What is Cancer ? Learn Cancer Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnose, Prevention & Treatments
What is Cancer ? Learn Cancer Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnose, Prevention & Treatments

What is cancer?

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. These abnormal cells have been termed cancer cells, malignant cells, or tumor cells. These cells may infiltrate normal body tissues. Many cancers and the abnormal cells that compose the cancer tissue are further characterized by the title of the tissue which the abnormal cells originated from (by way of example, breast cancer, lung cancer, esophageal cancer). Cancer is not confined to humans; animals and other living organisms can get cancer. Below is a schematic that shows ordinary cell division and the way when a cell is damaged or altered without repair to its system, the cell generally dies. Also revealed is what occurs when such damaged or unrepaired cells do not die and become cancer cells and reveal uncontrolled division and growth — a mass of cancer cells grow. Frequently, cancer cells can break away from this initial bulk of cells, traveling via the lymph and blood tissues, and lodge in other organs where they can repeat the uncontrolled growth cycle. This process of cancer cells leaving a place and growing in a different body region is termed metastatic spread or metastasis. For example, if breast cancer cells spread to a bone, it usually means that the individual has metastatic breast cancer to bone. This is not the same as “bone cancer,” which might indicate the cancer had begun in the bone.

Summary

Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the growth of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the capability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissues. Cancer often has the capability to spread throughout your body.

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the world. But survival rates have been improving for various types of cancer, because of developments in cancer screening and cancer therapy.

What are the different types of cancer?

There are more than 200 types of cancer; far too many to include in this introductory article. However, the NCI lists a few general classes. This list is enlarged below to list more particular types of cancers found in each general class; it Isn’t all inclusive and the cancers recorded in quotations will be the general names of some cancers:

  • 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 begins in blood-forming tissue like the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream vessels –“leukemia,” lymphoblastic leukemias (ALL and CLL), myelogenous leukemias (AML and CML), T-cell leukemia, and hairy-cell leukemia
  • Lymphoma and myeloma: Cancers that start 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 start 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

Not included in the aforementioned types listed are metastatic cancers; this is only because metastatic cancer cells usually originate from a cell type listed above and the major difference from the above types is that these cells are currently within a tissue where the cancer cells did not initially develop. Consequently, if the conditions “metastatic cancer” is employed, for precision, the tissue from which the cancer cells appeared should be included. For example, a patient might say they have or are diagnosed with “metastatic cancer” but the more accurate statement is “metastatic (breast, lung, colon, or other type) cancer with spread into the organ by which it’s been found.” Another illustration is the following: A doctor describing a man whose prostate cancer has spread to his bones should say the guy has metastatic prostate cancer to bone. This is not “bone cancer,” which will be cancer that began in the bone cells. Metastatic prostate cancer to bone has been treated otherwise compared to lung cancer to bone.

Cancer facts

  • Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body.
  • There are more than 200 types of cancer.
  • Anything which may lead to a normal body to create abnormally potentially can lead to cancer; general sorts of cancer-related or causative agents are as follows: toxic or chemical compound exposures, ionizing radiation, some pathogens, and human genetics.
  • Cancer symptoms and indications depend on the specific type and grade of cancer; although general symptoms and signs are not very certain the following may be found in patients with various cancers: fatigue, weight loss, pain, skin changes, change in bowel or bladder function, unusual bleeding, persistent cough or voice change, fever, lumps, or tissue masses.
  • Although there are lots of tests to screen and presumptively diagnose cancer, the definite diagnosis is made by examination of a biopsy sample of suspected cancer tissue.
  • Cancer staging is frequently determined by biopsy results and helps determine the cancer type and the amount of cancer spread; staging also helps doctors determine treatment protocols. In general, in most staging methods, the greater the number assigned (usually between 0 to 4), the more aggressive the cancer type or more widespread is the cancer in the body. Staging methods differ from cancer to cancer and need to be separately discussed with your health care provider.
  • Treatment protocols vary according to the type and stage of the cancer. Most treatment protocols are designed to fit the individual patient’s disease. But most treatments include at least one of the following and may incorporate all: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
  • You will find many recorded home remedies and alternative treatments for cancers but patients are strongly suggested to explore those before use with their cancer doctors.
  • The prognosis of cancer can vary from excellent to poor. The prognosis is dependent upon the cancer type and its staging using those cancers considered to be aggressive and people staged with greater numbers (3 to 4) frequently have a prognosis that develops toward poor.

