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Cancer - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Cancer?

We often ignore certain symptoms which our body presents from time to time. Sometimes these disappear on their own, while at others, they may indicate something more serious -- the nesting of cancer cells in our body. Here are a few cancer symptoms which you cannot afford to ignore:
    Unexpected weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Skin Lumps
  • Unusual Bleeding
  • Skin changes like scaling, pigmentation
  • Discomfort during swallowing food
  • White spot on tongue
  • Persistent pain or ache in the body

Treatment :

Metastasis denotes distant spread of cancer from the primary organ. Treatment of any form of cancer is dependent on whether or not it has spread to distant organs. If the cancer spreads to other tissues and organs, it may decrease a patient's likelihood of survival. There are many effective treatments for metastatic cancer. These treatments fall into three main types:- Whole body treatment – this includes chemotherapy or anti-cancer medication that can reach all places of the body and radiation therapy.- Local treatment for secondary tumor alone – this includes localized surgery and removal of the tumor or localized radiation therapy on the secondary tumor alone. - Pain relief – this therapy is also called palliative therapy and is reserved for advanced cases of metastasis.

More about Cancer :

This disease harms the human body, when these altered cells mutates uncontrollably to form masses or lumps of tissues know as a tumor. Except for leukemia (blood cancer) where this fatal illness prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream. Cancerous tumors can grow and interfere with the nervous, circulatory and digestive systems in our body or can release hormones, which can alter the functioning of organs in the body.

However, cancerous tumors that demonstrate limited growth and stays in one spot, without multiplying further are generally considered as benign cancers. More dangerous or malignant tumors appear on the cancer patients when two things occur. Firstly, a cancerous cell manages to wade through the body using the lymphatic system or blood as a carrier agent, destroying all healthy cells in a process called ‘invasion’. And secondly, the cancerous cells manage to grow and divide, forming new blood vessels to feed itself in a process, which is known as ‘angiogenesis’. When cancerous tumors find success in spreading and growing in other parts of the body, destroying healthy cells by invading on the cells, this process is known as ‘metastasis’. Metastasis is a very serious condition for all cancer patients that is also very difficult to treat.

What Experts Say :

According to World Health Organization’s most recent data, there are 15 million new cases every year and 9.2 million cancer related deaths.According to oncology experts, they have also recently discovered an important clue as to why cancer cells spread. This has something to do with a process whereby the cancer cells use their adhesion (stickiness) properties. Scientists have found that certain molecular interaction between the cancer cells and the scaffolding extra cellular matrix that holds them in place, cause them to get unstuck from the original site, and getting dislodged, they travel to other places and then reattach themselves at the new site.

This is extremely important to know, since researchers say cancer mortality is mainly due to metastatic tumors, growths from the cells that have travelled far from their original site to another parts of the body. For it has been noted that only 10% of cancer patients die from their primary tumors.

Researchers are now trying to find a way to stop the cancer cells from sticking on to new sites so that they can interfere with the metastatic disease and can halt the growth of the secondary tumors from forming in the body. Cancer is the ultimate result of cells that uncontrollably grows and do not die. Normal cells in our body follow an orderly path, whereby they grow, divide and then die which in medical term is known as apoptosis. But unlike normal cells, cancerous cells do not obey this rule instead they continue to grow and divide, which eventually leads to a huge mass of abnormal cells that has grown out of control, which is the only known cause of this fatal disease.

Cancer is generally treated by long term medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Require medical diagnosis Lab test always required
A new spot on the skin, which changes its shape, size and color, can be assigned of skin cancer. If you have a nagging cough and you don’t smoke it can be a sign of lung cancer. Constant bloating in women along with pain in the pelvic region can suggest an ovarian cancer. If there is pain during micturition (peeing) in men, it can be a sign of prostate cancer. If there is swollen lymph nodes in your body that do go heal, it can be a sign of leukemia (blood cancer). Bloody stool which continues for a long period of time can predict colon cancer. Prolonged bad breath and canker sores in the mouth can be a sign of oral cancer.

Popular Health Tips

Neuroendocrine Tumor - All You Need To Know About Its Treatment!

