Understanding cancer: diagnosis and treatment – Aakash Healthcare

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Understanding Cancer - its Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

We’ve all heard of lung cancer, breast cancer, oral and mouth cancer etc. but what exactly is the disease called cancer?

Understanding Cancer - its Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

We’ve all heard of lung cancer, breast cancer, oral and mouth cancer etc. but what exactly is the disease called cancer? Cancer is a disease which occurs when some cells in a body begin to grow uncontrollably (mutate) and spread out into other parts of the body.

Cancer can manifest itself anywhere in a human body which is made of trillions of cells. Throughout our lives, cells grow and multiply through cell division and form new cells as our body requires and as cells grow old or suffer damage, they die with new cells replacing them.

Sometimes this process can get disrupted and abnormal and/or damaged cells grow and multiply uncontrollably. These cells can form tumours, lumps of tissue. All tumours are not cancerous, they can also be non cancerous and are called benign tumours.

Cancerous tumours can also spread to nearby tissues and travel to other places in the body and form new tumours, this process is called metastasis. While most cancers cause the formation of solid tumours, cancers of the blood like leukaemia usually do not.

Benign tumours will not spread to nearby tissue and after removal, these tumours usually don’t grow back, whereas cancerous tumours

Sometimes do. Benign tumours can sometimes be quite large and some may cause serious symptoms or become life threatening, for instance benign tumours in the brain.

Causes of Cancer

First off, cancer is a genetic disease, which means it is caused due to changes that occur to genes, which control the way our cells function, especially their growth and division.

Genetic changes that can lead to cancer happen because of errors that happen in cell division, damage to our DNA which is caused because of harmful substances in our surroundings, some examples are chemicals in tobacco smoke, air pollutants even harsh ultraviolet rays from the sun. Sometimes cancer-causing genes can be directly inherited from our parents.

A healthy body will normally eliminate cells with damaged DNA before they become cancerous but this ability to do so diminishes as we age. This is why adults are at a greater risk of cancer later in life.

Consult the best cancer specialists in Delhi and they’ll tell you that every case of cancer is caused by a unique combination of genetic changes that occur individually. When the cancer grows and spreads, more changes will occur. Even within the same tumour, various cells could undergo various genetic changes.

Did you know there are more than 100 types of cancer known to us? The types of cancer are named after the organs or tissues where they form. For example, lung cancer will begin in the lungs, cervical cancer in the cervix and brain cancer in the brain. Cancers can also be described by the type of cell that created them, squamous cell or epithelial cell.

General Symptoms of Cancer

Different cancers will have different symptoms, but some common signs and symptoms of cancer for both men and women include:

1) Pain - bone cancer will hurt from the beginning and some brain tumours cause headaches which don’t improve with treatment. Pain at times, is also a late sign of cancer, so try and see the best cancer doctor you can if you can’t find out why it’s happening or if it doesn’t go away.

2) Sudden weight loss without trying. Almost half of all people who have cancer lose substantial weight. It’s one of the early signs they notice first.

3) Tiredness and fatigue are other common symptoms, and when rest doesn’t help, consult your doctor. Cancer wears you out and cancer -related weight loss can leave you exhausted, as well

4) Fever. In blood cancers like lymphoma or leukaemia fever can happen and last for days or even weeks.

5) Changes in skin by way of unusual or new moles, or marks on your body, see a cancer specialist to make sure it’s not skin cancer potentially. If skin is darkened, yellow or red, with itching or if you get an unexplained rash, it could be a sign of liver, kidney or ovarian cancer or lymphoma.

Treatment

If you’re considering treatment options for cancer, try and see the best doctors for cancer and get tested and treated at the best hospitals for cancer treatment in Delhi as these can give you the best chance at beating cancer at affordable cost.

There are many treatments for cancer available and the treatment a person receives depends on the type of cancer and how advanced it is.

Some people with cancer will need only one treatment but most people need a combination of treatments,

Chemotherapy

This is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to eliminate cancer cells.

Hormone therapy

This treatment slows or stops the growth of breast and prostate cancers that require hormones to grow.

Immunotherapy

This is a type of cancer treatment that aids your immune system in fighting cancer.

Radiation therapy

This is a type of cancer treatment that deploys high doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells and eliminate tumours.

Stem cell transplants

These are procedures that restore and replenish blood-forming stem cells in cancer patients who have non functioning cells as they were destroyed by very high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Surgery

When used for treatment of cancer, surgery involves a surgeon removing the cancer from your body.

Targeted therapy

This is a type of cancer treatment that specifically targets the changes in cancer cells that are helping them grow, divide, and spread.

 

Dr. Arun Kumar Giri
Director
Surgical Oncology

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