Cancer usually refers to a group of diseases caused by the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body and affects the surrounding tissues. If not diagnosed in the early stages, the cancer cells may spread or metastasize into other parts of the body. Abnormal cell growth may result in a tumor (lump or growth of cells). Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor for any medical concerns you may have.
As there are more than 100 different types of cancer, the corresponding symptoms of cancer vary. If you have any medical concerns, immediately consult your doctor.
- Constant bloating
- Skin dimpling or puckering
- Nipple discharge
- Nipple that turns inward
- Skin changes
- Bloody stool or urine
- Lumps or swelling in the body that lasts more than a month
- Trouble swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Changes in and around the region of the mouth
- Fatigue lasting more than a month
- Belly pain along plus depression
While doctors do not agree on one single cause of cancer, there are various factors that contribute to this medical disease including:
- Family history of cancer
- Smoking/Tobacco use
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor diet
- Hormonal issues
There is also evidence that eating grilled foods, barbecued foods and fried foods may contribute to higher rates of colon, pancreas, and digestive tract cancer. This is due to the extreme heat that the foods are subjected to, resulting in carcinogens that are created as a result of the cooking process.
If you have several symptoms that point to cancer, it is best to consult your doctor. To confirm that cancer is present in the body, he/she may run some lab tests as well as requesting imaging procedures such as a CT scan, a nuclear scan, ultrasound, MRI, PET Scan. If these tests do not provide a conclusive result, the physician may also order a biopsy or a small sample of tissue to confirm if the tumor/growth is malignant. This may be done with a needle, surgery or a special tool called an endoscope.
Patients diagnosed with cancer have various treatment options that taken along with medication may greatly increase the rates of survival. These options include:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapies
- Other treatment methods (cancer vaccines, hyperthermia, lasers, angiogenesis inhibitors)
Chemotherapy works by slowing the growth of cancer cells or shrinking tumors before surgery/radiation therapy. This process incorporates drugs that directly kill the cancer cells. Immunotherapy is another treatment option that fights cancer by using the body's own defense immune system by boosting the antibodies or injecting the body with cancer vaccines.