Cancer occur when cells abnormally develop and spread very fast. Normal body cells grow and multiply and after a specific time stop growing. After some time, they also die. Unlike such normal cells, cancer cells continue to grow and divide beyond control and did not die as expected.
Cancer cells usually gang together to create tumors. A growing tumor is a lump of cancer cells that can adversely affect the normal cells around the tumor and damage the body's healthy cells and tissues. This makes the individual very sick.
Sometimes cancer cells move from the original tumor and reach other areas of the body, where they grow fast and can go on to form new tumors. This is how cancer grows. The dissemination of a tumor to a new area in the body is called metastasis.
The symptoms of different types of cancer that may be witnessed are as follows:
Bladder Cancer: Blood in the urine, pain or burning sensation upon urination; very frequent urination; or cloudy urine
Bone Cancer: Fractures in bones; weakness, weight loss; numbness in legs; bone pain or swelling of affected area; constant bumps and bruises, frequent infections; vomiting, constipation, urination troubles.
Brain Cancer: Loss of feeling in arms or legs; walking problems; fits or convulsions; weakness, dizziness; abnormal eye movements; vision change; loss of memory or speech; headaches that worsen in the morning and decreased during the day which may be accompanied by vomiting.
Breast Cancer: A lump in the breast; nipple discharge; skin change of the breast; enlarged lymph nodes under the arm.
Colorectal Cancer: Rectal bleeding; constipation alternating with diarrhea; weak appetite; weight loss; pallid complexion; abdominal cramps.
Kidney Cancer: Blood in urine; ache or pain in the back or sides; lump in kidney area often results in high BP or abnormality in red blood cell count.
Leukemia: Bruising and continuous bleeding; fever and flu symptoms; paleness; enlarged lymph nodes, liver; joints pain; weakness; prolonged infections; weight loss; occurrence of night sweats.
Lung cancer: Continuous cough for months; enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, wheezing, blood-streaked sputum; prolonged ache in chest; congested lungs.
Melanoma: Change in mole or other bump on the skin, including change and bleeding in the size, shape, color, or texture.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: Swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or underarm; fatigue; continuous fever; weight loss; itchy skin and rashes; tiny lumps in skin; painful bones; swelled abdomen; and enlargement of liver or spleen.
Oral Cancer: A lump in mouth and ulcer in lip, tongue or inside part of mouth taking long to heal; misfitting denture; pain, bleeding, foul breath, loose teeth, and changes in speech.
Ovarian Cancer: Swelled abdomen; in rare cases, abnormal and frequent vaginal bleeding; and digestive discomfort.
Pancreatic Cancer: Upper abdominal pain and weight loss; intolerance of foods rich in fat; pain near the center of the back; pale skin; abdominal masses; enlargement of liver and spleen.
Prostate Cancer: Urination problems due to blockage of the urethra; bladder retains urine, creating frequent feelings of urgency to urinate, especially at night; bladder unable to empty completely; burning or painful urination sensation; tenderness over the bladder; bloody urine; and ache in the pelvis or back.
Stomach Cancer: Nausea and vomiting; uneasiness and abdominal pain; heartburn; Indigestion; constipation; diarrhea; bloating after meals; appetite loss; fatigue and weakness; bleeding - vomiting blood; or blood in the stool
Uterine Cancer: Unexplained vaginal bleeding, blood discharge in postmenopausal women; trouble in urination; pain during intercourse; pain in pelvic area.
Brief summary of most types of cancer is as under:
There are four tested methods of treatment for cancer:
Clinical trials can work for some who meet certain study criteria. Others may go for alternative cancer treatments, which are generally not FDA-approved and often provided in locations outside of the U.S.
After initially diagnosed with cancer, a cancer specialist will explain you the cancer treatment options. He or she will suggest the best treatment plan based on the type and stage of cancer and other vital factors spanning your age and common health.
Ultimately, it is you who makes your treatment decisions based on second opinions, other details generated from qualified professionals and doctor's recommendations,
Surgery: Surgery can be opted for to prevent, treat, stage (after analyzing how advanced the cancer is), and diagnose cancer. In cancer treatment, surgery is conducted to remove tumors or as much of the cancerous tissue as possible. It is often done in conjunction with chemotherapy orradiation therapy.
For those whose cancer is not curable, palliative surgery is often suggested to relieve pain caused by the cancer. Palliative surgery is not done to cure the cancer, or even to prolong life, but often to lessen pain and discomfort.
Chemotherapy: In chemotherapy drugs are used to eliminate cancer cells. Unlike surgery, chemotherapy affects the whole of body, not only a particular body part. It works by aiming rapidly multiplying cancer cells. But it can cause side effects like hair loss and an upset stomach.
Chemotherapy is most commonly treated by of pill or intravenously (IV), but can be provided in other ways also. A certain type of chemotherapy, or a blend of drugs, may be prescribed for a particular duration of time. Like surgery, chemotherapy can be opted alone, in combination with biologic therapy or radiation therapy.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses specific types of energy to reduce tumors or discard cancer cells. It works by damaging a cancer cell's DNA, stopping it to multiply. Cancer cells are extremely sensitive to radiation and usually eliminate when treated. Surrounding healthy cells can also get affected but are resilient enough to fully recover.
Radiation therapy may be performed alone, along with chemotherapy, or with surgery. The decision to combine radiation therapy with other types of treatment entirely depends on the other factors and stage of cancer.
Biologic or Targeted Therapy: Biologic therapy is generally drugs that target characteristics of cancerous tumors. Some types of targeted therapies block the biological processes of tumors that enable tumors to survive and grow. Other types of therapies detach the blood supply to the tumor, resulting in elimination of cancer cells because of lack of blood.
Targeted therapy is opted in certain types of cancer and is available for some particular ones. It is administered in conjunction with other cancer treatments.
Clinical Trials: Research studies of the latest drugs and various therapies against different types of cancer are on going phenomenon. Such research needs human volunteers to test the safety and effectiveness of new therapies. Volunteers must cater to the criteria of each study to be a part of it.
Dialysis: Renal failure is a common occurrence in acutely ill cancer patients. It frequently results from a combination of risk factors, which spans hemodynamic alterations linked with renal ischemia; use of nephrotoxic drugs; urinary tract obstruction; and particular abnormalities related to cancer.
Recent updates in the techniques of hemodialysis, nutritional support, and late introduction of continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration have improved the treatment of these patients.