Cancer is a serious disease that spreads widely throughout the world. This disease occurs when cells grow abnormally, quickly, and irregularly in different parts of the body. Over time, these cells accumulate and form a mass of tissues called a tumor. The tumor can be cancerous or non-cancerous, and the methods of treatment and diagnosis differ between the two types. Cancer can spread to other parts of the body, causing serious complications. It is considered one of the most common causes of death worldwide, making prevention and early diagnosis essential to reduce its spread and treat it.
Cancer is one of the most common diseases worldwide. It occurs as a result of abnormal growth of cancer cells in the body’s tissues and usually spreads through the blood or lymphatic system to other parts of the body.
One of the leading causes of cancer is
smoking. Tobacco smoke contains harmful substances that break down healthy cells and increase the likelihood of developing cancerous tumors.
Exposure to electromagnetic radiation, such as X-rays and ultraviolet rays, also damages the body’s cells and increases the risk of developing cancer. Therefore, it is important to avoid exposure to these types of radiation as much as possible.
Genetic factors can also increase the likelihood of developing cancer. If someone in your family has had the disease in the past, your chances of getting cancer may be higher.
A person’s diet can also affect their chances of developing cancer. Consuming foods that are high in saturated fats and chemicals increases the likelihood of developing cancer.
As a person ages, their risk of developing cancer also increases.
It is important to note that these factors are not always responsible for the development of cancer. Some people can develop the disease without any external factors being to blame. Therefore, it is recommended to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, avoid exposure to carcinogens, and seek early detection and treatment if diagnosed with cancer.
Important tips to reduce the risk of developing cancer include:
- Adopting a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits while avoiding processed and fatty foods.
- Quitting smoking in all its forms (cigarettes, hookah, cigars), as it is a major cause of cancer.
- Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular physical activity, as this helps prevent some types of cancer such as breast and colon cancer.
- Avoiding exposure to ultraviolet radiation, as this increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
- Limiting exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals, whether at home or in the workplace, and ensuring the use of necessary protective measures when exposed to these substances.
- Early detection of some types of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer, through regular screening and diagnosis, as cancer can be treated quickly and effectively if detected in its early stages.
In summary, preventing cancer depends on adopting a healthy lifestyle and following the important tips mentioned above, in addition to regular screening and diagnosis for the disease.
Your doctor may use one or more approaches to diagnose cancer:
Physical examination. Your doctor may start by palpating areas of your body to look for masses that may indicate cancer. During the physical examination, your doctor may also look for abnormal findings, such as changes in skin color or enlargement of an organ, which may indicate the presence of cancer.
Lab tests. Lab tests, such as urine and blood tests, may help your doctor identify abnormal changes that cancer can cause. For example, a common blood test called a complete blood count may reveal an abnormal number or type of white blood cells in people with leukemia.
Imaging tests. Imaging tests allow your doctor to examine your bones and internal organs in a non-invasive way. Imaging tests used to diagnose cancer may include computed tomography (CT) scans, bone scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scans, ultrasound, X-rays, and others.
Biopsy. In a biopsy, your doctor collects a sample of cells to be tested in a lab. There are several ways to collect the sample, and the appropriate biopsy procedure for you depends on the type and location of the cancer. In most cases, a biopsy is the only way to confirm a cancer diagnosis.
In the lab, doctors examine the cell samples under a microscope. Normal cells appear uniform and similar in size and organization, while cancer cells appear less organized and show different sizes without a clear pattern.
Once cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will determine the stage of the cancer. Knowing the stage of the cancer helps your doctor determine treatment options and your chances of recovery.
Tests and procedures to classify cancer stages may include imaging tests, such as bone scans or X-rays, to determine whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer stages are referred to by numbers from 0 to 4, which are often written in Roman numerals from 0 to IV. The higher numbers indicate more advanced cancer stages. In some types of cancer, cancer stages are referred to using letters or words.
There are many cancer treatments available. Treatment options depend on several factors, such as the type and stage of cancer, your overall health, and your personal preferences. You and your doctor can carefully consider the benefits and risks of each cancer treatment to determine the best option for your case.
Doctors use a variety of tools when it comes to treating cancer. Treatment options for cancer include:
- Surgery: Cancer surgery aims to remove the cancer or as much of it as possible.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be delivered externally (external beam radiation) or the radioactive material can be placed inside the body (brachytherapy).
- Bone marrow transplant: Bone marrow transplant, also known as stem cell transplant, uses bone marrow, which is the material inside bones that makes blood cells. Your own cells or cells from a donor can be used for a bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow transplant allows your doctor to use higher doses of chemotherapy to treat cancer. It can also be used to replace damaged bone marrow.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy, also known as biologic therapy, relies on your immune system to fight cancer. Cancer can sometimes go undetected by your immune system as it does not recognize it as foreign. In this case, immunotherapy can help your immune system “see” cancer cells and attack them.
- Hormone therapy: Some types of cancer feed on the hormones in your body. Examples include breast cancer and prostate cancer. Removing these hormones from the body or blocking their effects can stop cancer cells from growing.
- Targeted drug therapy: Targeted drug therapy focuses on specific abnormalities within cancer cells that allow them to remain in the body.
- Clinical trials: Clinical trials are studies to explore new ways of treating cancer. There are thousands of clinical trials underway to treat cancer.
There may be other treatments available depending on the type of cancer