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Cancer



DEFINITION
Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.There are many types of cancer. Cancers are alike in some ways, but they are different in the ways they grow and spread.Normal cells divide in an orderly way. They die when they are worn out or damaged, and new cells take their place. Cancer is when the cells start to grow out of control and make new cells. They crowd out normal cells and thus create problems in the body where the cancer started.Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body. For instance, cancer cells in the lung can travel to the bones and grow there. When cancer cells spread, it’s called metastasis. 


SYMPTOMS

Cancer has numerous symptoms. It may be asymptomatic for a long time or it may involve only very general symptoms, such as fatigue or weight loss. Cancer symptoms usually worsen as time passes. But they can vary substantially. Many types of cancer develop slowly over years.  The spread of the disease also affects the symptoms you have.  Many cancer symptoms resemble those of other illnesses, and it may be that you don’t have any symptoms at all in the early stages of the disease. In most cases it takes years before a cancer becomes big enough to be noticed by palpation.

Cancer symptoms can include:

  • A lump or sore that does not heal (including in the mouth)

  • A mole that changes in form, size or pigmentation

  • Change or damage to the skin that has not been present before and which increases

  • Bloody vomit, stool or urine, or a cough producing blood

  • Persistent cough

  • Prolonged sore throat

  • Fatigue

  • Changes in bowel movement or urination

  • Inexplicable weight loss

  • Pain

  • Yellowing of complexion


Most common types of  Cancers and their symptoms:

  • Breast cancer: Symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast, bloody discharge from the nipple, and changes in the shape or texture of the nipple or breast.

  • Prostate cancer: Symptoms include difficulty with urination, but sometimes there are no symptoms at all.

  • Basal cell cancer: This cancer typically appears as a white waxy lump or a brown scaly patch on sun-exposed areas, such as the face and neck.

  • Melanoma: Symptoms might include a new, unusual growth or a change in an existing mole. Melanomas can occur anywhere on the body.

  • Colon cancer: Colorectal cancer symptoms depend on the size and location of the cancer. Some commonly experienced symptoms include changes in bowel habits, changes in stool consistency, blood in the stool, and abdominal discomfort.

  • Lung cancer: Symptoms include cough (often with blood), chest pain, wheezing, and weight loss. These symptoms often don't appear until the cancer is advanced.

  • Leukemia: Many patients with slow-growing types of leukemias don't have symptoms. Rapidly growing types of leukemia may cause symptoms that include fatigue, weight loss, frequent infections, and easy bleeding or bruising.

  • Lymphoma: Symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes, fatigue, and weight loss.


DISEASE MECHANISM

Cancer is caused by accumulated damage to genes. Such changes may be due to chance or to exposure to a cancer causing substance. The substances that cause cancer are called carcinogens. A carcinogen may be a chemical substance, such as certain molecules in tobacco smoke. In the majority of cancer cases we cannot attribute the disease to a single cause.

We can roughly divide cancer risk factors into the following groups:

  1. biological or internal factors, such as age, gender, inherited genetic defects, obesity, inflammation

  2. environmental exposure, for instance to radon and UV radiation, and fine particulate matter

  3. occupational risk factors, including carcinogens such as many chemicals, radioactive materials and asbestos

  4. lifestyle-related factors (tobacco smoking, alcohol, some food-related factors, such as nitrites and poly aromatic hydrocarbons generated by barbecuing food, Diet and physical activity).

  5. Occupational risk factors, including carcinogens such as many chemicals, radioactive materials and asbestos.

  6. Viruses and Other Infections (HPV)

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