The cell is body’s basic building block. Cancer is a disease of the cells and occurs when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way. These abnormal cells can damage or invade the surrounding tissues, or spread to other parts of the body and grow there. Most cancers start in a particular organ; this is called the primary site or primary tumour. Tumours can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
Benign tumours do not spread outside their normal boundary to other parts of the body. Some benign tumours are precancerous and may progress to cancer if left untreated. However, if a benign tumour continues to grow at the original site, it can cause a problem by pressing on nearby organs.
A malignant tumour is made up of cancer cells. When it first develops, this malignant tumour may be confined to its original site. This is known as a cancer in situ (or carcinoma in situ). If these cells are not treated, they may spread beyond their normal boundaries through path of least resistance into the surrounding tissues. It can also spread by lymph or blood stream to other organs this is called metastasis.
For most cancers the causes are not fully understood. However, some factors place individuals at a greater risk for cancer are well-recognized. Examples include:
When cancer cells break away from a tumor, they can travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or the lymph system. (Lymph vessels are much like blood vessels, except they carry a clear fluid and immune system cells.)
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the base of the throat, near the windpipe which produces hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.
Brain cancer or tumours is an abnormal growth of cells in the brain.
Malignant tumours can grow and spread aggressively to distant parts of the body as well.
Benign tumours are less harmful as compared to malignant ones as they don’t spread to nearby tissues but a benign tumour can cause problems in the brain by pressing on a nearby tissue.
Brain tumours that originate in brain cells are called primary brain tumours. Metastatic or secondary brain tumours spread to the brain from other tumours. Symptoms of a brain tumour are usually related to its location rather than its size and develops when the tumour destroys or compresses normal brain tissue.
So either the tissues around the tumour swell or the tumour interferes with the normal flow of fluid around the brain and the spinal cord.
Breast Cancer is established as one of the nation’s most formidable enemies in the healthcare landscape. It is one of the most common cancers amongst Indian women; every year as many as 100,000 women develop breast cancer in the country. This high incidence is poised to rise to an even more unmanageable number.
This makes up almost 30% of cancers among Indians. Causes are chewing tobacco, betel nut, paan, smoking cigarettes and consuming excessive alcohol. Another risk factor is an infection with the HPV which increases the risk of throat cancer
Cancer in the lungs is common and people who smoke are at the highest risk of contracting lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer increases with the duration of smoking period and the number of cigarettes smoked.
This is one of the most common types of cancers in men. It usually affects men in their 60s, but is now progressively found in men of a lower age group as well. The common problems arising in this gland include benign (non-cancerous) enlargement, or cancer of the prostate.
The risk factors include older age, family history and obesity.
Prostate cancer grows slowly and initially remains confined to the organ. However, in certain cases, the growth is rapid and can spread quickly to other organs.
Precaution: Early detection allows patients to choose from a range of treatment options, with excellent outcomes.
The common gynaecological cancers are cervical, ovarian, endometrial (uterine body) and cancer of the fallopian tube (occasionally) excluding carcinoma of the female breast. Gynaecological cancers have increased in India and by 2020, may constitute about 30% of the total cancers among women.
This occurs when cells in the colon or rectum grow and multiply uncontrollably, damaging surrounding tissue and interfering with their normal function. It is one of the slowest growing cancers, with high chances of a complete cure, if detected early. The concern though lies in early detection as major symptoms do not occur initially.
Major risk factors include family history, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, age above 50, obesity, physical inactivity, diet with less fibre, consumption of more red & processed meats, smoking and alcoholism.
The liver is one of the vital organs which filters the blood coming from the digestive tract, before circulating it to the rest of the body. It can be affected either by primary liver cancer, which arises in the liver, or secondary or metastatic cancer, which originates elsewhere in the body.
Primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) tends to occur when the liver is damaged in the form of ‘Cirrhosis’ (a scarring condition of the liver), certain birth defects, alcohol abuse, chronic infection with diseases such as hepatitis B and C, hemochromatosis, obesity and fatty liver disease amongst others.
Individuals who have had some types of radiation or chemotherapy for treating other cancers, or those with certain genetic disorders, or exposure to chemicals like benzene or have family history are often at risk for leukaemia. This Cancer develops when the genetic material, or DNA, of a white blood cell is altered and the diseased cells called blasts eventually take over the bone marrow and do not allow normal RBC, WBC and platelet development.
Staging helps doctors plan treatment and predict outlook or prognosis.
The types of treatment that patient receives will depend on the type of cancer the patient has and how advanced it is. The main types of cancer treatment include:
Side effects of Cancer treatment:
Take the first step today to let your friends and family know.