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Cancer - Busting 9 Myths About It!

Cancer - Busting 9 Myths About It!
Cancer, or the big C, is always in the news. Use any keyword related to cancer, and there is definitely information overload. Also, with more people surviving cancer, there are too many tales to tell. All this leads to misconceptions and myths, leaving people, who are looking for genuine information, completely confused.

The following are some common misconceptions:

Cancer is a new-age disease: There is reference to cancer in ancient Egyptian and Greek stories, so cancer is definitely not new. However, it is true that the incidence has increased tremendously with the modern lifestyle habits.
Food items prevent cancer: There are claims that food items like kale, blueberries, broccoli, etc., can prevent cancer. It is not true. They do have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but are not helpful in preventing cancer.
Acidic diet causes cancer: The body s pH is not determined by the food products that we consume. Neither acidic nor alkaline environment is healthy, and further, the body has its own mechanism to regulate pH; so go ahead and eat what you like.
Sugars cause cancer: Sugar, believed to be the main energy source, is required for growth. Since cancer is linked to uncontrolled growth, it is believed that more sugar leads to more cancer. This again is a false notion, as there is no connection between the two.
Screening is only for breast cancer: Agreed, breast cancer is easy to screen for, but any person with predisposition can go for periodic screening to help in early identification and intervention.
Cancer medicines kill more than they cure: Whether it is chemotherapy or radiation, they do not pick only the cancer cells. When directed at a body part, the radiation affects the entire area. Chemotherapy targets and controls growth of a lot of normal processes, thereby affecting normal life.
There is no cure for cancer: It is not a simple process. Curing cancer involves multiple facets some of which may not be known or unearthed. While there are some stories, which talk about how they conquered cancer completely, there are a greater number of failures. Do not conclude on either side. Each person and each type of cancer is treated differently.
Tight undergarments are not connected to cancer: As popularly advertised, tight underwear and underwired bras do not cause testicular or breast cancer.
Biopsies spread cancer: This is a misconception. Most people are scared to get a biopsy as they perceive that it may spread the cancerous cells to normal areas.
This is just a short list, and there are far too many false notions. Check with your doctor to validate the information before using it to take any decision.
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Abdominal Cancer - Knowing The Types & Impact Of It!

Abdominal Cancer - Knowing The Types & Impact Of It!
In Abdominal cancer, there is a rapid growth of cancerous cells in the abdomen area i.e., between the lower chest and the inguinal region. The Abdomen area includes several organs like esophagus, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, intestines, etc. Cancer in any of these organs can be considered as Abdominal Cancer.

Types of Abdominal Cancer:

Some common types of Abdominal Cancer:

Liver Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Renal Cell Cancer (kidney cancer)

Gastric Cancer (stomach cancer)

Pancreatic Cancer

Some rare type of Abdominal Cancer:

Adrenocortical Cancer: Adrenal glands help in producing hormones. Cancer that develops in the these set of organs are known as Adrenocortical Cancer.

Peritoneal Cancer: This type of cancer is caused due to the exposure of asbestos in the abdomen, specifically inside the lining of the abdomen.

Primary Peritoneal Cancer: Cancer that develops inside the lining of the abdomen that covers other organs is called Primary Peritoneal Cancer.

Generally, the old and damaged cells in the abdominal area die themselves and do not multiply. Young and healthy cells grow and take their place. When the old and damaged cells start multiplying instead of dying, it forms a lump of cells. This lump is also known as a tumor.

If cells have developed as a tumor in the abdominal area, it requires immediate medical attention. These tumors may result in a metastasis, in which a cancerous cell in the abdominal area spread to different organs and body parts. Cancerous cells can take over important organs like kidneys, lungs, etc. And, it will interfere in the vital bodily functions.

Impact of Abdominal Cancer

Abdominal Cancer is a life-threatening disease. Especially, when it is not diagnosed on time or not treated properly. The medical condition of a patient suffering from Abdominal Cancer depends upon the stage, condition, and severity of the cancer. It also depends upon age, overall health, and existing diseases of the patient.

