CANCER

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. These abnormal cells are termed cancer cells, malignant cells, or tumor cells. These cells can infiltrate normal body tissues.

SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS

  • Change in bowel or bladder habits
  • sore throat that does not heal
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge (for example, nipple secretions or a “sore” that will not heal that oozes material)
  • Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere
  • Indigestion (usually chronic) or difficulty swallowing
  • Obvious change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart or mole
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness
  • Unexplained loss of weight or loss of appetite
  • A new type of pain in the bones or other parts of the body that may be steadily worsening, or come and go, but is unlike previous pains one has had before
  • Persistent fatiguenausea, or vomiting
  • Unexplained low-grade fevers with may be either persistent or come and go
  • Recurring infections which will not clear with usual treatment

TYPES OF CANCER

  • Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs — “skin, lung, colon, pancreatic, ovarian cancers,” epithelial, squamous and basal cell carcinomas, melanomas, papillomas, and adenomas
  • Sarcoma: Cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue — “bone, soft tissue cancers,” osteosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, liposarcoma, angiosarcoma, rhabdosarcoma, and fibrosarcoma
  • 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 — “leukemia,” lymphoblastic leukemias (ALL and CLL), myelogenous leukemias (AML and CML), T-cell leukemia, and hairy-cell leukemia
  • Lymphoma and myeloma: Cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system — “lymphoma,” T-cell lymphomas, B-cell lymphomas, Hodgkin lymphomas, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and lymphoproliferative lymphomas
  • Central nervous system cancers: Cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord — “brain and spinal cord tumors,” gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, primary CNS lymphomas, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors

CANCER STAGING

  • Site of the primary tumor
  • Tumor size and number of tumors
  • Lymph node involvement (spread of cancer into lymph nodes)
  • Cell type and tumor grade (how closely the cancer cells resemble normal tissue cells)
  • The presence or absence of metastasis

CANCER PREVENTION

Cancer prevention, by avoiding its potential causes, is the simplest method. First on most clinicians and researchers list is to stop (or better, never start) smoking tobacco. Avoiding excess sunlight (by decreasing exposure or applying sunscreen) and many of the chemicals and toxins are excellent ways to avoid cancers. Avoiding contact with certain viruses and other pathogens also are likely to prevent some cancers. People who have to work close to cancer-causing agents (chemical workers, X-ray technicians, ionizing radiation researchers, asbestos workers) should follow all safety precautions and minimize any exposure to such compounds. Although the FDA and the CDC suggests that there is no scientific evidence that definitively says cell phones cause cancer, other agencies call for more research or indicate the risk is very low. Individuals who are concerned can limit exposure to cell phones by using an earpiece and simply make as few cell phone calls as possible.