By becoming cancer literate, we may diagnose a cancer early and reduce the adverse effects of cancer. Hence, it is crucial that YOU increase your cancer knowledge.
Do YOU Know Enough: Increase Your Cancer Knowledge
The World Cancer Day Web site presents a huge amount of valuable data. Here are some examples.
- 10 million people die from cancer every year.
- At least one third of common cancers are preventable.
- Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide.
- 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries.
- Up to 3.7 million lives could be saved each year by implementing resource appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection and treatment.
- The total annual economic cost of cancer is estimated at US$1.16 trillion.
Types of Cancer
- Carcinoma – A cancer that arises from the epithelial cells (the lining of cells that helps protect or enclose organs). Carcinomas may invade the surrounding tissues and organs and metastasise to the lymph nodes and other areas of the body. The most common forms of cancer in this group are breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer
- Sarcoma – A type of malignant tumor of the bone or soft tissue (fat, muscle, blood vessels, nerves and other connective tissues that support and surround organs). The most common forms of sarcoma are leiomyosarcoma, liposarcoma and osteosarcoma
- Lymphoma and Myeloma – Lymphoma and Myeloma are cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system. Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which runs all through the body, and can therefore occur anywhere. Myeloma (or multiple myeloma) starts in the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies to help fight infection. This cancer can affect the cell’s ability to produce antibodies effectively
- Leukemia – Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells and bone marrow, the tissue that forms blood cells. There are several subtypes; common are lymphocytic leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Brain and spinal cord cancers – these are known as central nervous system cancers. Some are benign while others can grow and spread.
Causes of Cancer
Cancers can be caused by a number of different factors and, as with many other illnesses, most cancers are the result of exposure to a number of different causal factors. It is important to remember that, while some factors cannot be modified, around one third of cancer cases can be prevented by reducing behavioral and dietary risks.
Signs and Symptoms of Cancer
- Unusual lumps or swelling.
- Coughing, breathlessness, or difficulty swallowing.
- Changes in bowel habits.
- Unexpected bleeding.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Pain or aches.
- New mole or changes to a mole.
- Complications with urinating.
- Unusual breast changes.
- Appetite loss.
- A sore or ulcer that won’t heal.
- Heartburn or indigestion.
- Heavy night sweats.
Prevention and Early Detection of Cancer
Over a third of all cancers can be prevented by reducing your exposure to risk factors such as tobacco, obesity, physical inactivity, infections, alcohol, environmental pollution, occupational carcinogens, and radiation. Prevention of certain cancers may also be effective through vaccination against the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), helping to protect against liver cancer and cervical cancer respectively. Reducing exposures to other carcinogens such as environmental pollution, occupational carcinogens and radiation could help prevent further cancers.
There are a number of cancers which can be identified early. Which helps to improve the chances of successful treatment outcomes, often at lower costs and with fewer (or less significant) side effects for patients. There are cost-effective tests that help detect colorectal, breast, cervical and oral cancers early and further tests are being developed for other cancers. Check with your doctor for guidance on the national recommendations regarding vaccinations, testing.
Managing and Treating Cancer
Your treatment depends on the type of cancer, where your cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread, and your general health. The general types of treatments include: surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and gene therapy.
- Radiation treatment or radiotherapy.
- Hormone therapy.
- Gene therapy.
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