Often colorectal cancer develops from noncancerous cells which later form into cancer. In this case, it is very hard to detect cancer. The patient does not show any early or advanced stage symptoms of cancer. Under such circumstances, it is ideal to remove the lump before it turns cancerous. This lump can be spotted with ultrasound.

Forms of Abdominal Cancer like stomach cancer, pancreas cancer, and liver cancer are very hard to detect. Early symptoms of these forms of cancer are very normal, like gut health or pain in the stomach. It is often confused with the normal gastric issue. And as time passes, the cancer stages turn advance. It then becomes harder to treat.
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Bone Cancer - Risk Factors Associated With It!

Bone Cancer - Risk Factors Associated With It!
Bone cancer is a rare form of cancer in the cancer family. It affects one of the bones of your body and spreads to other bones. But, more often, it has the tendency to affect the long bone in the legs and the arms. There are many types of bone cancers. While some of them can affect children, the others typically affect the adults. This type of cancer is different than those cancers which get initiated from other parts of the body and spread to the bones.

What are the symptoms of bone cancer?
The typical signs and symptoms of bone cancer include acute pain in the bone, tenderness in the affected area, swelling of certain bones, a tendency of bone breakage, fatigue with little or no effort, unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath etc.

What are the causes of bone cancer?
There is no particular reason for bone cancer. Studies have shown that an error in the structure of the DNA leads to bone cancer. This error leads the bone to grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner leading to non-extinction of cells. These cells keep growing and form a mass invade to other parts of the body, leading to cancer.

What are the different types of bone cancer?
The type of the bone cancer can be distinguished from where cancer originates from. Some of the common bone cancer type includes the following:

Osteosarcoma: This is the form of cancer that originates from the bone cells and is often witnessed in young adults and children. They often attack the arm and the leg.
Chondrosarcoma: This form of cancer begins from the cartilage cells. The exact place of damage appearance includes legs, arm, and pelvis. This is typically observed in middle-aged persons in older adults.
Ewing's sarcoma: Though researchers are yet to find out the location this form of bone cancer originates from, it is mostly considered to affect the legs, arms, and legs of young children.
What are the risk factors?
While doctors are yet to researching for the exact reason of bone cancer, there are certain risk factors which have been associated with the bone cancers.

Inherited genetic syndromes: Certain genetic condition such as the hereditary retinoblastoma and Li-Fraumeni syndrome which are passed on from generations are a prime culprit of bone cancer.
Paget's disease: This is a bone-related disorder that affects the bone and increases the chance of bone cancer.
Radiation: Exposure to a huge amount of radiation increases the chances of bone cancer and other associated cancers.
How is bone cancer detected?
Imaging tests such as the bone scan, x-ray, MRI, PET scan and the CT scan can diagnose bone cancer. Apart from these, oncologists might order a biopsy that includes removing a part of the tissue and test the same in a laboratory can also help to detect bone cancer.

Pollution & Cancer - How Are They Connected?

Pollution & Cancer - How Are They Connected?
Are you aware of the link between air pollution and cancer? Air pollution refers to the mixture of several harmful substances, which lead to various serious health hazards on exposure. The primary sources of air pollution are man-made, including fumes from automobiles and the smoke from burning fuels. Desert dust, radon gas, and several other natural sources of air pollution are equally dangerous.

Air pollution is classified into outdoor and indoor air pollution. It is highly associated with increased risks of developing cancer. Smoking is considered to be one of the major agents, which pollute the air and increase the chances of cancer to a large extent.

Outdoor air pollution:

Outdoor air pollution is strongly linked with cancer development.
As every person is exposed to some form of air pollution, it has a more harmful effect on the whole population across the globe as a general threat.
A certain part of outdoor air pollution referred to as PM 2.5, or solid dust particles, are highly responsible for the development of cancer.
The chances of cancer increase with the increase in PM 2.5 levels in the air.
Indoor air pollution:

There are several sources of indoor air pollution that are closely associated with an increased risk of cancer.
The sources include fuels used for heating homes and for cooking, radon, and tobacco smoke.
Second hand smoke is another harmful indoor air pollutant that causes cancer.
Second hand smoke:

Secondhand smoke increases the risk of cancer development, along with the risk of developing other diseases such as stroke and lung disease.
A lot of people all over the world get exposed to second hand smoke.
A lot of deaths occur due to cancer because of second hand smoke exposure which is common every year, all over the globe.

