What is Cancer?
Cancer is not a single disease with a single cause of treatment. In fact, there are more than a hundred diseases. Each type of cancer has its own name, symptoms, causes, behavior and treatments. All cancers involve abnormal growth of cells.
The organs and tissues of the body are made up of tiny building blocks called cells as cells age. There is a constant process or cycle of cells dying and being replaced by new cells. This is usually an orderly process, and if too many new cells are created they form a tumour. Some tumours called as benign tumours that are not cancerous and hence they may not need treatment, but malignant tumours can spread. Cancer is a name given to malignant tumour.
In benign tumours the cells do not spread to other parts of the body and so are not cancerous. However, if they continue to grow at the main site, they can cause a problem by pressing on the surrounding organs.
Are you at risk for Cancer?2 in 4 people will develop cancer during their entire lifetime; cancer is not common in children or young people it mainly occurs in the later years of life. Cancer can occur at any age, but mostly the risk of developing the cancer increases as and with the age. Some cancers are very common and others are very rare. The different type of cancers includes: lung cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer and large bowel cancer etc. Many people with cancer can be cured and treated. Even if a cancer is not cured, it can often be controlled with treatment for months or years.
Remission of Cancer?Remission is commonly used term, usually referring to being cured or treated. A remission can be temporary or permanent. Temporary remission refers to a treatment wherein cancer is reduced to some extent but not completely cured. Remission can last anywhere from months to years.
Cancer TreatmentsCancer can be treated. There are five major types of treatment for cancer and are described as follows:
SurgeryThis involves an operation, an operation is done to remove the tumour. Surgery is often done if the cancer is only in one part of the body and has not spread across. It may be used to remove lymph nodes if these are also affected by the cancer. The type of operation will depend on the area of body, which is affected by the cancer and also on the size, and the position of the tumour.
RadiotherapyThe radiotherapy use a very high energy x-rays to destroy the cancer cells and cause a very little harm to normal cells. The radiotherapy is aimed at the affected part of the body and is very carefully planned. This therapy causes side effects and most common one involves is tiredness.
Active surveillanceThere are some types of cancer that grow very slowly and may cause no problems for many years. In this you may not need to have any treatment for sometime, but your doctor will monitor it closely so that if the cancer starts to grow you can be treated at that very time.
Hormonal therapyThis treatment works by altering the levels of particular hormones in the body. By altering means the level of hormones in the body, or blocking the hormones from attaching to the cancer cells the cancer can be controlled and cured.
ChemotherapyThis involves the use of anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. There are over 50 different Chemotherapy drugs. Some are given as tablets or capsules but mostly given by drip into a vein. It can cause side effects, again depends upon the combination of drugs used.
Nutrition During Cancer TreatmentMost side effects disappear shortly after cancer treatment has finished. Even if the side effect does not disappear, following are the generalized nutrition need to be taken after cancer treatment.
General Nutrition Guidelines after cancer treatment:
- Enjoy a variety of foods
- Eat cereals, breads, other grain products, vegetable and fruits
- Eat lower fat dairy products, leaner meats, and foods prepared with little or no fat
- Emphasize on physical activity
- Lower the intake of salt, alcohol and caffeine
- High levels of vitamin D may lower the cancer risk
- Include garlic in your daily diet as there are known benefits of garlic
Side effects of Cancer TreatmentThe side effects of cancer treatment include constipation, fatigue, nausea and vomiting that are some common possible side effects for cancer patients. The growth and spread of cancer and cancer treatment together contribute to these conditions. However, not all cancer patients will experience the same side effects.
Some side effects can be described as follows: