Cancer, also called malignancy, is an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer. Cancers are a large family of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body They form a subset of neoplasms. A neoplasm or tumor is a group of cells that have undergone unregulated growth, and will often form a mass or lump, but may be distributed diffusely.

 
Six characteristics of cancer have been proposed:

  • self-sufficiency in growth signalling
  • insensitivity to anti-growth signals
  • evasion of apoptosis
  • enabling of a limitless replicative potential
  • induction and sustainment of angiogenesis
  • activation of metastasisand invasion of tissue

The progression from normal cells to cells that can form a discernible mass to outright cancer involves multiple steps known as malignant progression.

Signs and symptoms of cancer:

1.    Lump in your breast
2.    Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness
3.    Changes in bowel habits
one of the changes listed below and it’s lasted for more than a few weeks:

  • blood in your stools
  • diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
  • a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
  • pain in your abdomen (stomach) or your anus (back passage)
  • persistent bloating

4. Bleeding
unexplained bleeding, such as:

  • blood in your urine
  • bleeding between periods
  • blood from your back passage
  • blood when you cough
  • blood in your vomit

5. Moles
if you have a mole that:

  • has an irregular or asymmetrical shape
  • has an irregular border with jagged edges
  • has more than one colour (it may be flecked with brown, black, red, pink or white)
  • is bigger than 7 mm in diameter
  • is itchy, crusting or bleeding
    Any of the above changes means there’s a chance you have malignant melanoma (skin cancer).

6. Unexplained weight loss
You should also see your GP if you have lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months that can’t be explained by changes to your diet, exercise or stress.

Types of cancers

There are over 100 types of cancers; most can fit into the following categories according to the National Cancer Institute:

  • Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs
  • Sarcoma: Cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue
  • Leukemia: Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood
  • Lymphoma and myeloma: Cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system
  • Central nervous system cancers: Cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord

Lab tests used in cancer diagnosis :

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): This common blood test measures the amount of various types of blood cells in a sample of your blood. Blood cancers may be detected using this test if too many or too few of a type of blood cell or abnormal cells are found. A bone marrow biopsy may help confirm a diagnosis of a blood cancer.
  • Blood Protein Testing:  A test to examine various proteins in your blood (electro-phoresis) can aid in detecting certain abnormal immune system proteins (immunoglobulins) that are sometimes elevated in people with multiple myeloma. Other tests, such as a bone marrow biopsy, are used to confirm a suspected diagnosis.
  • Tumor Marker Tests: Tumor markers are chemicals made by tumor cells that can be detected in your blood. But tumor markers are also produced by some normal cells in your body, and levels may be significantly elevated in noncancerous conditions. This limits the potential for tumor marker tests to help in diagnosing cancer.The best way to use tumor markers in diagnosing cancer hasn’t been determined. And the use of some tumor marker tests is controversial. Examples of tumor markers include prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer, cancer antigen 125 (CA 125) for ovarian cancer, calcitonin for medullary thyroid cancer, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) for liver cancer and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) for germ cell tumors, such as testicular cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Circulating Tumor Cell Tests: Experimental blood tests are being developed to find cells that have broken away from an original cancer site and are floating in the bloodstream. More research is needed to understand how these tests can help doctors diagnose advanced cancers.

Treatment Types

  1. Surgery : Surgery can be used to diagnose, treat, or even help prevent cancer in some cases. Most people with cancer will have some type of surgery. It often offers the greatest chance for cure, especially if the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.
  2. Chemotherapy (chemo): is the use of medicines or drugs to treat cancer. The thought of having chemotherapy frightens many people. But knowing what chemotherapy is, how it works, and what to expect can often help calm your fears. It can also give you a better sense of control over your cancer treatment.
  3. Radiation therapy:  uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. It is one of the most common treatments for cancer, either by itself or along with other forms of treatment.
  4. Targeted Therapy:  Targeted therapy is a newer type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to more precisely identify and attack cancer cells, usually while doing little damage to normal cells. Targeted therapy is a growing part of many cancer treatment regimens.
  5. Immuno-therapy : Immuno-therapy is treatment that uses your body’s own immune system to help fight cancer. Get information about the different types of immuno-therapy and the types of cancer they are used to treat.
  6. Hyper-thermia : The idea of using heat to treat cancer has been around for some time, but early attempts had mixed results. Today, newer tools allow more precise delivery of heat, and hyper-thermia is being studied for use against many types of cancer.
  7. Stem Cell Transplant (Peripheral Blood, Bone Marrow, and Cord Blood Transplants)

    What is Prostate cancer? How can it be treated?

