The Causes and Symptoms of Cancer

Cancer is the general name given to more than 100 diseases. Cancer begins as abnormal cells grow out of control although there are many different types of cancer. If left untreated, cancer can cause serious illness and death. The symptoms of Cancer vary depending on where the cancer is located, where it has spread, and how big the tumor is. Some cancers can be felt or seen through the skin – a swelling on the breast or testicle can be a sign of cancer in those areas. Skin cancer (melanoma) is often noted by a change in a wart or mole on the skin.

Some oral cancers present white patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue. Other cancers have symptoms that are not physically apparent. Some brain tumors tend to present symptoms early in the disease as they affect important cognitive functions. Pancreas cancers are usually too small to cause symptoms until they cause pain by pushing against nearby nerves or interfere with liver function to cause a yellowing of the skin and eyes called jaundice. Symptoms also can be created as a tumor grows and pushes against organs and blood vessels.

For example, colon cancers lead to symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and changes in stool size. Bladder or prostate cancers cause changes in bladder function such as more frequent or infrequent urination. Crosta (2008) www. medical news today. com. The American Cancer society (2015) on the website www. cancer . org. Cancer is always diagnosed by an expert who has studied a cell or tissue sample under a microscope. In some cases, tests done on the cells’ proteins, DNA, and RNA can help indicate if there’s cancer. The test results are crucial when choosing the best treatment options.

Also, tests of cells and tissues can find many other kinds of diseases,. For example, if doctors are not sure a lump is cancer, they may take out a small piece of it and have it tested for cancer and for infections or other problems that can cause growths that may look like cancer. Lumps that could be cancer might be found by imaging tests or felt as lumps during a physical exam, but they still must be sampled and looked at under a microscope to find out what they really are. Not all lumps are cancer. In fact, most tumors are not cancer. www. wikipedia. org.

Cancer staging can be divided into a clinical stage and a pathologic stage. In the TNM (Tumor, Node, Metastasis) system, clinical stage and pathologic stage are denoted by a small “c” or “p” before the stage (e. g. , cT3N1M0 or pT2N0). This staging system is used for most forms of cancer, except brain tumors and hematological malignancies. ?Clinical stage is based on all of the available information obtained before a surgery to remove the tumor. Thus, it may include information about the tumor obtained by physical examination, radiologic examination, and endoscopy.

?Pathologic stage adds additional information gained by examination of the tumor microscopically by a pathologist. Because they use different criteria, clinical stage and pathologic stage often differ. Pathologic staging is usually considered the “better” or “truer” stage because it allows direct examination of the tumor and its spread, contrasted with clinical staging which is limited by the fact that the information is obtained by making indirect observations of a tumor which is still in the body. However, clinical staging and pathologic staging should complement each other.

Not every tumor is treated surgically, therefore pathologic staging is not always available. Also, sometimes surgery is preceded by other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy which shrink the tumor, so the pathologic stage may underestimate the true stage. www. wikipedia. org www. wikipedia. org. Correct staging is very important because treatment is generally based on the staging. Therefore, incorrect staging would lead to improper treatment. For some common cancers the staging process is well-defined.

For example, in the cases of breast cancer and prostate cancer, doctors often can identify that the cancer is early and that it has low risk of metastasis. In such cases, medical specialty professional organizations recommend against the use of PET scans, CT scans, or bone scans because research shows that the risk of getting such procedures outweighs the possible benefits. [1] Some of the problems associated with over testing include patients receiving invasive procedures, over utilizing medical services, getting unnecessary radiation exposure, and experiencing misdiagnosis. www. wikipedia. org www. wikipedia. org.

Overall Stage Grouping is also referred to as Roman Numeral Staging. This system uses numerals I, II, III, and IV (plus the 0) to describe the progression of cancer. ?Stage 0: carcinoma in situ. ?Stage I: cancers are localized to one part of the body. Stage I cancer can be surgically removed if small enough. ?Stage II: cancers are locally advanced. Stage II cancer can be treated by chemo, radiation, or surgery. ?

Stage III: cancers are also locally advanced. Whether a cancer is designated as Stage II or Stage III can depend on the specific type of cancer; for example, in Hodgkin’s Disease, Stage II indicates affected lymph nodes on only one side of the diaphragm, whereas Stage III indicates affected lymph nodes above and below the diaphragm. The specific criteria for Stages II and III therefore differ according to diagnosis. Stage III can be treated by chemo, radiation, or surgery. ?Stage IV: cancers have often metastasized, or spread to other organs or throughout the body. Stage IV cancer can be treated by chemo, radiation, or surgery. Mayo clinic(2015) on the website www. mayoclinic. org, Cancer and its treatment can cause several complications, including: Pain.

Pain can be caused by cancer or by cancer treatment, though not all cancer is painful. Medications and other approaches can effectively treat cancer-related pain. There are many medicines and methods that can be used to control cancer pain. You should expect your health care team to work with you to keep you as comfortable as possible. But no one doctor can know everything about all medical problems, and sometimes pain is a subject they don’t know as much about. Even though a lot of progress has been made, some doctors and nurses do not know the best ways to treat cancer pain. Fatigue.

Fatigue in people with cancer has many causes, but it can often be managed. Fatigue associated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments is common, but it’s usually temporary. Education and counseling can be important parts of helping you learn how to save energy, reduce stress, and distract yourself from the fatigue. Anaemia. Anemia is having a lower than normal number of red blood cells in your blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Not having enough of them can result in feeling weak, tired, or short of breath.

Depending on the cause of the anemia, treating it may include things like eating nutrient-rich foods; taking iron, vitamin B12, and/or folic acid supplements; delaying or changing cancer treatment; and stopping any bleeding. Macdonald (2011) contributor, Havard health on the website www. healt. harvard. edu, outlines the psychological effects of cancer and cancer treatment as follows, Damocles syndrome. ” According to Greek legend, once Damocles realized that a sword was dangling precariously over his head, he could no longer enjoy the banquet spread in front of him. In the same way, the specter of cancer hangs over some cancer survivors.

They can become emotionally paralyzed and have a hard time deciding to get married, change jobs, or make other major decisions. Fear of recurrence. Given cancer’s potential to lay dormant for a while and then spread (metastasize), cancer survivors often experience ongoing fear of recurrence. Follow-up medical visits, unexplained pain, or even sights and sounds they associate with treatment can trigger bouts of anxiety and fear that are as debilitating as those that occurred during cancer treatment. Survivor guilt. Although happy to be alive, cancer survivors may feel guilty that they survived while fellow patients they became friendly with during treatment or as part of a support group did not.

In conclusion, Mayo clinic(2015) on the website www. mayoclinic. org states that, Cancer survivors have a risk of cancer recurrence. Some cancers are more likely to recur than others. Ask your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence. Your doctor may devise a follow-up care plan for you after treatment. This plan may include periodic scans and exams in the months and years after your treatment, to look for cancer recurrence.

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