Cancer, according to a survey, out of every 6 deaths that happen around the world, 1 is a result of cancer. Cancer is one of the most widely spreading diseases in this modern era and the fact that makes it even scarier is that 80% of the cancer symptoms don’t even show until it’s too late. As a matter of fact, most of the cancer cases are caught on while the diagnosis of other diseases is going on.
What is Cancer?
Healthy human cells divide, grow, multiply, and die. This process is controlled by the DNA. Cancer is a disease that affects the DNA and causes abnormal cell division in them. These cancerous cells later spread throughout the body and destroy healthy tissues present in the body. Cancer is categorized into several types based on the location it affects viz. Blood cancer, Bone cancer, etc. It doesn’t matter what the origin might be, cancer, if left untreated, makes its way to other parts of the body until it reaches the point of no return.
What are the causes of Cancer?
As we already know, the DNA is responsible for the proper functioning of the cell cycle, this abnormality in DNA is known as gene mutation. This gene mutation can be caused due to several factors. Some of the prominent ones are:-
1) Inherited Mutated Gene: In this case, one is born with the defective gene that he inherited from his parents. This type of mutation forms a small fraction of the total cancer cases.
2) Mutation after birth: This is the case with the majority of cancer cases. The genetic mutation caused in this case is due to factors like smoking, exposure to radiation, carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals), hormonal imbalances, certain viruses, obesity, and lack of exercise. The scary fact is that both of these mutations work together, i.e. in simple terms, a person who naturally carries a defective gene suffers greater harm when exposed to carcinogens and other lifestyle factors that lead to cancer.
What are the symptoms of Cancer?
Cancer is a disease where these symptoms show up until the disease has progressed considerably. Different types have different sets of symptoms, but some symptoms are common to all.
– Appearance of Lumps and Tumors
– Abnormal changes in weight (Loss or Gain)
– Unexplained, persistent fevers/ night sweats
– Changes in bowel habits
What are the available treatments?
The treatment procedure is decided after a thorough examination of the type and nature of cancer. Here are the methods used to treat cancer.
1.) Surgery: In this procedure, the primary goal of doctors is to remove as many cancerous tissues as possible.
2.) Chemotherapy: As the name suggests, chemotherapy involves the usage of chemicals or drugs to kill cancerous cells.
3.) Hormone Therapy: Certain types of cancer are caused due to hormones in the body. The most popular of those are breast cancer and prostate cancer. This treatment aims to remove the hormones from the body and hence curb cancer from growing and spreading.
4.) Immunotherapy: This method takes help from the body’s natural defense system to kill cancerous cells. This method aims to train the immune system to recognize the cancerous cells more effectively and hence kill them.
5.) Bone Marrow Transplant: More popularly known as stem cell transplant. The main aim of this technique is to provide the strength of the body to withstand higher doses of chemotherapy.
6.) Targeted Drug Therapy: This treatment is used to treat specific abnormalities caused due to cancer.
Complications of Cancer
The most frequently seen complications are
– Weight Loss: Cancerous cells have the ability to steal the nutrients from healthy cells and hence deprive them of necessary nutrients needed for their healthy functioning.
– Chemical Imbalances In Body: Cancer causes chemical changes in the body that can lead to excessive thirst, confusion, constipation, and frequent urination.
– Problems In the Nervous System: Cancer has the ability to irritate the nearby nerves and hence resulting in pain and loss of function of body parts.
– Fatigue: Fatigue is common in cancer patients and can be managed easily.
– Recurrence Of Cancer: One of the biggest problems with cancer is despite the treatment, the patient needs to have annual examinations to stop and treat cancer at its early stage.
Steps to prevent Cancer
As the majority of the genetic mutation that leads to cancer is caused by lifestyle and environmental factors, there are steps everyone can take to keep cancer at bay.
– Eating Healthy: Limiting the intake of processed and packaged food and consuming fresh home-cooked food can work wonders in life with respect to health.
– Maintained Weight: Obese people are more prone to developing cancer and hence it is advisable to maintain a healthy body weight.
– Limit Exposure To Sun: While sunlight blesses us with Vitamin D, it also contains UV rays which are the major cause of skin cancer. Make sure to use proper covering and apply sunscreen before stepping under the sunlight for prolonged periods.
– Limit Alcohol Consumption: It is recommended to quit alcohol altogether since it produces a lot of complications, but even if one chooses to continue, make sure to limit the consumption to one drink per day.
– Get Yourself Screened: Remember 80% of the symptoms of cancer surface only when the condition has become serious. Hence it is advised to get yourself screened annually along with a full body check-up to eradicate all chances of complications.