Radon is a natural radioactive gas, which is associated with increased risks of developing lung cancer.
It is found at low levels outdoors. It may also build in high concentrations indoors.
Although radon exposure does not pose a huge threat for cancer, a lot of radon-associated cancers develop due to exposure to radon, along with tobacco smoke.

This is a flammable liquid having no color and with a sweet odor.
It is closely associated with the development of leukemia and cancers affecting other cells of the body.
Cigarette smoking and tobacco smoke are major cancer causing elements that are found in the air commonly. Both of these are quite harmful. It is recommended that you not only quit smoking, but also keep away from passive smoking.

Kidney Cancer - Know Reasons Behind It!

Kidney Cancer, more commonly known as renal cancer, first presents itself in the lining of the kidney. It then grows malignant and forms a tumor. The good news is that renal cancer rarely spreads to other organs. The bad news is that the tumors grow quite large before they can be detected.

Kidney cancer has been found to occur most often in people who are older than 40 years of age. Though the cause of cancer is not definitively known, there are a few factors that might increase the risk of developing kidney cancer. These include-

1. Obesity- Obesity can cause hormonal changes which in turn can increase the risk of cancer.

2. Smoking- As with any other kind of cancer, nicotine consumption, in the form of smoking cigarettes, increases the risk of developing the disease. In the case of renal cancer, it can, in fact, double the chances.

3. Pain Medications- A prolonged use of pain relievers over a period of time can increase the risk of renal cancer. Certain components of the medication can lead to kidney damage.

4. Genetic history- A medical history of family members, especially siblings, with the disease can significantly increase the risk of kidney cancer.

In its early stages, kidney cancer remains asymptomatic, but as the tumor grows in size, symptoms begin to present themselves. These symptoms might include the following-

1. Blood in the urine.

2. A gradual loss of appetite leading to weight loss.

3. Persistent pain in your abdomen in conjunction with a lump.

4. A fever that is neither a result of an infection nor a cold, and one that lasts for weeks.

5. Swelling of the legs and ankles.

Treatment for kidney cancer will depend on the size and location of the tumour and whether it has spread to other organs or parts of the body. Therefore, to determine the stage of cancer, diagnostic tests such as biopsy, are performed along with urine and blood tests. After determination of your cancer stage, the doctor will perform either a radical or a partial nephrectomy, where the cancerous tumor is removed along with additional tissues. Often, kidney surgery is followed by a kidney transplant if both the kidneys need to be removed in nephrectomy. However, if nephrectomy does not cure your kidney cancer, then your oncologist may recommend cryotherapy, radiofrequency ablation or arterial embolization.

Kidney cancer in its advanced stage is often treated with either biological therapy where your body s immune system is utilized to fight cancer cells or targeted therapy where drugs are used stop the multiplication of cancer cells by blocking their signals. Due to such advancement in cancer treatment, the rate of success has gone up in recent years but you also need to follow a healthy lifestyle to make sure that the treatment can bring out the desired positive outcomes.

Laparoscopic Colon Cancer Surgeries!

Laparoscopic Colon Cancer Surgeries!
Cancer, in any form, is a deadly disease that requires immediate attention and treatment. Colon cancer is a common form of the disease, with over 10 lakh people reportedly affected in India each year.

In some cases, surgery is the only remedy for colon cancer. Depending on the progression of your cancer, if surgery becomes necessary, you should consider undergoing laparoscopic surgeries.

What is a laparoscopic surgery?

While most surgeries are open, where a large incision is made on the body to operate on the internal organs and tissues, it s not the same with laparoscopic surgery. Here very small incisions are made on a particular body part to carry out the surgery. The procedure gets its name from the equipment used in the operation. A laparoscope is a tube-like instrument that has a camera on one end. During the surgery, this laparoscope is inserted in the patient s body and the image relayed back by the camera is used to perform the surgery.