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Symptoms

Signs and symptoms caused by cancer will vary depending on what portion of their body is influenced.
Some general signs and symptoms related to, but not specific to cancer, comprise:

  • Fatigue
  • Lump or part of thickening which may be felt beneath the skin
  • Weight changes, for example unintended loss or benefit
  • Skin changes, such as yellowing, discoloration or darkening of skin, sores that will not cure, or changes to existing moles
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Persistent cough or trouble breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
  • Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
  • Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

Causes

Cancer is caused by changes (mutations) into the DNA within cells. The DNA inside a cell is packed to a high number of different genes, each of which contains a set of instructions telling the cell what works to do, in addition to how to grow and divide. Errors in the instructions can cause the cell to prevent its usual function and may allow a cell to become cancerous.

What exactly do gene mutations do?

A gene mutation can teach a healthy cell to:

  • Allow rapid growth. A gene mutation can let a cell to grow and divide more rapidly. This creates several new cells which all have that same mutation.
  • Fail to prevent uncontrolled cell growth. Regular cells know when to stop growing so you’ve just the ideal number of each type of cell. Cancer cells shed the controls (tumor suppressor genes) that inform them when to stop growing. A mutation in a tumor suppressor gene enables cancer cells to continue growing and accumulating.
  • Make errors when repairing DNA mistakes. DNA repair genes start looking for mistakes in a cell’s DNA and make corrections. A mutation in a DNA repair gene may mean that additional mistakes aren’t corrected, leading cells to become cancerous.

These mutations are the most common ones found in cancer. However, many other gene mutations can contribute to causing cancer.

What causes gene mutations?

Gene mutations can occur for Many reasons, for instance:

  • Gene mutations you’re born with. You may be born with a genetic mutation which you inherited from the parents. This sort of mutation accounts for a small fraction of cancers.
  • Gene mutations which occur after birth. Most gene mutations occur after you’re born and aren’t inherited. Lots of forces may cause gene mutations, such as smoking, radiation, viruses, cancer-causing compounds (carcinogens), hormones, obesity, chronic inflammation and too little exercise.

Gene mutations occur often during normal cell growth. But, cells have a mechanism which recognizes when a mistake occurs and fixes the error. On occasion, a mistake has been missed. This could cause a cell to become cancerous.

How do gene mutations interact with each other?

The gene mutations you are born with and those which you acquire during your life work together to trigger cancer.

As an example, if you’ve inherited a genetic mutation that predisposes one to cancer, that doesn’t mean that you’re certain to find cancer. Instead, you may need one or other gene mutations to cause cancer. Your inherited gene mutation can make you more prone than other people to develop cancer when exposed to a particular cancer-causing substance.

It’s not clear just how many mutations must collect for cancer to form. It’s very likely that this varies among cancer types.

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How can physicians determine cancer staging?

There are quite a few different staging methods employed for cancers and also the specific staging criteria varies among cancer types. According to the NCI, the typical elements considered in most staging systems are as follows:

  • Site of the primary tumor
  • Tumor size and quantity of tumors
  • Lymph node involvement (spread of cancer to lymph nodes)
  • Cell type and tumor tier (how closely the cancer cells resemble normal tissue cells)
  • The existence or absence of metastasis

But, there are two main techniques that form the foundation for the more specific or cancer type staging. The TMN staging is utilized for most solid tumors while the Roman numeral or stage grouping method is used by some clinicians and researchers on almost all cancer types.

The TNM system is based on the extent of the tumor (T), the level of spread into the lymph nodes (N), and the presence of distant metastasis (M). A number is added to every letter to indicate the size or extent of the primary tumor and the extent of cancer spread (higher number means bigger tumor or much more spread).

The following is how the NCI clarifies the TNM staging system:

  1. Primary tumor (T)
    TX – Primary tumor Cannot be evaluated
    T0 – No evidence of primary tumor
    Tis – Carcinoma in situ (CIS; abnormal cells are present but have not spread into neighboring tissue; although maybe not cancer, CIS may become cancer and is sometimes called pre-invasive cancer)
    T1, T2, T3, T4 – Size or extent of the primary tumor
  2. Regional lymph nodes (N)
    NX – Regional lymph nodes cannot be evaluated
    N0 – No regional lymph node involvement
    N1, N2, N3 – Involvement of regional lymph nodes (number of lymph nodes or extent of spread)
  3. Distant metastasis (M)
    MX – Distant metastasis Cannot be assessed (some clinicians do not ever use this designation)
    M0 – No distant metastasis
    M1 – Distant metastasis is present

Consequently, a person’s cancer could be recorded as T1N2M0, meaning it is a small tumor (T1), however, has spread into some regional lymph nodes (N2), and has no distant metastasis (M0).

