Cancer

Defined

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.

 

Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

 

When cancer develops, however, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumors.

Many cancers form solid tumors, which are masses of tissue. Cancers of the blood, such as leukemias, generally do not form solid tumors.

 

Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. In addition, as these tumors grow, some cancer cells can break off and travel to distant places in the body through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor.

 

Unlike malignant tumors, benign tumors do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. Benign tumors can sometimes be quite large, however. When removed, they usually don’t grow back, whereas malignant tumors sometimes do. Unlike most benign tumors elsewhere in the body, benign brain tumors can be life threatening.

 

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/what-is-cancer

Diagnosis

Diagnosing cancer at its earliest stages often provides the best chance for a cure. With this in mind, talk with your doctor about what types of cancer screening may be appropriate for you.

 

For a few cancers, studies show screening tests can save lives by diagnosing cancer early. For other cancers, screening tests are recommended only for people with increased risk.

 

A variety of medical organizations and patient-advocacy groups have recommendations and guidelines for cancer screening. Review the various guidelines with your doctor and together you can determine what's best for you based on your own risk factors for cancer.

 

Your doctor may use one or more approaches to diagnose cancer:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor may feel areas of your body for lumps that may indicate a tumor. During a physical exam, he or she may look for abnormalities, such as changes in skin color or enlargement of an organ, that may indicate the presence of cancer.

  • Laboratory tests. Laboratory tests, such as urine and blood tests, may help your doctor identify abnormalities that can be caused by cancer. For instance, in people with leukemia, a common blood test called complete blood count may reveal an unusual number or type of white blood cells.

  • Imaging tests. Imaging tests allow your doctor to examine your bones and internal organs in a noninvasive way. Imaging tests used in diagnosing cancer may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, ultrasound and X-ray, among others.

  • Biopsy. During a biopsy, your doctor collects a sample of cells for testing in the laboratory. There are several ways of collecting a sample. Which biopsy procedure is right for you depends on your type of cancer and its location. In most cases, a biopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose cancer.

 

In the laboratory, doctors look at cell samples under the microscope. Normal cells look uniform, with similar sizes and orderly organization. Cancer cells look less orderly, with varying sizes and without apparent organization.

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370594

 

Treatment

Treatments - Many cancer treatments are available. Your treatment options will depend on several factors, such as the type and stage of your cancer, your general health, and your preferences. Together you and your doctor can weigh the benefits and risks of each cancer treatment to determine which is best for you.

 

Goals of cancer treatment

 

Cancer treatments have different objectives, such as:

  • Cure. The goal of treatment is to achieve a cure for your cancer, allowing you to live a normal life span. This may or may not be possible, depending on your specific situation.

  • Primary treatment. The goal of a primary treatment is to completely remove the cancer from your body or kill the cancer cells.

 

Any cancer treatment can be used as a primary treatment, but the most common primary cancer treatment for the most common cancers is surgery. If your cancer is particularly sensitive to radiation therapy or chemotherapy, you may receive one of those therapies as your primary treatment.

  • Adjuvant treatment. The goal of adjuvant therapy is to kill any cancer cells that may remain after primary treatment in order to reduce the chance that the cancer will recur.

 

Any cancer treatment can be used as an adjuvant therapy. Common adjuvant therapies include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy.

  • Palliative treatment. Palliative treatments may help relieve side effects of treatment or signs and symptoms caused by cancer itself. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy can all be used to relieve signs and symptoms. Medications may relieve symptoms such as pain and shortness of breath.

 

Palliative treatment can be used at the same time as other treatments intended to cure your cancer.

 

Cancer treatments

Doctors have many tools when it comes to treating cancer. Cancer treatment options include:

  • Surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancer or as much of the cancer as possible.

  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.

  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. Radiation treatment can come from a machine outside your body (external beam radiation), or it can be placed inside your body (brachytherapy).

  • Bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow transplant is also known as a stem cell transplant. Your bone marrow is the material inside your bones that makes blood cells. A bone marrow transplant can use your own cells or cells from a donor.

 

A bone marrow transplant allows your doctor to use higher doses of chemotherapy to treat your cancer. It may also be used to replace diseased bone marrow.

  • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy, uses your body's immune system to fight cancer. Cancer can survive unchecked in your body because your immune system doesn't recognize it as an intruder. Immunotherapy can help your immune system "see" the cancer and attack it.

  • Hormone therapy. Some types of cancer are fueled by your body's hormones. Examples include breast cancer and prostate cancer. Removing those hormones from the body or blocking their effects may cause the cancer cells to stop growing.

  • Targeted drug therapy. Targeted drug treatment focuses on specific abnormalities within cancer cells that allow them to survive.

  • Clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies to investigate new ways of treating cancer. Thousands of cancer clinical trials are underway.

 

Other treatments may be available to you, depending on your type of cancer.

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370594

Drugs

Topics under Cancer

Current research & peer reviewed journals

Support Groups

Patient /Family Stories; Suggestions for improvement

Please submit2500 words or less explaining or educating others on your experience. Send Essays to titled EDU. Submission to admin@rosehomecarehha.com thank you.