HEALTH CONDITIONS

A comprehensive list of today's common ailments and health conditions.

Cancer

By Angela Young

Cancer is the term for cells that multiply and spread throughout the body invading and damaging other tissues. There many forms of cancer and cancer can occur in any part of the body. There are over 100 types of cancers that fall into one of the following categories carcinoma, sarcoma, leukemia, lymphoma and central nervous system cancers.

Cancer can affect anyone of any age and while there are risk factors, which increase a person’s likelihood to develop cancer, there are many factors that are uncontrollable such as genetics, sex and age, but other factors such as obesity, diet and overall lifestyle are controllable.

Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of cancer depend upon where the cancer is manifesting. Colin cancer can cause problems with digestive system. Skin cancer can cause sores that will not heal on the surface of the skin. Every cancer offers up different symptoms and signs that there is an issue. Symptoms are obvious to the person suffering from them, but signs of cancer may not be apparent to anyone other than doctors and other health care professionals. Some signs proper testing to determine whether or not they are significant. Signs in conjunction with symptoms can help lead doctors to making accurate diagnoses of the disease, whether or not that disease or issue is cancer.

Cancer Causes

The cause of most cancers is still unknown. Some known causes of cancer include tobacco smoking, radiation and asbestos as well as other environmental factors including excessive exposure to UV rays.

When damage occurs the DNA of cells they will begin to multiply and form masses. The masses these cancerous cells form are what become the tumors doctors remove from patients. The damage of the DNA occurs because of factors that science does not fully understand, but it can also occur because of exposure to cancer causing agents.

Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer diagnosis requires a biopsy to determine the presence of the cancer cells. Most people do not have a biopsy unless there are other factors that lead the doctor to believe that a biopsy is necessary.

If a patient shows signs and symptoms of cancer doctors usually require extensive testing take place to make an accurate diagnosis. There are some standard tests that can help determine cancer such as colonoscopies for colon cancer and blood tests for leukemia, but in general the test are not confirmation of the existence of cancer.

Biopsies are the only accurate way to diagnose the presence of cancer. Biopsies do not necessarily mean surgery is necessary. There are needle biopsies and core biopsies. Needle biopsies take fluid from the area around the tumor. The laboratory tests the fluid for cancer cells. Core biopsies use a large needle to remove some of the tumor so that the laboratory can test the tissue cells for cancer. Surgical biopsies do require surgery so that laboratories can test a larger piece of the tumor.

Cancer Treatment

There are three common forms of cancer treatment. The common forms of cancer treatment are radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. The correct treatment depends upon the type of cancer that is present, the age of the patient, the current health of the patient and the patient’s personal preferences.

Surgery is an option that involves removing as much, if not all, of the cancerous mass from the body. If surgery is successful in removing the tumor and the cancer has not spread, then some patients will require no further treatment.

Typically some form of chemotherapy and or radiation are compliment surgical treatments. Radiation can sometimes shrink tumors making surgery easier and increasing the success of surgery. Chemotherapy usually kills any remaining cells after surgery and radiation are complete.


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