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Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & Types

One can easily define cancer as an abnormal cell’s uncontrollable growth. It can happen anywhere in the body.

These cells have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal tissues in our body. It is among the top leading causes of death around the world.

Cancer does not just affect the human species. It also affects all kinds of living species around the world. But things have changed over the years. Now, the survival rate of cancer has improved, and there are many ways one can go for screening and take precautions to prevent it. Still, the numbers show that the death from cancer continues to rise as more and more people develop signs of it.

Types of Cancer

Now there’s no one type of cancer. There are many and are named for the area where they develop.

Several terms are used in describing cancers in general. Some type of cancer –

  1. Lymphoma and Myeloma
  2. Leukemia
  3. Sarcoma
  4. Carcinoma

What are the Causes of Cancer?

As we mentioned before, anything that caused abnormality in the growth of a healthy body cell can lead to cancer.

There are several reasons why this abnormality might occur. There are some cancers whose cause is still unknown.

But some are caused due to the environment or triggered by the lifestyle of a person. According to another observation, the development of cancer occurs due to the genetic makeup of a person.

It is often difficult to determine the reason why cancer developed during the initial stage. But some possible reasons can indicate the problem.

Here are some possible causes of cancer:

1. Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

One of the reasons why cancer cells may develop is due to exposure to chemicals. These include nickel, cadmium, benzene, asbestos, vinyl, tobacco, and aflatoxin. Exposure to these chemicals can lead to cancer.

2. Exposure to Radiation

Ionizing radiation such as uranium, UV rays, radon, x-ray sources, and radiation from gamma, alpha, and beta are also the reasons for cell growth to go rogue.

3. Passed through Genes

Some cancer types are linked to the genetic code of humans. These can be passed down from a parent to their child or grandparent to the grandchild. These include breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, skin cancer, and melanoma.

4. Pathogens

There are several pathogens whose exposure can result in the development of cancer cells. These include Human papillomavirus, EBV, Hepatitis B & C, and other bacterial agents.

It is also crucial to understand that almost everyone is at risk of developing cancer due to being exposed to situations mentioned above, but this doesn’t mean that everyone develops cancer. Even after being exposed to cancer-causing pathogens or chemicals, many people still don’t get cancer during their lifetime.

But it’s also true that the higher the amount of exposure to cancer-causing materials increases the chances of developing cancer.

But a heightened immune system can control and eliminate cancer-causing cells. Studies also indicate that dietary choices can also lead to the prevention of cancer cells.

Other Risk Factors of Cancer

Apart from the causes and risk factors mentioned above, many other cancer-causing risk factors have recently been added to the list.

One of those factors is red meat. Red meat includes beef, pork, and lamb. They have high-risk agents that can lead to cancer. And not just them, many other processed types of meat are also part of the list.

There are also factors, including obesity, chronic inflammation, hormones (used for replacement therapy), and overall lack of exercise.

In 2011, WHO (World Health Organization) classified cellphones as possibly carcinogenic. They possess the same amount of risk that comes with caffeine. It is easy to prove something causes cancer than to prove that it does not.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Cancer?

Usually, the symptoms depend on the type of cancer or the body part it affects. But there are some general symptoms and signs that you can look out for, including:

  1. Lump or thickening under the skin
  2. Feeling of fatigue
  3. Change in weight (sudden gain or loss)
  4. Changes in bowel movement
  5. Difficulty swallowing
  6. Yellowing of skin and persistent sores
  7. Uncontrollable cough and difficulty breathing
  8. Indigestion and discomfort after meals
  9. Unexplained joint pain
  10. Night sweats and sudden fever

If you experience these symptoms, the first thing to do is to consult a doctor. These symptoms don’t always indicate cancer and can be due to noncancerous reasons. So before you jump to any conclusion after reading a few articles on the internet, consult a professional.

Treatment Options for Cancer

When it comes to treating cancer, we have come a long way. Now there are various ways in which one can treat cancer and extend the life of a person. But those options highly depend on the type of cancer and the stage of cancer you are on. Some of those options include:

1. Chemotherapy:

It is the option of using drugs to kill cancerous cells.

2. Surgery:

Surgery works by removing the cancer cells as much as possible.

3. Bone Marrow Transplant:

Also known as stem cell transplant, it allows a doctor to use chemotherapy to treat cancer and can be used to replace the bone marrow which may be diseased.

4. Hormone Therapy:

Hormone therapy is done to block or remove the hormones that may be fueling the cancer cells in your body. Examples of these include prostate cancer or breast cancer.

5. Radiation Therapy:

This therapy involves using x-rays or proton rays for killing cancer cells. The treatment can be done using a machine from inside your body or outside it.

6. Immunotherapy:

This therapy involves using the body’s immune system for fighting cancer. It is possible for cancer to go unchecked in the body if the immune system fails to recognize it as a potential intruder. The therapy aims towards pushing the immune system into eliminating such cancer cells.

7. Radiofrequency Ablation Technique:

In this treatment, doctors use electrical energy for heating the cancer cells and causing their death. For this, doctors push a needle through the skin and into the tissue affected by cancer. Then high-frequency energy is passed to heat the surrounding tissues, thus killing the cells that are nearby.

8. Cryablation:

This is the opposite of the previous treatment where the cancer cells are killed using cold. A thin needle is inserted into the cancerous cell. Then the doctors pass gas through that needle which freezes the tissue and allows it to thaw. The process of freezing and thawing is repeated several times until the cancer cells are eliminated.

These are some of the treatments that are available depending on the type of cancer you are suffering from.

Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

 When you get treated for cancer, it is possible to experience some side effects. Even though the doctors try to reduce these problems as much as possible, you may still experience some of the effects that may include:

  1. Appetite loss
  2. Bleeding
  3. Constipation
  4. Anemia
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Hair loss
  7. Sexual health issues
  8. Nausea
  9. Nerve problems
  10. Fertility issues
  11. Flu-like symptoms
  12. Bladder problems
  13. Insomnia

It is possible to experience a few of these symptoms and not all of them. The side effects can vary from person to person.

There are plenty of treatment options available from surgery to hormonal treatment. For example, those men suffering from prostate cancer can go for Abirapro. It is a hormonal treatment that stops the body from making testosterone and slows down the growth of prostate cancer. But before you go for any kind of treatment, consult a medical professional for the best advice.

Anika Soni

I am a blogger and creative designer. I love reading, research and writing.

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