What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease that affects almost every organ system in the body. There are many types of cancer, including skin cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, brain tumors, bone tumors, liver cancer, and others.
In fact, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1.6 million people die from cancer each year in the U.S., and approximately 14 million new cases are diagnosed annually.
There are four basic steps involved in developing cancer:
- Initiation – A mutation occurs in a normal cell that results in abnormal growth. These mutations can occur at any point in the cell cycle (the series of events that occur in cells before they divide).
- Promotion – Mutations that lead to abnormal cell division continue to multiply until the mutated cells outnumber the normal cells.
- Tumorigenesis – A tumor grows larger than 2 mm in diameter.
- Metastasis – Cells spread from the primary tumor to distant sites in the body.
Symptoms of Cancer
Following the are symptoms of cancer:
Weight loss may not only be caused by cancer, but cancer treatments can cause weight loss. Cancer patients often experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. These symptoms can lead to malnutrition and dehydration. A decrease in appetite may occur due to chemotherapy side effects. As a result, patients may lose weight.
Anemia occurs when the red blood cells do not carry enough oxygen to the body’s organs. This lack of oxygen can cause tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Patients who have undergone radiation therapy may develop anemia due to the damage done to their bone marrow.
Hair loss may be experienced because of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both. Chemotherapy causes hair follicles to become weak and fall out. Radiation therapy damages the hair follicle and prevents it from producing hair. Both therapies can cause hair loss.
Chemotherapy may lead to swelling in the hands, feet, lips, and face. Because chemotherapy affects the white blood cells, they cannot fight off infections. Consequently, the patient may get sick easily and experience fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy may feel weak and fatigued. In addition, they may suffer muscle cramps, low blood pressure, and headaches.
Nausea is the feeling of sickness and discomfort in the stomach. It is caused by the brain sending signals to the digestive tract telling it to stop working. Commonly occurring side effects of chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation.
Bone pain is a serious symptom of cancer that may be caused by metastasis. Metastasis means spreading of cancerous cells outside the original tumor site. When cancer spreads to bones, it becomes painful. Cancer treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Cancer Treatment Options
Its treatments have been around since ancient times, and the practice of medicine has changed drastically over time. In modern times, we now know that cancer is caused by genetic mutations that cause cells to become abnormal and outgrow their normal environment.
Cancer treatment today focus on either killing off these cancerous cells or preventing them from proliferating at all. There are many different types of cancer treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapies, and others.
Following are the cancer treatment option:
The first line of defense against cancer is surgical removal of the tumor. Surgery may involve removing the entire organ containing the tumor (such as a kidney) or only a portion of the organ. When possible, surgery should be done before the cancer spreads throughout the body.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapies work by interfering with the DNA of the cancer cells, causing them to stop dividing. There are many cancer hospitals in Delhi who doesn’t suggest this therapy because it has many side effects. Different chemotherapeutic agents target different parts of the cancer cell’s DNA; some interfere with enzymes involved in DNA replication, while others inhibit the production of certain proteins necessary for cell division. Most chemotherapies are given intravenously, although they can also be taken orally if the patient cannot receive IV fluids.
Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA of cancer cells. This therapy involves exposing the cancer cells to high doses of ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation damages the DNA of cancer cells, stopping them from replicating and ultimately killing them.
Immunotherapy focuses on stimulating a person’s own immune system to attack and destroy cancer cells. It is often used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment. One type of immunotherapy, called adoptive T-cell transfer, involves collecting white blood cells from a donor and then genetically modifying them to recognize and destroy specific cancers. Another type, known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), involves engineering patients’ own immune cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells.
Targeted therapies are designed to target specific molecules or pathways associated with cancer. These therapies aim to block the action of individual proteins or signaling pathways that drive cancer growth. Targeted therapies are particularly useful in treating cancers that are driven by a single mutation.
You can also read: Why India needs cancer care