MBBS, FCPS - Medicine, DNB - General Medicine (I)
Diabetologist, Pune
Neuroendocrine Tumor - All You Need To Know About Its Treatment!

There are several hormones that are secreted by our bodies and they can be defined as chemicals that control the different bodily functions. At times, the cells that secrete the hormones develop tumors. Some areas where these tumors are known to arise include lungs, stomach, pancreas, glands, or intestines.

If you are diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor, it is important to learn whether they are benign or cancerous. Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are neoplasms that may result from the cells of the nervous and the endocrine system. If the cells are cancerous, they can spread throughout the body. Also, they release their own hormones and you may experience the associated symptoms. On the other hand, the benign tumors do not shift from their place of origin.

However, you should note that the growth of a neuroendocrine tumor takes place at a sluggish rate; sometimes, they could take years to grow. Normally, the medical experts will advise their removal or administer varied treatments for their shrinkage. Also, some therapies to alleviate the symptoms can be practiced.

NETs are categorized into varied groups depending on their area of growth or the hormones they secrete. The different types of NETs include Carcinoid (intestinal), Pancreatic, Insulinomas, Glucagonomas, Somatostatinomas, VIPomas, Medullary, and Pheochromocytoma. The medical professionals have not been able to ascertain the exact cause for NETs as yet. However, they opine that certain illnesses that run in a family are responsible for these growths. For ascertaining whether a person has developed NETs, a medical diagnosis is required. Mostly, the patients do not display symptoms and the disorder is detected fortuitously.

There are various treatments available for NETs, including drugs, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. The patients are treated depending on the type of NETs they are affected by. Also, the doctors will try to establish whether the growths are cancerous, and have spread to other parts of the body prior to treating the patients.

Treatment Methods:

The following are some of the treatment options available for NETs:

  1. Surgery: Surgical methods are employed by the doctors for removing the tumors; predominantly, if the tumors are not cancerous or have not spread to the different parts of the body. Some surgeries that are performed by the doctors as a part of the treatment of NETs include cryosurgery and radiofrequency ablation.
  2. Hormonal therapy: If the doctors find it suitable, they will treat you with hormone therapy when NETs are detected in your body. In this case, they will inject hormonal drugs for preventing the cells from producing hormones or to shrink the tumor.
  3. Radiation: As a part of radiation therapy, the doctors will subject the tumor site to high radiation X-rays for eliminating the cancerous cells. If cancer has spread or the specialists are not able to reach the tumors, then this treatment method is known to be effective.
  4. Chemotherapy: You may be prescribed chemotherapy drugs for killing the cancerous cells, at times, after being diagnosed with NETs. However, they give birth to certain ill-effects and it is always better to adhere to your doctor’s suggestions to be on the safer side.
  5. Embolization Procedures: In specific cases where the NETs have spread to the liver, the doctors will aim to obstruct the blood flow that provides nourishment to the cells. Embolization therapy is performed in such cases.

When recovering from NETs, you must make sure to consume a balanced diet to keep the body nourished and heightening the body’s ability to counter the illnesses. Eating protein-rich foods such as beans, eggs, cheese, and fish are recommended. Also, avoid the intake of fatty foods, sugar-filled beverages, and sweets.

Vaginal Cancer - The Silent Scourge!

Post Doctoral Fellowship In Gynecologic Oncology, MS - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery
Oncologist, Bangalore
Vaginal Cancer - The Silent Scourge!

We all hear about cervical or ovarian cancer, but who hears about vaginal cancer?  The fact is that vaginal cancer, while uncommon, can be deadly if left undiagnosed and treated. Many women with vaginal cancer may not even know that they have it until it is too late. The cancer itself, and treatment options are discussed here!

The vaginal canal is sometimes referred to as the ‘birth canal’ because it leads from the opening of the cervix to the outside of the body. There are two main types of vaginal cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma forms in the thin, flat cells that line the vagina. It grows slowly and usually does not metastasize, but when it does, it can spread to the lungs and liver, thereby being potentially deadly.