In case of laparoscopic colon cancer surgeries, the surgeon uses the same method to reach your the cancerous mass in your colon and remove it.

Why choose laparoscopic colon cancer surgeries?

As a person affected by cancer, you have already endured substantial pain and discomfort. You do not need additional discomfort from your surgery. This is why laparoscopic surgeries are so popular when it comes to colon cancer. Here are some benefits of the procedure over the standard surgery.

Less pain after the surgery
Limited stay at the hospital post surgery
Allows you to return to a solid food diet sooner after the surgery
Allows normal bowel function to resume quicker
Less scaring from the procedure
Faster return to a normal lifestyle

Not everyone is eligible for open surgery to treat colon cancer. For instance, open surgery on elderly people can be extremely dangerous. For them, laparoscopic surgeries are a better alternative.

Are you eligible for laparoscopic surgery?

Before you opt for laparoscopic surgery to treat your colon cancer, consult an expert. The surgeon will help you understand whether you meet the requirements for laparoscopic surgeries. Your doctor will evaluate your case and let you know which procedure will have the maximum impact on your long-term recovery from cancer.

Is laparoscopic surgery as effective in treating colon cancer as open surgery?

According to a study performed by a Canadian team of researchers, the laparoscopic procedure is just as useful in treating colon cancer as the standard surgery. However, each case of colon cancer is different and the outcome of surgery may vary from person to person.

Whipples Surgery & Pancreatic Cancer - Know About Them!

Whipples Surgery & Pancreatic Cancer - Know About Them!
Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive form of cancer. The disease shows no early symptoms and often spreads to other organs long before it is properly diagnosed. Due to such poor prognosis, only around 6% of the pancreatic cancer patients are healthy and alive 5 years after the first diagnosis.

One of the most common surgeries to remove tumours from the pancreas is Pancreaticoduodenectomy, that is commonly called Whipples surgery. The primary aim of the procedure is to cure cancers or disorders that are identified in the pancreas, bile duct or the duodenum. Here, the tumour is removed to prevent it from spreading to other organs, thus improving the life expectancy of the patient.

Whipple's Procedure

Before the surgery, an intravenous line will be injected to your arm, to provide you with the necessary medication. Medicines may be passed through this line to soothe your nerves. A spinal injection or an epidural catheter may be placed. This helps you to recover painlessly after the surgery.

The surgery can be carried out in different ways

Open surgery

Here, the surgeon makes a small incision in your abdomen to access the pancreas and other organs. This is the most common method. This is a complicated operation where the tip of the pancreas, the gallbladder, the bile duct and the initial portion of the small intestine are removed. It is performed to treat cancers that are present on the head of the pancreas.

Laparoscopic surgery

Here several small incisions are made in your abdomen to insert a camera that transmits the live video of the abdomen to a monitor. According to the live feed, the surgeon performs the operation by using surgical tools. It is a common form of minimally invasive surgery.

Robotic operation

This is another type of minimally invasive surgery where the surgical tools are attached to a special robot. Here, the doctor uses a console to control the robot to perform the surgery. This is used because surgical robots can reach and operate in spaces and corners where the human hands may not reach during surgery.

The Whipples surgery can take 4 to 12 hours depending upon the approach being used and the complexity of the process. During the surgery, you will be given general anaesthesia, so you will be asleep.

In some cases, a part of your stomach or nearby lymph nodes may be removed to treat the cancer growths. After the process, the doctor will reconnect the other organs so that you can digest food normally.

After the procedure, you may face problems while emptying your bowels. The condition improves around 7 to 10 days after the surgery. Most patients are able to return back to their normal life usually around 6 weeks after the procedure.

It is recommended that you follow the doctor s instructions after the surgery and stick to the diet prescribed. Additionally, keep the incision protected from sunlight and remove the bandages only after consulting the doctors.

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5 Food Items That Help Fight Cancer!

5 Food Items That Help Fight Cancer!
Cancer is one of the worst diseases, which kills millions of people across the world. While there is a wide range of treatment options available, the best way to deal with it is to ensure a good diet along with a healthy lifestyle. Here is a list of cancer-fighting food products, which can immensely help to prevent cancer.