    Prostate Cancer

    Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer, found to be affecting most of the men. Prostate gland is the part of the genital organs of men, which are of a shape of walnut located between the bladder and penis. The glands appear to be just in the front of rectum. The urethra that connects the urinary bladder to the urinary meatus for the removal of urine from the body runs through the center of the prostate, letting urine flow out of the body.
    The prostate glands are known to contain a fluid which nourishes and protects the sperm. Also the prostate glands containing semen squeezes the fluid from its glands into the urethra from where the sperm is ejaculated.
    There are various conditions that may affect the men with certain conditions related to prostate which include prostatitis where the prostate gland is known to be inflamed due to bacterial infection and can be treated with proper anti-biotic medication.
    Some other condition like enlarged prostrate where the size of the prostate glands increases with age and this condition is most commonly seen to be affecting men over 50 years of age, where the symptoms include difficulty in urination, leaky urine, sometimes blood in urine, burning with urination, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting. Most severe cases can lead to medical and surgical treatments.

    Prostate Cancer- Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most common cause of cancer among men worldwide and has become a major health problem affecting the industrialized world. According to various research articles the prevalence of Prostate cancer is expected to increase by 2 million with new cases of prostate cancer worldwide.

    Symptoms of Prostate cancer

    Cancer is a broad term that involves growth of abnormal cells in the body originating from a particular place and spreading gradually throughout the body. Prostate cancer usually remains undiagnosed at start but it gradually develops and shows some symptoms like urge to urinate, blood in the urine, painful urination, improper erection or difficulty in achieving erection. Advanced and severe form of prostate cancer can cause bone pain, leg weakness, and fecal incontinence.

    Treatment of prostate cancer

    Early stage prostate cancer can be treated by watchful waiting or monitoring, radical prostatectomy which involves the surgical removal of prostate, brachytherapy where the radioactive seeds are transplanted into the prostate for successful radiation therapy, conformal radiation therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy which is performed in a course of 4 to 6 months. In some advance cases of Prostate cancer chemotherapy is recommended which kills the cancer cells around the body, and Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) which involves suppressing the androgen levels which is known to stimulate the cancer cells growth.

    Hospitals in Delhi that provide prostate cancer treatment

    There are various hospitals like Fortis Healthcare, Max health, Medanta hospital and etc., that provides best treatment for people suffering from prostate cancer

    Lung cancer and its treatment

    The lungs are a part of human body that is air filled sacs located on either side of the chest; these are pair of spongy tissues that help absorb air. Lungs are divided into tubular branches called bronchi which is divided into smaller branches called bronchioles and then into alveoli. The alveoli functions in absorbing the oxygen from the inhaled air and exhaling the CO2.

    Lung cancer is the most primary cause of cancer deaths among the world. This is because of extensive smoking which is the principal risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Passive smoking is also reported to cause cancer among individuals. Lung cancer is a condition characterized by the abnormal growth of the cells in the tissues of the lung. This growth can spread beyond the lung affecting other parts of the body and becoming malignant. Lung cancers are classified into two type’s small cell lung cancer and (SCLC) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It has been classified because of its variable spread throughout the body.

    Symptoms of Lung cancer

    Lung cancer during its initial stages is not known to show any symptoms, however it only shows symptoms when the cancer is advanced. Some of the symptoms of lung cancer include cough that doesn’t go away, blood while coughing, shortness of breath, headache, bone pain, losing weight and etc. some of the complications include shortness of breath, pain in chest, Fluid filled in the chest (pleural effusion),cancer spreading towards other parts of the body.

    How does smoking causes lung cancer?

    The smoke which is generated from cigarette Smoking contains cancer causing substances (carcinogens) which are absorbed by the lungs. These harmful chemicals damage the cells in the lung and cause abnormal behavior of the cells leading to lung cancer.

    Treatment and prevention

    The number of deaths being more in patients suffering from lung cancer is also due to poor prognosis during early stages of cancer. Lung cancer is most commonly diagnosed at later stages of cancer. Treatment of lung cancer involves chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

    Some of the preventive measures which can be taken to protect oneself from this deadly disease involve cessation of smoking, whether it is active or passive smoking, keeping you out from inhaling harmful chemicals like radon, carcinogens like lead, mercury. Having a proper diet which includes fruits, vegetables rich in anti-oxidants. Last but not least exercising daily this is also the most important factor of life that has become necessary to beat the sedentary lifestyle.

Breast Cancer

Breast are located on the upper ventral region of the human body. It serves as a mammary gland in women which produces and secretes milk after delivery and helps nourish the infants. Today women and men both are facing breast cancer problems, and it is among the most top two cancer diseases affecting women and causing death rates after lung cancer.

Causes of Breast cancer

Breast cancer is a malignant type of tumor that arises in the breast or arm pit and grows gradually causing cancer. Causes of breast cancer is unknown. However, some reasons like aging, obesity, consumption of carcinogens either through air or food packed in plastics, previous history of cancer in the family.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Breast cancer in women are easily diagnosed when compared to men. Some of the symptoms of Breast cancer include presence of a lump or a thickened tissue in the area of breasts or arm pit, change in size or shape of the breasts, redness of the skin, swelling in the armpit or collar bone, oozing out of fluid from the nipple without squeezing it, a sunken or inverted nipple, pain near breast area. All these symptoms are a matter of concern and needs immediate medical attention.

Types of Breast cancer

Breast cancer can be of two type’s Ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma

  • Ductal carcinoma: It is the most common type of carcinoma, that begins in the milk duct and spreads throughout the body.
  • Lobular carcinoma: this type of breast cancer usually develops in the lobules of the breast and then spread gradually. This is usually seen in later stages of life and is uncommon.
Stages of Breast cancer

Stage 0: This stage is considerably not harmful, but the cells remain viable contained inside a tissue, to grow abnormally.

Stage 1: This is the beginning of the cancer, where the cells in the tissue starts dividing into abnormal cells, and grows up-to 2cm in size.

Stage 2: The tumour starts growing in size and also affects the nearby lymph nodes.

Stage 3: The tumour grows up-to 5 cm and spreading across other parts of the body affecting the lymph nodes.

Stage 4: the cancer has spread to almost all the parts of the body affecting major portion like bone, liver, kidney.

Diagnosis and Treatment of breast cancer

Various diagnostic tests are carried out for breast cancer, mammogram screening is the initial test conducted to check for any breast cancer. Ultrasound and MRI scanning, and biopsy confirm the cancerous cells. Treatment of breast cancer includes various procedures that include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, hormone therapy or targeted drug therapy. Some of the hospitals in Delhi, one can target for the treatment of Breast cancer include – AIIMS, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Dharamshila cancer hospital, Apollo cancer institute, Max Super Speciality hospital.

Colon Cancer

The colon also called as large intestine, is situated in the lower part of the abdomen and is divided into four parts ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid colon. The function of the colon is to absorb water, salt and nutrients from the food consumed. Colon cancer is the cancer of large intestine and is characterized by the formation of clumps of cells called polyps, which are formed of adenomatous cells. These adenomatous polyps are small and non-cancerous during initial stage but with time they grow into cancerous cells causing colon cancer.

Symptoms of colon cancer

Some of the Signs and symptoms of colon cancer that include immediate medical attention are listed below- decrease in weight which is unexplainable, rectal bleeding followed by blood in stool, pain in the abdomen, discomfort, gas, cramps, weakness and fatigue due to weight loss, changes in bowel movement like diarrhoea, or constipation.

Causes of colon cancer

Some of the causes of colon cancer include hereditary or familial adenomatous polyps like hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) and Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). However, some of the other risk factors of colon cancer include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, low-fibre and high-fat diet, diabetes, alcohol, radiation therapy for cancer. One can take some preventive measures to avoid colon cancer like changing lifestyle habits, stop smoking, and eat good food which include high fibre like fruits and vegetables.

Treatment of colon cancer

Treatment of colon cancer vary depending on the stage of the cancer, and there is no single treatment for cancer, it includes treatment through radiation by focusing high energy gamma rays on the tumour cells, chemotherapy, laproscopic surgery which is done to remove the polyps by making small incisions on the abdomen, palliative surgery is done to relieve from the advanced cancer, where all the other treatments fail.