The Ultimate Guide to Cancer

3d illustration of a cancer cell in the process of cytokinesis
3d illustration of a cancer cell in the process of cytokinesis

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncurbed growth of abnormal cells with the potential to invade and metastasize into other body organs that eventually result in damaging the body or leading towards death.

Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

Unfortunately, cancer does not show up the noticeable symptoms at its earlier stage in most of the cases. However, there are some prevalent symptoms of cancer that are not specified only for it but can also occur due to some other diseases as well. 

These common cancer symptoms may include the following:

  • Unintended weight changes either loss or gain 
  • Skin changes like yellowing or redness of the skin or darkening of the skin.
  • Unexplained muscles or joints pain 
  • Fever and pain
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Fatigue without major reasons 
  • Creation of lumps or body area thickening
  • Difficulty in swallowing 
  • Persistent cough or blood-tinged saliva
  • Discomfort indigestion
  • Bleeding or bruising 

So, it is not always necessary for every time the presence of the symptoms mentioned above will lead you towards cancer. But still, you must go through proper cancer screening if any visual sign appears.

Types of Cancer

There are more than a hundred types of cancer based on the name of the body part from where they originate.

Some common cancer types are the following:

  • Pancreatic Cancer:

Pancreatic cancer starts up from the tissues of your pancreas. It is difficult to be diagnosed at its initial stage and is, therefore, the most deadly cancer disease.

Types of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer consists of two types based on the fact that which part of the pancreas is affected.

  1. Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer:

Exocrine glands are responsible for the production of juices and enzymes for digestion. It makes up almost 95% part of the overall pancreas; hence it is the most common type in which cancer cells grow and affects the exocrine glands causing pancreatic cancer.

Examples: Giant cell carcinoma, Acinar cell carcinoma, etc.

2. Endocrine Pancreatic Cancer:

The endocrine pancreas makes up the hormones that directly enter into the bloodstream. Whenever the rare pancreatic cancer arises from these cells, named as “Islet cells tumor” or “pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.”

Examples: Gastrinomas, Insulinomas, etc.

Symptoms: The visible symptoms occur when it becomes advanced pancreatic cancer that may include a weight-loss, itchy skin, bloating, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain, jaundice.

Causes: The just cause of the pancreatic cancer is yet unknown, but a DNA damage or gene mutation happens that results in abnormal growth of pancreatic cells that eventually give rise to malignant tumors causing pancreatic cancer.

Risk factors: Numerous factors contribute to increasing the risk of pancreatic cancer. They include cigarette smoking, obesity, diabetes, exposure to chemicals, etc.

Treatment: Pancreatic cancer treatment uses various methods based on the cancerous level. These techniques involve chemotherapy, surgery, or radiotherapy.

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  • Bone Cancer:

Bone cancer rarely initiates whenever the cells of the skeletal system start growing abnormally within the body. It may result in the form of causing malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous) bone tumors in the particular bones of the body.

A benign bone tumor is more common that primarily occurs in the legs, arms, and pelvis bones of children and adults.

Types of Bone Cancer 

There are two basic types of bone cancer that are:

  1. Primary Bone Cancer: 

Primary Bone cancer develops from the bone itself and further contains different types depending on the cells of focused bone from where cancer arises. Some well-known primary bone cancers are: 

  • Chondro sarcoma: It is another type of bone cancer in which the tumor originates in the cartilage cells of pelvis, legs, or arms. Young humans of middle-aged and old aged people usually suffer through Chondrosarcoma. 
  • Osteosarcoma: It is the most common type of bone cancer in which the cells forming bones grow abnormally, causing a tumor. It mostly arises within the osteoblasts of the legs or arms of children and young adults. 
  • Ewing sarcoma: It arises in the bones of the pelvis, legs, and arms of children and adults. 

2. Secondary Bone Cancer:

Secondary bone cancer occurs when cancer from any other body part metastases into the bones of the body, causing bone cancer. It results in further causing pain, fractures, and hypercalcemia.

Symptoms: The initial signs and symptoms of bone cancer are weakening of bones, bone pain, swelling of the surrounded area of that bone, tiredness, loss in body weight, etc.

Causes: Its causes are also unknown, whereas some of its types occur inherently. Also, radiation exposure an essential cause of bone cancer.

Risk Factors: It may involve the continuous exposure to radiation for any other treatment, bone marrow transplant, the presence of hereditary genes for bone cancer, etc.

Treatments: Surgical removal is the most common treating method in the case of bone cancer. Besides, chemotherapy, cryosurgery, and radiotherapy treat disease based on the type of bone affected.

  • Colon Cancer:

A colon is the beginning part of the large intestine, whereas the end part of our digestive tract.

Some noncancerous clumps of cells called polyps generate within the colon. These polyps, if not treated earlier, give rise to colon cancer in the large intestine.

Symptoms: It varies from person to person, depending on the size and location of cancer in the colon. Some common visual symptoms are rectal bleeding, unbalanced bowel habits, bloating, anemia, weight loss, weakness, abdominal discomfort.

Causes: According to doctors, the origins of colon cancer are yet not discovered. Its fundamental cause is damaged or changed DNA like other cancers. The cells abnormally grow while the previously expired cells do not die; thus, it results in cell accumulation in the form of a tumor.   

Risk factors: Several risk factors significant in the case of colon cancer. These factors are old age, low-fiber or high-fat diet, diabetes, smoking, obesity, inflammation in the intestine, excessive use of alcohol, colon cancer’s inherited gene, and so on.

Treatments: Several techniques are available to treat colon cancer, including drugs, surgery, and various therapies such as targeted therapy, immune therapy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. 

Moreover, colon cancer and rectal cancer together cause “colorectal cancer” that is more common and a bit more fatal. 

  • Throat Cancer:

Throat cancer is an uncommon malignant tumor that evolves within the throat (the muscular tube) or its other parts, such as voice box, vocal cords, oropharynx, or tonsils.

Types of Throat Cancer

The throat has various specified parts; hence throat cancer can be different depending on the area of throat affected:

  1. Pharyngeal Cancer: It affects the pharynx may be the upper, lower, or middle part.
  2. Laryngeal Cancer: It affects the larynx or voice box of the throat.
  3. Squamous cell carcinoma: It is the most common throat cancer that affects the flat cells lined up with the throat.
  4. Adenocarcinoma: It is the rare type that only affects the glandular cells.

Symptoms: Coughing, soring of the throat, ear pain, swallowing difficulty, lumps within or outside the throat, wheezing, weight loss, or voice transitions are the symptoms of throat cancer.

Causes: Throat cancer is generally the result of excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, and exposure to asbestos.

Additionally, it also caused by the genetic mutation of throat cells that makes the cells grow uncontrollably, whereas the healthy cells start to die. However, the primary cause of this particular genetic mutation is still unclear.

Treatments: Similar to other cancers, it can also be treated through surgery or various therapies.

Risk Factors: Doctors have disclosed various factors that cause an increased risk of throat cancer. These factors are the use of tobacco or cigarette smoking, an unhealthy diet, sexually transmitted HPV virus, excessive intake of alcohol, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

  • Testicular Cancer:

Testicular Cancer is the rare but highly treatable cancer that occurs within the male reproductive part, testicles that lie within the scrotum beneath the penis.

Symptoms:    Some symptoms you may feel when testicular cancer develops.  These

 signs may include the heaviness of scrotum, back pain, discomfort in testicles or scrotum, lumps development in testes, collection of fluids in the scrotum, and mild abdominal pain.

Causes: According to various doctors and specialists, testicular cancer begins when the healthy cells act abnormally and start accumulating within the testicles or scrotum. It occurs within the germ cells, which are the cells that give rise to immature cells, but still, the exact cause is not known.

Risk Factors: The factors that enhance the risk may include abnormal testicles development, age, cryptorchidism (undescended testicles), family history, etc.

Treatments: Testicular cancer can be easily treated even at its advanced stage, but the method used by the doctor keeps the size and location of the cancerous cell in the testicles into consideration. 

  • Lung cancer:

The growth of abnormal cells gives rise to lung cancer that is the most severe cancer disease leading to death.

Types of Lung Cancer

Two basic types of lung cancer are the following:

  1. Small-cell Lung Cancer:

It is the less common type that exclusively occurs in heavy smokers.

2. Non-small cell lung cancer:

It is the typical type that can be occurred in various lung cells and include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

Symptoms: The visibility of symptoms does not occur at the initial stages of lung cancer, whereas the signs of advanced lung cancer include chest pain, headache, bone pain, coughing with blood, breathing difficulty, hoarseness, weight loss, or a long-lasting cough.

Causes: The primary reason for lung cancer is smoking; however, it may occur to those people who never smoked. Therefore, the actual real cause of lung cancer is yet to be determined.

Risk Factors: Several controllable and uncontrollable factors increases the risk of lung cancer that incorporates smoking, an ancestral background of lung cancer, or effective contact with secondhand smoking, radon gas, asbestos, and other carcinogens.

Treatments: Doctors use vaccines, immunotherapy, radio-frequency ablation, targeted therapies like EGFR, and BRAF or chemotherapy to treat lung cancer. 

Moreover, advanced stage lung cancer is challenging to treat and recover, but these surgeries help in improving the life span of the patient.

  • Tumor:

It is the mass of abnormal cells or tissues that can be of any size or anywhere in the body.

This accumulation of cells disrupts the regular cell cycle of the body.

Types of Tumor

Three well-known types of tumor are:

  1. Benign Tumor: It is a noncancerous tumor, which means that it usually does not spread out in other parts of the body. Besides this, it can be easily removed out of the body and will not return.

Examples: Adenomas, Fibroids, etc

2. Premalignant Tumor: It is a type of tumor in which cells are noncancerous but have the potential to be malignant (cancerous). Hence, it needs enough monitoring along with proper treatment.

Examples: Actinic Keratosis, Leukoplakia, etc.

3. Malignant Tumor: It is the most dangerous and harmful kind of tumor in which the cells are cancerous that spread out to other body parts quickly.

Examples: Sarcoma, Blastoma, etc.

Symptoms: Loss of appetite, fatigue, pain, weight loss, skin discoloration are the common noticeable symptoms of the tumor.

Causes: The imbalance of the growth or death of the body cells causes the tumor. Also, the environmental toxins, genetics, injury, diet, stress, radiations, and some specific kind of viruses results in creating a tumor.

Risk factors: It incorporates exposure to radiation, hereditary genes, and environmental factors.

Treatments: Benign tumor does not require preferential treatment, whereas some medications and a small surgery removes it through the body. On the other side, surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy chosen by the oncologist treats the malignant tumors.

  • Brain Tumor:

A brain tumor is the massive accumulation of abnormal cells in any part of your brain that results in damaging the mind and body, potentially causing other brain conditions like secondary tumors.

Types of Brain Tumor

  1. Primary Brain tumor:

A primary brain tumor is less common in contrast with a secondary brain tumor. It originates itself within the brain may be inside the membranes, nerves, or glands.

Examples: Acoustic neuromas etc.

2. Secondary brain tumor:

Secondary brain tumor develops due to the spreading of any other body cancer towards and within the brain.

Examples: Lung cancer can metastasize to the brain etc.

Symptoms: The general symptoms of a brain tumor vary according to the size, growth rate, and location of cancer in your brain. Some common signs of brain tumors are more frequent and severe headaches, hearing issues, behavioral changes, nausea or vomiting, visual difficulties or gradual loss of vision, speech problems, seizures, etc.

Causes:

Primary brain tumor begins due to abnormal cell growth or DNA mutation like other cancers. This accumulation of abnormal cells in the brain causes the formation of a brain tumor.

The primary cause of secondary brain tumors is the spreading (metastasizing) of any other type of cancer within the body. It most commonly occurs through breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, etc.

Risk Factors: The risk factors that maximize the chances of primary brain tumors include exposure to radiations and the family history of genetic syndromes or brain tumors.

Treatments: There are several treatments available for dealing with brain tumors such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. The procedure is chosen by your doctor usually consider the location, size, stage of brain tumor, and your general health.

Conclusion

Precisely, cancer is the most deadly disease that causes maximum deaths per year all around the world. Therefore, it is necessary for you to have cancer screening tests monthly or whenever required, along with adopting basic precautions and prevention methods to minimize the risk of cancer.

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Ashley Macdonald
Ashley has recently joined the FeedsPortal content writing team and brings with her a wealth of journalistic experience, which we believe our readers will find extremely useful.

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