The Roman numeral or stage grouping method is described by the NCI as follows:

Stage Definition
Stage 0 Carcinoma in situ.
Stage I Higher numbers indicate more extensive disease: Larger tumor size and/or spread of the cancer beyond the organ in which it first developed to nearby lymph nodes and/or organs adjacent to the location of the primary tumor
Stage II
Stage III
Stage IV The cancer has spread to another organ(s).

 

As stated previously, variations of these staging methods exist. For example, some cancer registries utilize surveillance, epidemiology, and end results program (SEER) termed summary staging. SEER groups cancer cases to five main categories:

  • In situ: Abnormal cells exist only in the layer of cells in which they developed.
  • Localized: Cancer is limited to the organ in which it started, without evidence of spread.
  • Regional: Cancer has spread beyond the primary site to nearby lymph nodes or organs and tissues.
  • Distant: Cancer has spread from the primary site to distant organs or distant lymph nodes.
  • Unknown: There is not sufficient information to determine the stage.

Staging of cancer is equally important; it helps the physician to decide on the most effective therapeutic protocols, provides a foundation for estimating the prognosis (outcome) for your individual, and offers a method to communicate the patient’s condition to other health professionals which become involved with the patients’ care.

Risk factors

While physicians have an notion about what may raise your risk of cancer, the majority of cancers occur in people who don’t have any known risk factors. Factors known to increase your risk of cancer include:

Your age

Cancer can take decades to grow. That’s why most people diagnosed with cancer are 65 or older. While it’s more common in older adults, cancer isn’t exclusively an adult disease — cancer could be diagnosed at any age.

Your Habits

Certain lifestyle choices are proven to increase your risk of cancer. Smoking, drinking more than one alcoholic beverage a day (for girls of all ages and men older than age 65) or two drinks each day (for men age 65 and younger), excessive exposure to sunlight or frequent blistering sunburns, being overweight, and having unsafe sex may donate to cancer.

It’s possible to alter these habits to lower your risk of cancer — though some customs are easier to change than others.

Family History

Only a small segment of cancers are due to an inherited condition. If cancer is common in your loved ones, it is possible that mutations are being passed from one generation to another. You might be a candidate for genetic testing to see whether you have inherited mutations that might raise your risk of certain cancers. Keep in mind that using an inherited genetic mutation does not necessarily mean you will receive cancer.

Your health Conditions

Some chronic health conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, can significantly increase your risk of developing certain cancers. Talk with your physician about your risk.

Your environment

The environment around you may include harmful chemicals that could increase your risk of cancer. Even in the event that you don’t smoke, you may inhale secondhand smoke should you go where people are smoking or if you live with someone who smokes. Compounds in your home or office, such as asbestos and benzene, also are associated with a heightened risk of cancer.

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Complications

Cancer and its treatment can cause several complications, including:

  • Pain. Pain may be caused by cancer or by cancer treatment, although not all of cancer is painful. Medications and other approaches can effectively treat cancer-related pain.
  • Fatigue. Fatigue in people with cancer has many causes, but it can often be managed. Fatigue related to chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments is common, but it’s usually temporary.
  • Difficulty breathing. Cancer or cancer treatment may cause a feeling of being short of breath. Treatments may bring relief.
  • Nausea. Certain cancers and cancer treatments can cause nausea. Your doctor can occasionally predict if your treatment is likely to cause nausea. Drugs and other treatments may help you stop or decrease nausea.
  • Diarrhea or constipation. Cancer and cancer treatment can affect your bowels and cause diarrhea or constipation.
  • Weight loss. Cancer and cancer treatment may cause weight loss. Cancer steals food from normal cells and deprives them of nutrients. This is often not influenced by the number of calories or what kind of food is consumed; it’s hard to take care of. In most cases, using artificial nutrition through tubes to the stomach or vein doesn’t help alter the weight loss.
  • Chemical changes in the body. Cancer can upset the normal chemical balance in your body and increase your risk of severe complications. Signs and symptoms of substance imbalances might include excessive thirst, frequent urination, constipation and confusion.
  • Brain and nervous system issues. Cancer may press on nearby nerves and cause pain and loss of function of one part of your body. Cancer that involves the brain may cause headaches and stroke-like symptoms and signs, such as weakness on one side of the body.
  • Unusual immune system responses to cancer. In some cases the body’s immune system may react to the presence of cancer by attacking healthy cells. Called paraneoplastic syndrome, these very rare reactions can lead to a variety of symptoms and signs, such as difficulty walking as well as migraines.
  • Cancer that spreads. As cancer progresses, it may spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body. Where cancer spreads is based on the kind of cancer.
  • Cancer that returns. Cancer survivors have a risk of cancer recurrence. Some cancers are more likely to recur than others. Consult your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence. Your doctor may invent a follow-up care program for you following treatment. This plan may include periodic scans and examinations in the months and years following your treatment, to look for cancer recurrence.

