review of your diagnosis and treatment options by a team of oncology experts.

Related blogs

How can cancer experts guide you in coping with the disease

Why a Multidisciplinary Second Opinion on Cancer is Important to Ensure the Best Chances of Recovery

How to deal with the Emotional Side Effects of Cancer and its Treatment Journey

How cancer staging is determined?

*Disclaimer *

“KareOptions does not have any intention to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide its users and/ or the general public with information to better understand their health. All content (including text, graphics, images, information, etc.) provided herein is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment. KareOptions makes no representation and assumes no responsibility/ liability for the accuracy of the information, advice, diagnosis, treatment provided herein or on its website. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ IT HERE OR ACCESSED THROUGH THE KAREOPTIONS WEBSITE.”

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