Adenocarcinoma grows in the secretory glands of the vagina. This type of cancer is more common, and more likely to metastasize. This type of cancer appears most commonly after menopause.

Women who are above the age of 60, exposed to DES while in the womb, have had HPV, have had cervical cancer, or a history of abnormal cells in the cervix, have had uterine cancer, or a history of abnormal cells in the uterus, and have had a hysterectomy for cancer or other health problems affecting the uterus are more likely to develop vaginal cancer.

Vaginal cancer manifests itself in the form of pain or abnormal bleeding.  However, since it is oftentimes symptomless, it may only be detected during yearly pelvic exams and pap smears.  Bleeding and discharge in between periods, pain during intercourse, pain in the pelvic area, vaginal lumps, pain while urinating, and constipation are all signs of vaginal cancer.  

This cancer can often be detected by physical exams, pelvic exams, pap smears, colposcopies, biopsies, Treatment works better if the cancer has not metastasized, the tumor size, the grade of the tumor cells, if there are symptoms at diagnosis, if the patient is younger and in good relative health, and if the cancer has gone into permanent remission.

Treatment options include hysterectomy, vaginectomy, brachytherapy, dystilbol, pelvic exams, and vulvectomy.  As can be seen, the only viable treatment option in many cases is either minor or major surgery which results in removal in part or all of the reproductive tract organs.

Vaginal cancer patients have a better outlook than ever before.  Vaginal cancer is no longer the silent killer that it used to be, and many patients are living long and productive lives long after treatment. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3 people found this helpful

Breast Cancer - Know The Causes Behind It!

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - General Surgery
Oncologist, Pune
Breast Cancer - Know The Causes Behind It!

Breast Cancer is a type of cancer which develops in the cells of the breasts. It is second most common form of cancer after skin cancer, among women in the United States of America. As there has been an increase in the support for breast cancer awareness and proper funding for research has helped to make advancement in the diagnosis of the disease and also in the treatment options. As people and doctors have become more aware of what leads to breast cancer, the precautions which women should consider taking so that they can prevent themselves from getting affected by the diseases and the types of treatment to be followed by the doctors, so that they can put women on the path to recovery, the deaths associated with the disease have come down.

So, even if somebody is diagnosed with cancer, their chances of survival are extremely high nowadays. Before going into the causes of breast cancer, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms which act as indications to suggest that there is a possibility of women getting affected by breast cancer.

Medical science, technology has advanced to a great extent and there has been campaigns on breast cancer awareness. Despite all the progress, still doctors are not clear as to why do cancerous cells in the breast begin to multiply at abnormal rates from time to time. There are certain factors due to which this happens. Let’s discuss in detail:

  1. Age: Age is a big factor behind breast cancer. As women grow older, chances of them becoming prone to developing cancerous cells in the breasts grow. Unfortunately, age is something beyond anyone’s control.
  2. Medical history: Medical history plays a big role in breast cancer occurring in women. If a woman has had cancer in one breast, chances are high that she would develop cancerous cells in her other breast as well.
  3. Family history: Another big factor behind a woman getting plagued by the dreadful disease of breast cancer, is the history of her mother, sister or daughter have already been engulfed by the disease.
  4. Being exposed to radiation: Exposing yourself to radiation treatments would always increase the chances of getting affected by breast cancer.
  5. Obesity: Being overweight is never a good thing. A whole lot of problems occur due to this, cancer being one of them.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

1270 people found this helpful

Robotic Radical Prostatectomy For Cancer Prostate!

MCh - Urology, MBBS
Urologist, Chennai
Robotic Radical Prostatectomy For Cancer Prostate!

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers that men are diagnosed with. It is accompanied by a number of difficulties of urination and ejaculation. It can also cause difficulty in achieving and sustaining an erection. If cancer advances and affects the bone structure and the spine, it can cause weakness in the limbs, and also result in urinary and fecal incontinence. If it is diagnosed in its early stages it can be treated quite easily before it spreads.