Prevention

There is no certain way to stop cancer. But doctors have identified many Methods of reducing your cancer risk, such as:

  • Stop smoking. If you smoke, stop. If you do not smoke, don’t start. Smoking is linked to several types of cancer not only lung cancer. Stopping now will lower your risk of cancer in the future.
  • Avoid excess sunlight exposure. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can raise your risk of skin cancer. Limit your sun exposure by staying in the shade, wearing protective garments or applying sunscreen.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose a diet full of fruits and vegetables. Select whole grains and lean proteins.
  • Exercise most days of this week. Regular exercise is linked to a lower risk of cancer. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise most days of this week. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, begin slowly and work your way up to 30 minutes or longer.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese may increase your risk of cancer. Work to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if you prefer to drink. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to a drink a day if you are a woman of any age or a man older than age 65, or two drinks a day if you are a man 65 years old or younger.
  • Schedule cancer screening exams. Speak with your doctor about what kinds of cancer screening examinations are best for you according to your risk factors.
  • Ask your doctor about immunizations. Certain viruses increase your risk of cancer. Immunizations may help prevent these viruses, such as hepatitis B, which raises the risk of liver cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which raises the risk of cervical cancer and other cancers. Ask your doctor whether immunization against these viruses is suitable for you.

Who treat cancer?

A physician that specializes in the treatment of cancer is called an oncologist. They may be a surgeon, an expert in radiation therapy, or a medical oncologist. The initial uses surgery to treat the cancer; the next, radiation therapy; the third, chemotherapy and related treatments. Each may consult the others to come up with a treatment strategy for your particular patient.

Additionally, other specialists may be involved depending upon where the cancer is located. As an example, ob-gyn specialists may be involved with uterine cancer whereas an immunologist maybe involved in treatment of cancers which occur in the immune system. Your primary care doctor and chief oncologist will help you to ascertain what specialists are best to be members of your treatment group.

How health care professionals diagnose cancer?

Some cancers are diagnosed during routine screening assessments. These are normally tests which are routinely done at a specific age. Many cancers are found when you pose to your health care practitioner with particular symptoms.

A physical exam and medical history, particularly the history of symptoms, would be the very first steps in diagnosing cancer. In several cases, the medical physician will dictate a range of tests, the majority of which will probably be determined by the sort of cancer and where it is supposed to be located in or on the person’s body. In addition, most caregivers will order a complete blood count, electrolyte levels also, in some situations, other blood studies which may provide extra info.

Imaging studies are commonly utilized to help doctors detect abnormalities in the body which may be cancer. X-rays, CT and MRI scans, and ultrasound are common tools used to inspect the body. Other tests like endoscopy, which with variants in the gear utilized, may enable visualization of tissues in the intestinal tract, throat, and bronchi that may be cancerous. In areas that cannot be well visualized (inside bones or some lymph nodes, by way of example), radionuclide scanning can be used. The test involves ingestion or IV injection of a weakly radioactive substance that can be concentrated and detected in abnormal tissue.

The preceding tests can be quite good at localizing abnormalities in the body; several clinicians believe that some of the tests provide presumptive evidence for the diagnosis of cancer. However, in virtually all patients, the definitive diagnosis of cancer is based on the examination of a tissue sample taken in a process called a biopsy from the tissue that may be cancerous, and then analyzed by a pathologist. Some biopsy samples are comparatively simple to secure (for example, skin biopsy or intestinal tissue biopsy done using a device known as an endoscope equipped with a biopsy attachment). Other biopsies may need as small as a closely guided needle, as much as a surgery (for example, brain tissue or lymph node biopsy). In some instances, the operation to diagnose the cancer may lead to a cure if all the cancerous tissue has been removed at the right time of biopsy.

