Cancer- What You need to Know

April 02 2018 at 06:07 AM by Admin

Cancer often referred to as a deadly disease and rightly so is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Some of the common signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, sudden weight loss and a change in bowel movements. Medical science, today has reached a level where cancer is not so much of a terror anymore solely because it can be cured and there are a number of recovery cases and survival stories out there to back it. However, it is still a threat to most people in today’s world due to the lifestyle patterns the present generation is exposed to and hence it needs to be addressed and people need to be made aware of the risk factors involving cancer.


Signs and symptoms caused by cancer vary depending on what part of the body is affected. Some general signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to cancer, include- fatigue, lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin, sudden weight changes, skin changes such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won’t heal , or changes to existing moles, changes in bowel or bladder habits, persistent cough or trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating, unexplained and persistent muscle or joint pain, unexplained and frequent fevers, bleeding or bruising.

Risk Factors

While doctors have an idea of what may increase your risk of cancer, the majority of cancers occur in people who don't have any known risk factors. Factors have known to increase your risk of cancer include:

  • Age -Cancer can take decades to develop. That's why most people diagnosed with cancer are 65 or older. While it's more common in older adults, cancer isn't exclusively an adult disease — cancer can be diagnosed at any age.


  • Habits -Certain lifestyle choices are known to increase your risk of cancer. Smoking, drinking more than one alcoholic drink a day (for women of all ages and men older than age 65) or two drinks a day (for men age 65 and younger), excessive exposure to the sun or frequent blistering sunburns, being obese, and having unsafe sex can contribute to cancer.


  • Family history -Only a small portion of cancers are due to an inherited condition. If cancer is common in your family, it's possible that mutations are being passed from one generation to the next. You might be a candidate for genetic testing to see whether you have inherited mutations that might increase your risk of certain cancers.


  • Health conditions -Some chronic health conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, can markedly increase your risk of developing certain cancers. Talk to your doctor about your risk.


  • Environment - The environment around you may contain harmful chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer. Even if you don't smoke, you might inhale secondhand smoke if you go where people are smoking or if you live with someone who smokes. Chemicals in your home or workplace, such as asbestos and benzene, also are associated with an increased risk of cancer.


Prevention Measures

There's no certain way to prevent cancer. But doctors have identified several ways of reducing your cancer risk, such as:

·         Stop smoking. Smoking is linked to several types of cancer — not just lung cancer. Quitting it will reduce your risk of cancer in the future.

·         Avoid excessive sun exposure. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer. Limit your sun exposure by staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing or applying sunscreen.

·         Eat a healthy diet. Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Select whole grains and lean proteins.

·         Exercise most days of the week. Regular exercise is linked to a lower risk of cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

·         Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese may increase your risk of cancer. Work to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

·         Drink alcohol in moderation, if you choose to drink. Limit your alcohol consumption to avoid the risk of developing cancer.

·          Schedule cancer screening exams. Talk to your doctor about what types of cancer screening exams are best for you based on your risk factors.

·         Ask your doctor about immunizations. Certain viruses increase your risk of cancer. Immunizations may help prevent those viruses, including hepatitis B, which increases the risk of liver cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which increases the risk of cervical cancer and other cancers. Ask your doctor whether immunization against these viruses is appropriate for you.