I have cancer does it mean I am dying?

cancer

 

 

What you Really Need to Know About Cancer

When the doctor finally declares you’ve got cancer” he who must not be named”, It means that the body cells affected are no longer behaving as they’re supposed to.

This involves the uncontrolled rate of cell growth ;the body creates new cells and old cells don’t die but continue growing to form an extra mass of tissues called tumors

The tumors may spread from the point of origin to neighboring organs interfering with the natural functions of the tissues which they have invaded.

There are basically two kinds of tumors

  • Benign tumor
  • Malignant tumor

Benign Tumor

A tumor is  benign when it does not spread to other parts of the body from the site of origin.

Malignant Tumor

Now, this tumor is like an army recruiting more soldiers into its rank in order to invade an unsuspecting village.

This kind of tumor spreads from its point of origin to other surrounding tissues.

Types of Cancer

According to the type of cell from which it originates.

  • Carcinomas
  • Lymphomas
  • Leukemia
  • Brain Tumor
  • Sarcomas

Carcinomas

This type of cancers is the most common. I begin from the epithelial cells(cells of the skin or tissue covering the body organ).

Examples: liver, breast or prostate. Carcinomas are most prevalent in adults and rare in children

Lymphomas

Lymphomas or lymphatic cancers originate from the lymphatic systems of the body comprising  of the lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen, tonsils.

The work of the lymphatic system is to recognize and destroy infectious organisms

but when the lymphocytes are cancerous, they are unable to function properly,thus disrupting the  immune system.

Leukemia

This is a type of blood cancer, unlike the lymphomas it affects the white blood cells.

The bone marrow produces white abnormal amounts of white blood cells which populate the blood living in small amounts of red blood cells and platelets.

Basic Classification of leukemia

  • Chronic leukemia
  • Acute leukemia
  • Lymphocytic leukemia
  • Myelogenous leukemia

People usually affected by leukemia are children under the age of 15 and adults over 50.

Leukemia is the twelfth most common type of cancer in the UK and statistically speaking 19 out of every 100,000 persons will be diagnosed with leukemia by 2035. Source:cancerresearchuk.org

Brain Tumors

These are really scary ones, this kind of tumor may develop from the brain or as a result of metastasis (spreading of cancer from other parts of the body).

A brain tumor consists of growth of abnormal cells in the brain.

It can either be benign or malignant though most brain tumors occur as a result of metastasis.

The brain tumor interferes with the basic brain functions which include: muscle control, sensation, memory and also causing increased intercranial pressure.

Sarcomas

These evil ones are quite rare compared to the carcinomas, they develop in the bones and soft tissues( cartilage, blood vessels).

It is also referred to as tumor of the connective tissues (any part of the body may be affected).

Main categories of sarcoma include

  • Bone Sarcomas
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas

Causes of Cancer

It is usually difficult to correctly prove the cause of cancer affecting a patient.

For instance, a patient John age 45, a teetotaler, non-smoker, physically fit but diagnosed with lung cancer.

The infamous cancer may be caused by a variety of reasons; unknown reasons, Environmental causes, Lifestyle, Genetics.

Common Causes

Chemical Substances

These substances are referred to as carcinogens, they are responsible for the increasing occurrence of cancer worldwide. Any substance that causes a change in our cell structure and affects its functions.

As specified by the International Agency for the Research on Cancer examples include Tobacco, asbestos, arsenic, benzene, acetaldehyde, Aflatoxins, beryllium and beryllium compounds.

Infections

These are due to cancer-causing viruses and bacteria, they the most rated killers of all time.

Viruses include HPV(Human Papilloma Virus), Hepatitis B and C, Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpes Virus. examples of cancer-causing bacteria include liver fluke and Schistosoma spp.

Radiation

Most of the modern technology devices we use emit one form of radiation, even prolonged exposure to the sun increases the risk of skin cancer.

I don’t think you can do much about this one, every one in the 21st century is at risk of over exposure  to radiation.

Radiation may be

Non-ionizing

due to radio-frequency radiations from modern technology.

Or

Ionizing

This is radiation from radioactive elements found on earth(uranium, radon) and outer space.

Too much exposure to this kind of radiation will certainly cause Gene mutations which will eventually result to malignant  cells.

Genetics

If any of your relatives have suffered from any kind of cancer, there is a high probability that you may have inherited a faulty gene which might most likely cause cancer .

This is common in breast and ovarian types.

General Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

  • Lump in the breast or nipple discharge
  • A nagging Cough
  • A sore throat
  • Recurring Infections
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Severe  pain in your bones
  • Unreasonable loss of appetite
  • Change in bowel movement
  • Drastic weight loss

Note: Experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms does not necessarily mean you have cancer .consult your general physician.

How to Prevent Cancer

In order to improve your chances of living a long healthy and happy cancer free life,do the following

  1. Avoid common risk factors like tobacco, STDs,Obesity,air pollution, alcohol
  2. Feast regularly on a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Physical activity
  4. Properly regulate your blood sugar
  5. Take vaccines against some carcinogenic viruses(HPV, Hepatitis B)
  6. Go for screening periodically in order to check for tumors or detect any abnormalities e.g PaP smear, breast examination
  7. Manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Treatment

Surgery

This usually very useful and efficient when the patient’s cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.

If the cancer has spread to other  tissues in the  body, then chemo and radiotherapy  are better options.

Radiotherapy

This employs the use high energy rays on cancerous cells. This results in destruction or shrinking of the cancerous cell. Its side effects include tiredness and fatigue, skin reactions, hair loss.

Chemotherapy

Extreme conditions call for extreme measures, this method usually involves pumping the body full of chemicals that will interfere with the cancer growth.

Hormone Therapy

In the case of cancers like breast and prostate, the hormones estrogen and testosterone responsible for the growth of these tissues are targeted with drugs.

Drugs like tamoxifen and luteinizing hormone blockers reduce or inhibit respectively  the production of these hormones, therefore, interfering with the development of the tissues.

Note: This post is only an overview of the menace cancer,It is not  an alternative of visiting  your  physician.

 

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