Treatment for Prostate Cancer-
Prostate cancer generally does not show any symptom in the early stage but progressively degenerates with time. If you suspect having any of the symptoms of prostate cancer such as urination difficulty, erectile dysfunction and discomfort in the pelvic region, then consulting an oncologist is the next step. Your doctor will perform certain diagnostic tests like digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. After the diagnosis of prostate cancer, doctors generally check the stage and rate of growth of a tumour by determining its Gleason score.

Once the extent of the prostate cancer is known, a treatment plan is devised by the doctor. If the cancer is localised and small, your doctor will either prescribe active surveillance or surgery. During active surveillance, there is a blood test, rectal examination, and biopsies on a regular basis to monitor the growth of a tumour. However, the tumour can also be deftly removed with surgical intervention in the form of Radical Prostatectomy. There are two types of radical prostatectomy- laparoscopic prostatectomy and robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy

Robotic Radical Prostatectomy-
A radical prostatectomy is one of the most common methods of treating prostate cancer. It involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland along with some of the surrounding tissues. This curtails the spreading of the cancerous cells to other parts of the body. A robotic radical prostatectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the use of a robotic instrument that is controlled by surgeons to make the removal of the gland precise and efficient. The surgeon controls the robot by sitting at a console and makes several small incisions to enter the abdomen. This procedure reduces the risks of blood loss and any possible side-effect that includes erectile dysfunction and urinary difficulties. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

1801 people found this helpful

Ovarian Cancer - The Silent Killer - How To Prevent It

Post Doctoral Fellowship In Gynecologic Oncology, MS - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery
Oncologist, Bangalore
Ovarian Cancer - The Silent Killer - How To Prevent It

Cancer is that word that many people dread to hear, yet it is a real scourge and can have deadly effects. One such type of cancer is ovarian cancer, which claims countless lives in India every year, yet is not talked about because of social taboos. Because cancer cells are regular cells whose growth is uncontrolled, it is important to know what ovarian cancer is, what causes it, and how to prevent it.

Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovarian cells. Ovaries are the reproductive glands containing eggs, which only women have.  Women usually have one ovary on each side, and the ovaries produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which is necessary for ovulation and pregnancy to occur. Three different cells comprise the ovaries, all of which can develop cancerous (malignant), and non-cancerous (benign) tumors. The cells covering the ovarian walls are called epithelial cells, which can become cancerous - most types of ovarian cancer are epithelial. Germ cell cancer grows in the cells producing the eggs, and stomural cancer grows in the cells that hold the ovaries together and produce reproductive hormones. 

The good news is that in the majority of cases, the tumors are benign and never spread (metastize). These tumors are non cancerous and can easily be removed.  Malignant tumors, however, are cancerous.  These can, and often times, do spread to other parts of the body (metastize) and can kill the women having them. 

A risk factor is any action people take to increase their likelihood of getting a certain type of cancer. With ovarian cancer, age is a big factor, with older women more likely to develop this type of cancer than younger women. Ovarian cases are rare in women under age 40, with the bulk of patients being post-menopausal. About 50% of ovarian cancer cases are in women who are 63 or older.  

More obese women (those with a BMI of 30 or higher) are more likely to develop ovarian cancer than skinnier women. Women who had a successful pregnancy before age 26 are less likely to develop ovarian cancer.  By contrast, women who had their first kid after age 35, or who have never had children, are more likely to develop ovarian cancer.  

Also, while there is no direct correlation, there is thought to be a link between breastfeeding and lower rates of ovarian cancer.

Women who use oral contraceptives have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. The risk lowers dramatically after 3-6 months of using the pills, and remains low long after the pills are taken, or even stopped.
Also, getting a tubal ligation, or having a hysterectomy lowers the risk of developing ovarian cancer.  

While there is no known cause of ovarian cancer, certain women carrying the BRCA1 and 2 genes will develop ovarian cancer, so it can be genetic.

Most women only have one risk factor for ovarian cancer, which in itself is not significant. However, since no woman wants to develop this type of potentially deadly cancer, she needs to know how to prevent it.  Taking oral contraceptives for a long period of time has been shown to lower the risk of ovarian cancer. Tubal ligation has also shown a decreased risk.

