Posted on : 25/01/2023 Views : 26
General Perspective on Cancer
Cancer ranks either first or second among the leading causes of death before the age of 70 years across 91 out of the 172 countries worldwide.
The GLOBOCAN 2018 reported 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.6 million deaths globally.
By 2040, the cancer incidence and mortality are expected to rise to 29.5 million and 16.3 million, respectively.
New and challenging problems — rapid urbanization, population ageing, inactive and unhealthy lifestyles, indoor and outdoor air pollution, etc., are responsible for the emerging cancer burden across the globe, majorly impacting the middle-to-low socio-economic countries including India.
Cancers of the breast, uterine cervix, and lip or oral cavity are three of the most common malignancies in India. Together, they account for about 34% of more than 1 million individuals diagnosed with cancer in India each year. At each of these cancer sites, tumours are detectable at early stages when they are most likely to be cured with standard treatment protocols.
Signs and symptoms caused by cancer will vary depending on what part of the body is affected.
Some general signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to cancer include:
- Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
- Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
- 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
- Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
- Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising
Cancer screening aims to detect cancer before symptoms appear. This may involve blood tests, urine tests, DNA tests, other tests, or medical imaging. The benefits of screening in terms of cancer prevention, early detection and subsequent treatment must be weighed against any harms.
What is the most common cancer screening?
Recommended cancer screening tests
- Breast cancer screening. Screening mammography has been shown to reduce deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74, especially those ages 50 to 69
- Cervical cancer screening
- Colorectal cancer screening
- Lung cancer screening.
Common screening tests
- Pap smear or liquid-based cytology to detect potentially precancerous lesions and prevent cervical cancer.
- Mammography to detect breast cancer.
- Colonoscopy and fecal occult blood test to detect colorectal cancer.
- Dermatological check to detect melanoma.
- PSA to detect prostate cancer.
How is Cancer Diagnosed?
If you have a symptom or a screening test result that suggests cancer, your doctor must find out whether it is due to cancer or some other cause. The doctor may start by asking about your personal and family medical history and do a physical exam. The doctor also may order lab tests, imaging tests (scans), or other tests or procedures. You may also need a biopsy, which is often the only way to tell for sure if you have cancer.
High or low levels of certain substances in your body can be a sign of cancer. So, lab tests of your blood, urine, or other body fluids that measure these substances can help doctors make a diagnosis. However, abnormal lab results are not a sure sign of cancer.
Some lab tests involve testing blood or tissue samples for tumor markers. Tumor markers are substances that are produced by cancer cells or by other cells of the body in response to cancer.
Imaging tests create pictures of areas inside your body that help the doctor see whether a tumor is present. These pictures can be made in several ways:
A CT scan uses an x-ray machine linked to a computer to take a series of pictures of your organs from different angles. These pictures are used to create detailed 3-D images of the inside of your body.
An MRI uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to take pictures of your body in slices. These slices are used to create detailed images of the inside of your body, which can show the difference between healthy and unhealthy tissue.
A nuclear scan uses radioactive material to take pictures of the inside of the body. This type of scan may also be called radionuclide scan.
Bone scans are a type of nuclear scan that check for abnormal areas or damage in the bones. They may be used to diagnose bone cancer or cancer that has spread to the bones (also called metastatic bone tumors).
A PET scan is a type of nuclear scan that makes detailed 3-D pictures of areas inside your body where glucose is taken up.
An ultrasound exam uses high-energy sound waves that people cannot hear. The sound waves echo off tissues inside your body. A computer uses these echoes to create pictures of areas inside your body. This picture is called a sonogram.
Types of Cancer Treatment
There are many types of cancer treatment. The types of treatment that you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is. Some people with cancer will have only one treatment. But most people have a combination of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Biomarker Testing for Cancer Treatment
Biomarker testing is a way to look for genes, proteins, and other substances (called biomarkers or tumor markers) that can provide information about cancer.
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Learn how chemotherapy works against cancer, why it causes side effects, and how it is used with other cancer treatments.
Hormone therapy is a treatment that slows or stops the growth of breast and prostate cancers that use hormones to grow.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer.
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
Stem Cell Transplant
Stem cell transplants are procedures that restore stem cells that grow into blood cells in people who have had theirs destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
When used to treat cancer, surgery is a procedure in which a surgeon removes cancer from your body.
Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread.