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Although nowadays doctors could cure most disease thanks to medical achievements, cancer is still very frightening for everybody in this modern life, regardless of age, gender or situation. But if we perceive it well as soon as possible, I believe that cancer is no longer our obsession.
Medical Definition of Cancer
Cancer starts when cells of any place in the body grow out of control and crow out normal cells. These extra cells may form a mass of tissue, called a tumour. A tumour can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumour is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumour means the tumour can grow but will not spread. Some cancers, such as leukaemia, do not form tumours.
Global Cancer Burden
Cancer is rapidly becoming a global pandemic, it causes 1 in 8 deaths worldwide. Moreover, cancer burden is increasing owing to a growing and aging global population as well as risk factors like smoking, obesity, and dietary patterns.
Cancer Warning Symptoms
These symptoms may be caused by another health problem. But if one or more of these symptoms persist, consult your doctor without delay.
Change in bowel or bladder habits.
A sore that does not heal.
Unusual bleeding or discharge.
Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere.
Indigestion or difficulty swallowing.
Obvious change in size, colour, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole or mouth sore.
Nagging cough or hoarseness.
- Lab Tests: high or low levels of certain substances in your body can be a sign of cancer, so lab tests of the blood, urine, or other body fluids that measure these substances can help doctors make a diagnosis. Lab tests are an important tool, but doctors cannot rely on them alone to diagnose cancer.
- Imaging Procedures: create pictures of areas inside your body that help the doctor see whether a tumour is present. These pictures can be made in several ways (CT Scan, Nuclear Scan, PET Scan, X-rays, etc.)
- Biopsy: a biopsy is a procedure in which the doctor removes a sample of tissue. Then, a pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope to conclude if it is cancer. The sample may be removed with a needle, am endoscope or surgery.
- Hormone activity
- Virus, bacteria (hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, Helicobacter pylori, HIV, etc.)
- Chemical (cigarette smoke, phtalates in artificial incense, bisphenol A BPA in plastic products)
- Radiation (with a proper radiation amount, body damage can occur and lead to mutation and then cancer)
According to WHO, 30-50% cancer cases can be prevented by reducing danger factors and adopting healthy lifestyle. Just remember:
- Do not use tobacco
- Reduce red meat consumption
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle (eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, be physically active, keep surrounding environment clean)
- Inoculate against viruses