Green vegetables: Leafy green vegetables have multiple health benefits. They are not only rich in minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants, but also have very low content of calories, toxins, and sodium. Being antiviral and antibacterial in nature, green vegetables can successfully inactivate carcinogens, halt metastasis and pause the formation of a tumour. Certain vegetables contain isothiocyanates that can detox the cells. Some of the vegetables that are mighty effective in countering cancer cells include kale, romaine, watercress, nutritious spinach, collard greens etc.
Berries: Berries are one of the best antioxidants among all food items, owing to their high ORAC score. Their antiviral and anti-fungal nature of berries is extremely healthy for the body. Moreover, abundant supply of vitamin A and C makes berries a perfect agent for increasing body immunity. Free radicals are one of the top reasons for metastasis. The proanthocyanidin content of berries helps the body to get a hang of free radicals, thereby decreasing the chances of cancer cells to grow rapidly. They can be consumed daily with any meals.
Spices and herbs: There are a lot of herbs and spices, which boost the immune system and prevents cancer cells to grow further. Turmeric, for instance, is scientifically proved to be a great agent for reducing tumor size and effectively countering breast cancer and colon cancer. Some of the other herbs and spices include black pepper, ginger, raw garlic, parsley, oregano, and basil. They can be consumed daily in the form of juice or along with regular meals.
Organic meat: Many scientists are of the view that organic meat does wonder in a cancer diet. Liver of beef and chicken has high B12 content and helps to remove harmful toxins from the digestive tract and liver. They can balance hormone, digest fat and counter the side effects of triglycerides, drugs, and obesity. This can be included in the diet every alternate day.
Seeds and nuts: Flax seeds and chia seeds are few nutrient-power packed foods in the world. They should be included in the diet due to high fiber, mineral, and fatty acid content. Some other healthy seeds that can pay rich dividends in fighting cancer include walnut, sprouted bean, sunflower seeds etc. Nuts and seeds with all their nutritional qualities can successfully stop metastasis, reduce tumor size and increase immunity in the body, if consumed daily.

Bone Cancer - How To Identify It?

Bone Cancer - How To Identify It?
We have more than 200 bones in our body and each of them is susceptible to bone cancer. However, long bones in the arms and legs are most susceptible to this condition. Bone cancer can be primary or secondary. Primary bone cancer involves uncontrolled and abnormal cell division within the bones while secondary bone cancer refers to cancer that originated somewhere else in the body and later spread to the bones. While children and adults are equally at risk for primary bone cancer, adults and elderly people are more susceptible to secondary bone cancer. If diagnosed early enough, bone cancer can be treated and even cured with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.

Hence it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of bone cancer. Here s what you should look out for.

Pain in Bones: Pain is one of the primary symptoms of bone cancer. As the tumour grows larger, this pain can become more intense. In its early stages, the pain may be experienced as a dull ache inside the bone or the affected part of the body. It may also increase or decrease according to your activity level or may be experienced only at night. However, not all bone pains signify cancer as this is also a symptom associated with osteoporosis.
Swelling: In some cases, the abnormal growth of bone cells can result in the formation of a lump of mass that may be felt through the skin. In other cases, the affected area may also show signs of swelling.
Breaking of the Bone: Cancer can weaken the bones and make them more brittle. This may make the bones more susceptible to fractures. A bone breaking in an area that has been painful or sore for a long period of time may be a sign of cancer. This is known as a pathologic fracture.
Reduced Flexibility: If the tumour is located near a joint, it may affect the range of movements possible and make simple actions uncomfortable. For example, a tumour around the knee may make walking and climbing stairs a painful exercise.
Other symptoms to look out for are sudden and drastic weight loss, tiredness, excessive sweating at night, fever and difficulty breathing in case cancer has spread to other organs. Since many of these symptoms are common to other medical disorders, you should conduct a doctor immediately if you notice any of them. A physical examination and a couple of tests along with a biopsy will be required to confirm a diagnosis of bone cancer.
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