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About Cancer 

Cancer is a term used to refer to a large group of diseases that can develop almost anywhere in the body. This is characterized by the development of abnormal cells that can grow and spread irrepressibly and have the ability to infiltrate normal tissues of the body. This medical condition can spread in the body. 

Cancer is a leading cause of mortality in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 10 million deaths, which is 1 out of 6, in 2020 is due to cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) had an estimated 1,806,590 new cases of cancer in the United States in 2020.  

Among the most common types of cancer are breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and liver cancer. The American Cancer Society has identified lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death, composing an estimated 25% of all cancer deaths. 

Cancer Causes 

What is considered to be the main culprit of cancer is gene mutations. This happens when there are errors in the division of cells or abnormal changes in the DNA. If a gene mutation occurs, cells can grow and divide more rapidly, tumor suppressor genes will cancer cells can grow and accumulate, and DNA repair genes will fail to make corrections on DNA errors. 

There are also factors that can contribute to the development of cancer cells in the body. Some of them are: 

  • Family history – Cancer itself cannot be inherited. However, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), genetic changes that can increase the risk of cancer could be passed down. 
  • Poor nutrition – Consuming unhealthy food and drinks, such as those that are high in sugar and are highly processed, can put people at higher risk of developing 13 different kinds of cancer, including colorectal cancer. 
  • Radiation exposure – Based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the risk of developing cancer increases the more that a person gets exposed to radiation. 
  • Toxic environment – Exposure to toxins like asbestos, radon, formaldehyde, engine exhaust, and pollution can lead to cancer. 

Symptoms of Cancer 

The signs and symptoms that one may experience will depend on the type of cancer he has. It can also vary depending on the severity of the condition. 

Among the early signs of cancer that can indicate that you have the disease are the following: 

  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Unusual tiredness 
  • Fever 
  • Pain that is persistent and is focused on certain part/s of the body 
  • Skin changes  

Note that experiencing these symptoms does not immediately mean that you have cancer. These symptoms can also be indicative of other medical conditions. However, as these are warning signs of a serious illness, it is best to schedule an appointment with your doctor if you experience them. 

Some of the general signs and symptoms that are associated with cancer are: 

  • An unusual lump 
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits 
  • Persistent cough 
  • Trouble breathing 
  • Hoarseness 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Persistent indigestion 
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising 
  • Appetite changes 
  • Night sweats 

How to Diagnose Cancer 

Diagnosing cancer early can increase the chance of survival. This is why medical professionals recommend cancer screening, especially to those people who are at greater risk. CDC advocates screening for lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer, among others. 

In addition, diagnosis is important to know which cancer prescriptions or treatment options would be best for the patient. Some of the tests done to diagnose cancer are: 

  • Physical exam – To check for lumps, any skin changes, or organ enlargement, the doctor may conduct a physical examination. 
  • Laboratory tests – Some blood tests can check for the presence of proteins and chemicals that may indicate cancer. This includes complete blood count (CBC) and circulating tumor cell (CTC) tests. 
  • Imaging tests – CT scan, PET scan, and MRI allow healthcare professionals to examine internal organs in a non-invasive manner. 
  • Biopsy – For this procedure, the doctor takes a small tissue from the area of the body that is suspected of having cancer. The tissue is examined under the microscope to check for cancer cells. 

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