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What is Cancer & How to Prevent Cancer?
Cancer in human beings is a complex of diseases with uncontrolled multiplication and disorganized growth of affected cells in any of the body tissues. Possible signs and symptoms include lumps, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight and change in many movements (with 100 types of cancer). Before diving into the topic how to prevent cancer, let us look into all other important aspects to be known about cancer.
It involves abnormal cell growth with the power to attack and spread to different parts of body. It also involves limitless cell division without or programmed death; promote blood vessel construction, attack of tissues and formation of metastasis.
In Latin word cancer means “Crab “, where as in French language denoted as ‘Canker’. Cancer is also denoted as “Tumor” and Malignancy Tumor.
Types of Cancer
- Carcinoma – Effecting epithelial cells breast, lungs, pancreas, colon, prostate.
- Sarcoma – Develops from connective tissues (cartilage, bones, soft tissue, bone marrow, muscles, blood vessels, lymph, endocrine glands, genitourinary system and fibrous tissue. However, Carcinosarcoma develops in epithelial tissue and connective tissue.
- Leukemia – Blood forming tissue of bone marrow. There is increase in WBC number, which destroy the cells of other organs.
- Lymphoma – Begin in lymphocytes (T-cells, B-cells, Hodgkin Reed Sternberg cells, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
- Multiple Myeloma – Begin in plasma cells. Bone marrow to form tumors.
- Melanoma – Form on the skin cancer, may be in eyes.
- Brain and Spinal cord tumors
- Other types of Tumors – Germ cells, Neuron-Endocrine, Carcinold Tumors.
Cancer cells continue to divide without stopping. These are able to ignore signals that begin the process known as programmed cell death to get rid of un-needed cells. Metastasis is always fatal and is the outstanding characteristic of Malignancy. It is the tendency of tumor cells carried by circulatory system and other channels to influence almost many tissues and organs.
Symptoms of Cancer
- Mass of tumor or its ulceration.
- Bronchus resulting cough, Pneumonia, Narrowing of esophagus (painful to swallow).
- Alteration that can cause bleeding (coughing of blood).
- Blockage of Bowel.
- Anemia or rectal bleeding, blood in urine, uterus to vagina bleeding.
- Accumulation of fluid within chest or abdomen. It may be pain less.
- Lung cancer
- Enlargement of lymph nodes, liver, spleen etc.
- Pain due to fracture of affected bones (Neurological symptoms).
Major Causes of Cancer
Cancer can be caused by a variety of factors acting singly or in concert but mechanism remains unknown. It is well established that exposure of certain chemicals is important. 90 to 95% cases may be due to genetic mutations from environmental or life style factors, whereas, 5 to 10% are due to inherited genetics.
Most of the cancer deaths include Tobacco (25-30%), Diet and Obesity or state of excessive fatness (30-35%), Infection (15-20%), Radiations both ionizing and non-ionizing (up to 10%). More so, the stress, check of physical activity and pollution are also harmful. Chemicals in the form of carcinogens of tobacco smoke cause about 90% lung cancer, larynx, head, neck, stomach, esophagus, pancreas, bladder and Kidneys. However, excess of diet as over nutrition and defective exercise may cause cancer death due to excess of body weight. It may also cause gastric and colon cancer.
About 18% cancer deaths may be due to virus infection, Burkitt’s lymphoma develops after exposure to Epstein-Barr virus. Genital herpes seem to be prone to cervical cancer. These have been identified as Onco-virus, Epstein-Barr virus, Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus, Hepatitis B- and C-virus and Human leukemia virus. The expressed cells may become malignant. However, Bacterial infection may increase the risk of cancer. Sometimes, wrong ultra- violet radiations may adversely increase 10% cancer. Heredity cause of cancer is less than 1%. Malignancy implies to inherent tendency of the tumor cells which invade the body.
Diagnosis of Cancer Infection
These include blood tests, X-Rays, Contrast C.T.Scan and Endoscopy. Biopsy indicates the type of cells which are proliferating, genetic abnormalities and other features.
Cytogenetic and Immuno-histo-chemistry are other types of tissue tests, Molecular changes such as, mutations, fusion genes and numerical chromosomes. Malignancy refers to ability of a tumor to ultimately cause death. Cancer cells evade the immune system, a network of organs, tissues and specialized cells mainly caused by genes. The genetic changes bring mutations of DNA of three types, Proto-oncogenes and DNA repair genes. The alteration is from normal state to Hyperplasic, Dysplasia and Cancer.
How to Prevent Cancer
Prevention of Cancer: It is a major aspect of protection from disease and prolonged life.
- Avoid the use of tobacco because smoking causes various types of cancer of lungs, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, kidneys etc. Chewing tobacco cause cancer to oral cavity.
- Try to take healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Avoid obesity by taking high caloric food including refined sugars and fats from animal sources. Use of alcohol can cause cancer of breast, lungs, liver, colon and kidneys. Limit prolonged meat. You can take plant based food with extra –origin olive oil and mixed nuts.
- Maintain healthy weight and be physically active. Try to follow moderate aerobic activity. Protect yourself from direct sun , cover exposed area, but try to be in shade. Do not skimp on sun screen generously. Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.
Few more on Cancer Prevention Tips
- Get vaccinated when necessary. For instance, Hepatitis-B vaccine increase the risk of liver cancer, Human papilloma is sexually virus that can lead to cervical or other genital cancer, squamous cell cancers of head and neck. HPV vaccine is recommended for boys and girls of about 11 and 12 years.
- Avoid risky sex behavior as sex with HIV or HPV has higher risk of cancer of anus, vagina, penis, throat, lungs and liver. Do not share needles because the intravenous drugs can lead to HIV, Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C and increase liver cancer.
- Request your doctor about the best screening schedule for you through regular medical care such as skin, cervix, colon etc.
- Radiation therapy like ultra radiation from sunlight. Take Immuno-suppressive medicines, vitamins for fugitive, stool color chart to avoid knee pains.
- Physical Activity to prevent post-meno-pansal cancer, and endometrial cancer.
- Avoid obesity to prevent breast, esophageal, kidney and pancreatic cancer.
- Control environmental risk factors.
Dr. Triloki Nath Chugh; Retd. H. E. S. 1. and Retd. Coordinator, Shah Satnam Ji Educational Institutions, Sirsa – Haryana, India.