While there is no one magic bullet for completely preventing ovarian cancer, lifestyle choices can definitely mitigate one’s risk of developing this dangerous cancer.

Popular Questions & Answers

I might have thyroid cancer in one side of the thyroid, shall I remove the entire gland or just the side affected? Is there any other medication that can cure me without surgery?

MBBS, DNB Gen Surgery, DNB Surgical Oncology
Oncologist, Bangalore
If it is thyroid cancer of size more than 1 cm It is preferable to go for total thyroidectomy. You would also need radioiodine therapy after the surgery. Thyroidectomy can be performed robotically or laparoscopically with no visible scar with excellent results.
6 people found this helpful

Hello doctor, My mother has clinical diagnosis as "Suspected low grade non-hodgkin lymphoma" in bone marrow biopsy and flow cytometry impression says" marginal zone lymphoma, cd5 negative cll, lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma" and advice for evaluation for lymph node biopsy and immunohistochemistry for confirmation. Is still cancer is not confirmed? And one more questions I heard that carrot makes major role to cure or suppress cancer. Is this true doctor?

DM - Clinical Haematology, MD - General Medicine, MBBS
Hematologist, Durgapur
There are different types of small cell non Hodgkin's lymphoma, the exact types can be confirmed by immunohistochemistry reports and PCR testing. However all of them are lymph node cancer and may require urgent treatment with combination chemo therapy and/or immunotherapy by expert hematologist oncologist. You should consult with hematologist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Our center is fully equipped to treat such patients we have over 3 years of experience of treating such patients successfully. Hope it helps.
1 person found this helpful

I am 45 years old male, I have thyroid papillary micro carcinoma, cyst excision has done, is there any other treatment rather than radio-iodine uptake in order to avoid thyroidectomy? Report shows thyroid gland is normal.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
You are on correct treatment for papillary micro carcinoma, and it is correct to take radio-iodine uptake in order to avoid thyroidectomy

I have a history of endometriosis. Recently I have been diagnosed with gall bladder stones measuring 15 mm and 7 mm. How dangerous is it? Is surgery the only option? Can it lead to cancer?

MBBS, DNB - General Surgery
General Surgeon, Hyderabad
Gall bladder stones cannot be treated with medications. A simple laparoscopic i.e.key hole surgery can solve the problem. Gall stones if kept for many years can give cancer. They can pass down your ducts and give jaundice or pancreatitis. Better to remove them.

My father's prostate report is blood report is PSA 5.9. What does it indicate? Cancer in prostate? Can it be cured with medicine? Or any further diagnosis required?

MBBS, DNB ( Radiation Oncology)
Oncologist, Mumbai
Cancer cannot be told definitely. Just a PSA of 5.9 DOES NOT mean cancer !!! It needs to be correlated with symptoms, signs ,etc. It may be raised in prostatitis as well commonly seen with BHP. Please proceed systematically under your doctor's guidance !
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Cancer?

Treatment :

More about Cancer :

What Experts Say :

Play video
Cancer: What You Need To Know?
Cancer refers to the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. Anything that may cause a normal body cell to develop abnormally potentially can cause cancer. Although there are many tests to screen and presumptively diagnose cancer, the definite diagnosis is made by examination of a biopsy sample of suspected cancer tissue.
Play video
Cervical Cancer
The most common symptoms and signs of cervical cancer are increased vaginal discharge , pelvic pain and so on. You must consult a good doctor in case of any such symptoms for better guidance.
Play video
Major Symptoms Of Cancer
Cancer is a disease that gives no indication to most people about any symptoms or signs which can be taken as an alert. Every complaint or symptom of cancer can be explained by a harmless condition as well. If certain symptoms occur or persist, a doctor should be seen for further evaluation
Play video
Treatment For Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is actually one of the major causes of cancer deaths in both men and women worldwide. Treatment of lung cancer involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy and new additional therapies as well.
Play video
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal
Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal is a minimally invasive surgery in which small incisions and specialized tools are used to remove a diseased or infected gallbladder. Removal is a treatment option if gallbladder becomes diseased or infected and it is the most common type of gallbladder removal surgery.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice