Cancer has been man’s enemy from time immemorial. It has become a major challenging world-wide health problem. It’s socio-economic impacts are eminent and it accounts for about 8.2 million deaths every year.
It is known for it’s notoriety, somehow, somewhere, we all know someone who has been diagnosed of cancer or killed by it.
WHAT IS CANCER?
We all know that cells are the little units that make up the entire body system. Normally,these cells when produced,grow and divide and eventually die(the body has a mechanism of disposing dead cells,it’s known as Apoptosis which means programmed cell death).
What happens in cancer is that when these cells after being produced, have grown and instead of dying as at when due,especially when it’s damaged, rather continues to grow and divide and in this case without regulation or control.
These cancer cells often gather and form clumps to become tumours,if they do not spread,they are classified as benign tumours.When these cells leave a particular part of the body and spreads(metastasize) to another part( or even has the potential to do so),it is known as malignant tumours.
FACTS ABOUT CANCER
– A doctor who specialises in treatment of cancer is called an oncologist.
– Cancer is not contagious ,it does not spread from one person to another although it has a genetic predisposition
– Cancer can be eliminated completely if it is detected early
– A person can have more than one type of cancer at a time.
– Cancer often doesn’t cause pain
PREDISPOSING FACTORS THAT COULD CAUSE CANCERS
There are several types of cancers which ranges from breast cancers,prostrate cancers,skin cancers,etc.It is difficult to prove that any substance is not related to causing cancer.
A person is liable or has an increased risk of getting cancer when there is
– Increased intake of alcohol
– So much exposure to radiation e.g from X-ray, CT scan,etc and toxic compounds e.g benzene,asbestos,cigarette, etc
– Viral Infections; for instance ,cervical cancers are caused by Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection,and that of liver cancer could be as a result of Hepatitis B & C virus.
– Increase in Age: As one gets older, chances or probability of getting cancer increases.
– Genetic predisposition: Some persons have a genetic predisposition (by inheritance) of getting a particular type of cancer and increases their risk of having cancer..
FINDING OUT ABOUT CANCERS
How can one detect cancer early enough so as to be able to aid faster and a more effective treatment.Most cancers have general symptoms and sometimes these symptoms may differ from each specific type.General symptoms include:
– Severe Fatigue
– Mouth changes such as bleeding and numbness
– Lump(s) that is scaly or likely to bleed
– Persistent Cough which is long lasting
– Unexplained bleeding
– Changes in bowel and bladder function
TERMS ASSOCIATED WITH CANCER
1) CARCINOMA: Cancerous cells that originates in skin/tissues that line or cover internal organs e.g Skin,lungs,melanomas,papillomas,epithelial, squamous & basal cell carcinoma,adenomas
2) SARCOMA: Thus type of cancer originates from the bone,muscles, blood vessels, supportive tissues such as osteosarcoma, angiosarcoma,rhabdosarcoma,etc
3) LEUKAEMIA: Cancer that begins with blood-forming tissues and as a result leads to production of abnormal blood cells.
HOW CAN CANCER BE TREATED?
Cancer can be fully cured and eliminated completely when detected early.Treatment of cancer is multimodal,involving the use and application of several modalities which includes
– Surgery: This is one of the primary methods involved in treating cancer,as it involves the removal of the Cancerous mass.Usually this mode of treatment is accompanied by other modes of treatment.
– Chemotherapy: This refers to drugs used in killing the cancer cells,it usually follows after surgery.
– Radiotherapy: This modality uses X-rays and radioactive particles go kill the cancerous cells.This method damages cancer cells far more than normal cells.
– Hormone therapy: Some cancers are exacerbated by hormones,taking cognisance of breast cancer,the cancer cells in the brest are stimulated by oestrogen.These organs that produces this hormones are removed.
– Immunotherapy: This kind of treatment uses certain parts of the person’s immune system to fight cancer,by stimulating and boosting the immune system.
SIDE EFFECTS OF CANCER TREATMENTS
– Alopecia( Hair loss)
– Nausea & Vomiting
– Easy bruising/bleeding(thrombocytopenia)
– Anaemia(loss of blood)
– Difficulty in swallowing
– Mouth and Gum sores
– Radiation burns