Know the basics
What is cancer?
Cancer is the condition of uncontrollable development of abnormal cells, leading to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. More than 200 different types of cancer were reported.
How common is cancer?
Cancer is extremely common. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of cancer?
The common symptoms of cancer are:
- Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin;
- Unintended weight changes;
- Yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin;
- Sores that won’t heal, or changes to existing moles;
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits;
- A persistent cough or trouble breathing;
- Difficulty swallowing, hoarseness;
- Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating;
- Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain;
- Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats;
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Know the causes
What causes cancer?
Cancer is caused by changes (mutations) to the DNA within cells. The DNA inside a cell is packaged into a large number of individual genes, each of which contains a set of instructions telling the cell what functions to perform, as well as how to grow and divide. Errors in the instructions can cause the cell to stop its normal function and may allow a cell to become cancerous. The reasons of gene mutations are many that often divide into two main causes:
- Internal factor. You may be born with a genetic mutation that you inherited from your parents. This type of mutation accounts for a small percentage of cancers.
- External factor. Most gene mutations occur after you’re born and aren’t inherited. A number of forces can cause gene mutations, such as smoking, radiation, viruses, cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens), obesity, hormones, chronic inflammation and a lack of exercise.
As a result, a mutated gene fosters a healthy cell to grow and divide more rapidly, uncontrollably, leading to various new cells that all have that same mutation. Normal cells know when to stop growing so that you just have the right number of each type of cell. Cancer cells lose the controls (tumor suppressor genes) that tell them when to stop growing. A mutation in a tumor suppressor gene allows cancer cells to continue growing and accumulating. More seriously, a mutation in a DNA repair gene may mean that other errors aren’t corrected in contrast with the correction function of a healthy DNA, predisposing cells to become cancerous.
These mutations are the most common ones found in cancer. Scientists do not know how many mutations must accumulate for cancer to form. It’s likely that this varies among cancer types.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for cancer?
There are many risk factors for cancer, such as:
- Your age. Cancer can take decades to develop. That’s why most people diagnosed with cancer are 65 or older. However, cancer isn’t exclusively an adult disease, cancer can be diagnosed at any age.
- Your bad habits such as smoking, excessive amount of alcohol intake, over-exposure to the sun,being obese, and having unsafe sex can contribute to cancer.
- Family history. Although only a small portion of cancers due to an inherited condition, you should take a genetic testing for further prevention. Keep in mind that having an inherited genetic mutation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get cancer.
- Your health conditions. Some chronic health conditions such as ulcerative colitis can markedly increase your risk of developing certain cancers.
- Living environment. Harmful chemicals like asbestos and benzene in your home or workplace could be an increasing risk factor for cancer. Even if you don’t smoke, you might inhale secondhand smoke if you go where people are smoking or if you live with someone who smokes.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is cancer diagnosed?
It is highly recommended to diagnose cancer as soon as possible for the best opportunity for curing, especially at its earliest stages. Your doctor may use one or more approaches to diagnosing cancer: physical exam, laboratory tests, imaging tests, biopsy.
How is cancer treated?
- The treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer, possible side effects, the patient’s preferences, and overall health.
- Immunotherapy and vaccines.
- Radiation therapy.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage cancer?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with cancer:
- Don’t smoke. Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Limit processed meats.
- Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active. Maintaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney.
- Protect yourself from the sun.
- Get regular medical care.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: October 3, 2016 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019
Cancer.http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/basics/treatment/con-20032378. Accessed September 15, 2016
Cancer - http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/how-cancer-treated/1 Accessed September 15, 2016
Cancer prevention. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/cancer-prevention/art-20044816?pg=1 Accessed September 15, 2016