Thursday 2 April 2015

Cancer Part #1

Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. There are over 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start - for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer.


Cancer can be classified into five (5) main categories. They include:

· Carcinoma - cancer by which cells covers internal and external parts of the body such as lung, breast and colon cancer.
· Sarcoma - cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.
· Leukemia - cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.
· Lymphoma - cancers that begin in the lymph nodes and immune system tissues.
· Central nervous system cancers - cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

Cancer is ultimately the result of cells that uncontrollably grow and do not die. Each cancer is thought to first start from one abnormal cell. What seems to happen is that certain vital genes which control how cells divide and multiply are damaged or altered. This makes the cell abnormal. If the abnormal cell survives it may multiply out of control into a malignant (harmful) tumour.


Some signs and symptoms of cancer includes:
  • Fatigue
  • Skin changes
  • Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
  • Weight loss
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in bowel habits and bladder functions
  • Hoarseness
  • Persistent cough
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Pain in the bones, muscles and other parts of the body

Early detection of cancer can greatly improve the odds of successful treatment and survival. Physicians use information from symptoms and several other procedures to diagnose cancer. Imaging techniques such as X-rays, CT(computed tomography ) scans, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans, PET(positron emission tomography) scans, and ultrasound scans are used regularly in order to detect where a tumour is located and what organs may be affected by it. Doctors may also conduct an endoscopy, which is a procedure that uses a thin tube with a camera and light at one end, to look for abnormalities inside the body. A cancer diagnosis is nearly always made by an expert looking at cell or tissue samples under a microscope. In some cases, lab tests of the cells’ proteins, DNA can help tell doctors if cancer is present. These tests can also help in choosing the best treatment options. Tests of cells and tissues can find many other kinds of diseases, too. For example, if doctors are not sure a lump is cancer, they may have the sample tested for cancer and for infections or other problems that can cause growths that may look like cancer. Extracting cancer cells and looking at them under a microscope is the only absolute way to diagnose cancer. This procedure is called a biopsy.

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