Cancer

Ten Basic Cancer Facts

  1. Cancer is a class of diseases, where abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and can form a mass of tissue known as a tumor.  There are two types of tumors, benign and malignant. A malignant tumor is cancerous, while a benign tumor is not considered cancerous.  Cancer cells can multiply to various parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymphatic system.
  1. There are over 100 types of Cancer.  Most cancers are classified by the organ or type of cell that is initially affected.  The different types of cancer can be grouped into broader categories.  The main categories of cancer include Carcinoma, Sarcoma, Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma, and cancers that affect the Central Nervous System.
  1. The majority of cancers are caused from changes in the cell’s DNA due to damage from the environment.  Carcinogens are the environmental factors that are responsible for the initial mutation of the DNA.  However, cancer can also be a result of a genetic predisposition, where an individual could be born with a certain genetic mutation.
  1. Common risk factors that can cause cancer include tobacco, alcohol, diet and obesity, infections, radiation, stress, lack of exercise, occupation, family history, and environmental pollutants.  The reduction of exposure to carcinogenic agents is necessary in the prevention of cancer.
  1. Approximately one fifth of all cancers worldwide are caused by a chronic infection.  Viruses, bacteria, and parasites are all infectious agents that cause cancer.  These agents suppress and weaken the immune system, which prevents the body’s ability to fight infection and increases the risk of developing cancer.
  1. Cancer is anaerobic, and cannot survive in an oxygenated environment. Carcinogens contribute to the starvation of oxygen in the cell because they impair cellular respiration.  Ozone therapy is a type of treatment for cancer, which ensures that the body receives the oxygen it needs, while eliminating toxins, bacteria, and impeding the growth of cancer cells or even help to return them to normal.
  1. Hyperthermia is another type of treatment that supplies oxygen to the cancer site.  As the body temperature rises, circulation and the supply of oxygen increase too.  Hyperthermia is a highly successful treatment in the management of malignant tumors.  While heat is applied to the tumor and the tissue around it, the temperature rises, causing the tumor cells to die.
  1. When cancer begins it often does not produce any symptoms or signs.  Therefore, it is crucial to get tested regularly.  As the cancer grows, symptoms may occur due to the mass of the tumor or its ulceration. General symptoms include weight loss, fever, fatigue, and changes to the skin. However, depending on the location, symptoms can consist of enlarged lymph nodes, liver, or spleen, which can be felt in the abdomen, pain or fracture of affected bones, and neurological symptoms.
  1. The chance of surviving cancer greatly improves when it is detected early.  Some of the most common diagnostic tests include biopsy, endoscopy, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging.  Imaging methods such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans, and ultrasound scans are commonly used to detect the organs affected, and the location of the tumor.
  1. Staging is a way of indicating the size of a cancerous growthhow far it has spreadtreatment needed, and prognosis.  The TNM system is the most common staging method.  T (1-4) describes the size of the primary tumor, N (0-3) describes the extent to which the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and M (0-1) describes if the cancer has metastasized to other organs in the body.  The number system is a simpler categorization of stages.  The scale is usually from 1 to 4, where the lower numbers indicates that the cancer has not spread as far.