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    Filter Diseases & Condition

    Cancer

    • Overview

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      Cancer encompasses a wide range of diseases marked by the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells that can infiltrate and harm normal body tissue. It possesses the capacity to spread throughout the body, posing significant health risks. Globally, cancer ranks as the second-leading cause of death. However, advancements in cancer screening, treatment, and prevention have led to improved survival rates for numerous cancer types. These progressions offer hope in the battle against cancer and underscore the importance of early detection and ongoing medical advancements in enhancing outcomes for those affected by this complex group of diseases.

    • Symptoms

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      Cancer’s signs and symptoms manifest differently based on the affected body part. General indicators, not exclusively tied to cancer, encompass:

      • Fatigue
      • Lump or thickened region beneath the skin
      • Weight fluctuations, unintentional gain or loss
      • Skin alterations like yellowing, darkening, or reddening, non-healing sores, or mole changes
      • Altered bowel or bladder patterns
      • Ongoing cough or breathing difficulties
      • Swallowing challenges
      • Hoarseness
      • Sustained indigestion or post-meal discomfort
      • Unexplained, lingering muscle or joint pain
      • Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
      • Unaccounted bleeding or bruising
    • When to see a doctor

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      Abnormal symptoms may be a warning sign of potential dangerous diseases. Please contact our team of doctors immediately for detailed advice and update the most accurate and appropriate health care method.

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    • Causes

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      Cancer arises from mutations in the DNA of cells. DNA, residing within cells, is organized into numerous genes, each carrying instructions for the cell’s functions, growth, and division. Flaws in these instructions can disrupt normal cell operations, potentially triggering malignancy.

      Gene mutations can induce various changes in a healthy cell, leading to cancer development:

      1. Promote Rapid Growth: A mutation can trigger accelerated cell division, generating numerous new cells bearing the same mutation.
      2. Disable Growth Controls: Normal cells possess mechanisms (tumor suppressor genes) to halt growth at appropriate times. Mutations in these genes can disrupt these controls, enabling uncontrolled growth in cancer cells.
      3. Impair DNA Repair: DNA repair genes typically identify and rectify errors in DNA. Mutations in these genes may hinder proper error correction, allowing cells to become cancerous.

      While these are common mutations in cancer, numerous other gene mutations can also contribute to the onset of the disease.

      Gene mutations have various origins:

      1. Inherited Mutations: Some mutations are present from birth and are inherited from parents. However, these account for a small portion of cancers.
      2. Acquired Mutations: Most mutations arise after birth and are not inherited. They can result from factors like smoking, exposure to radiation, viral infections, exposure to cancer-causing substances (carcinogens), obesity, hormonal imbalances, chronic inflammation, and sedentary lifestyle.
      3. Normal Cell Processes: Gene mutations naturally happen during normal cell growth. Cells usually possess mechanisms to detect and repair mistakes, but occasionally errors go unnoticed, potentially leading to cancerous changes.

      The interplay of genetic and environmental factors can contribute to the development of gene mutations and, subsequently, cancer.

      Gene mutations, whether inherited or acquired over time, interact in complex ways to contribute to cancer development.

      Inherited mutations set the stage, making an individual more susceptible to cancer. However, cancer doesn’t typically result from a single mutation. Acquired mutations, influenced by factors like lifestyle, environmental exposures, and chance, accumulate in cells over time. The combination of these mutations, along with other genetic and environmental factors, eventually disrupts normal cell control mechanisms.

      For cancer to develop, a sequence of mutations often occurs. An inherited mutation might increase vulnerability, while subsequent acquired mutations, triggered by various factors, further disrupt cellular processes. The exact number of mutations required varies among cancer types, reflecting their unique characteristics and underlying genetic complexities.

    • Risk factors

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      Although doctors have identified certain factors that can elevate cancer risk, many cases occur in individuals without apparent risk factors. Notable risk-increasing elements encompass:

      1. Age: Cancer’s development often spans decades, predominantly affecting those aged 65 or older. Yet, cancer isn’t confined to adulthood; it can manifest at any age.
      2. Lifestyle Choices: Specific habits can heighten cancer susceptibility. Behaviors like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, overexposure to the sun, obesity, and risky sexual practices contribute to this risk. Modifying these behaviors can mitigate the likelihood of cancer, though altering some habits is more challenging.
      3. Family Heritage: A minority of cancers stem from inherited conditions. Familial cancer patterns might signify the transmission of mutations across generations. Genetic testing could identify inherited mutations that heighten the risk of certain cancers, though such mutations don’t guarantee cancer occurrence.
      4. Health Conditions: Some chronic ailments, including ulcerative colitis, significantly amplify the risk of specific cancers. Consultation with a physician can clarify your risk profile.
      5. Environmental Influences: Surroundings can harbor detrimental chemicals that augment cancer risk. Exposure to secondhand smoke, even for nonsmokers, and contact with compounds like asbestos and benzene in homes or workplaces contribute to heightened risk.
    • Prevention

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      Medical professionals have identified numerous strategies to mitigate the risk of cancer, including:

      • Cease Smoking: If you smoke, quitting is paramount. Smoking’s association with various cancer types, not just lung cancer, necessitates immediate cessation to diminish future cancer risk.
      • Sun Protection: Counteract harmful ultraviolet rays by limiting sun exposure, employing protective attire, or using sunscreen to lower the likelihood of skin cancer.
      • Balanced Diet: Opt for a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Minimize processed meat intake to foster a protective dietary environment.
      • Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, as it correlates with reduced cancer risk. Strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise most days. Gradual incorporation into your routine is advised.
      • Healthy Weight: Maintaining an appropriate weight through proper nutrition and consistent exercise can lower cancer susceptibility, as obesity may heighten risk.
      • Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Should you choose to consume alcohol, do so moderately. For women, up to one drink daily, and for men, up to two drinks daily, is deemed healthy.
      • Screening Tests: Collaborate with your physician to determine relevant cancer screening exams according to your risk factors.
      • Immunization Consultation: Discuss immunizations with your doctor, particularly for viruses that elevate cancer risk, such as hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV), linked to liver and cervical cancer respectively. Establish whether these immunizations align with your health needs.

      By embracing these measures, you can actively curtail your susceptibility to cancer and foster enduring well-being.

    • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

    Content Details

    Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

    Last updated on: 19/07/2023