The biopsy may provide more than the definitive diagnosis of cancer; it can determine the cancer type (for example, the kind of tissue found may indicate that the sample is by a primary [established there] or metastatic kind of brain cancer [disperse from another primary tumor arising elsewhere in the body]) and thereby help to stage the cancer. The point, or cancer staging, is a way for clinicians and researchers to estimate how extensive the cancer is in the patient’s body.

Is your cancer that’s been found localized into the site of origin, or can it be spread from this website to other tissues? A localized cancer is said to be in an early stage, while a person which has spread is at and advanced phase. The following section explains the general staging methods for cancers.

Which are cancer treatment options?

The cancer treatment is based on the sort of cancer and the stage of the cancer. In some individuals, identification and treatment may occur at the same time if the cancer is completely surgically removed while the surgeon removes the tissue .

Though patients may get a unique sequenced treatment, or routine, because of their cancer, most treatments have at least one of these elements: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or combination treatments (a combination of two or three treatments).
People obtain versions of those treatments for cancer. Patients with cancers that can’t be cured (completely eliminated ) by operation generally will get combination treatment, the composition determined by the cancer type and stage.

Palliative treatment (medical care or treatment utilized to decrease disease symptoms but unable to heal the individual ) utilizes the very same treatments described previously. It’s done with the intent to expand and enhance the quality of life of their terminally ill cancer patient. There are many other palliative treatments to reduce symptoms such as pain medicines and antinausea medications.

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Are there home remedies or alternative treatments for cancer?

There are many claims on the Internet and in publications about materials that treat cancer (by way of example, broccoli, grapes, ginseng, soybeans, green tea, aloe vera, and lycopene and treatments like acupuncture, vitamins, and dietary supplements). Nearly every physician suggests that a balanced diet and good nutrition will help a person fight cancer. Even though some of these treatments may help reduce symptoms, there’s no good evidence they can cure any cancers. Patients are strongly recommended to discuss any home remedies or alternative treatments with their cancer physicians before beginning any of them.

What is the prognosis for cancer?

The prognosis (outcome) for cancer patients may vary from excellent to poor. The prognosis is directly related to both the type and stage of the cancer. For instance, many skin cancers can be completely cured by removing the skin cancer tissue; similarly, even a patient having a large tumor may be cured after surgery and other treatments like chemotherapy (note that a cure can be characterized by many clinicians as a period with no reoccurrence of the cancer). However, since the cancer type either is or becomes aggressive, with spread to lymph nodes or is metastatic to other organs, the prognosis declines. By way of instance, cancers that have higher numbers in their staging (as an example, stage III or T3N2M1; see staging section above) have a worse prognosis than those with reduced (or 0) amounts ) As the staging numbers grow, the prognosis worsens and the survival rate decreases.

This report offers a general introduction to cancers, thus the facts — such as life expectancy for each cancer — can’t be covered. However, cancers in general have a decreasing life expectancy because the stage of the cancer grows. Depending on the form of the cancer, since the prognosis decreases, so does life expectancy. On the flip side, cancers that are treated and do not recur (no remissions) within a five-year period generally imply that the patient is going to have a normal life expectancy. Some patients will be cured, and a couple of others may acquire recurrent cancer. Regrettably, there are no guarantees.

There are many complications which may occur with cancer; many are unique to the cancer type and stage and are too numerous to record here. However, some general complications which may occur with both cancer and its treatment protocols are listed below:

  • Fatigue (both due to cancer and its treatments)
  • Anemia (both)
  • Loss of appetite (both)
  • Insomnia (both)
  • Hair loss (treatments mainly)
  • Nausea (both)
  • Lymphedema (both)
  • Pain (both)
  • Immune system depression (both)

Is it possible to prevent cancer?

Most experts are convinced that many cancers may either be prevented or the probability of developing cancers could be markedly reduced. Some of the cancer prevention methods are easy; others are rather extreme, based on someone’s view.

Cancer prevention, by preventing its potential causes, is the simplest method. First on many clinicians and research workers list would be to stop (or even better, never start) smoking tobacco. Avoiding excess sunlight (by diminishing exposure or applying sunscreen) and many of the substances and toxins are great ways to avoid cancers. Avoiding contact with certain viruses and other pathogens are also very likely to prevent some cancers. Individuals who need to work near cancer-causing agents (chemical workers, X-ray technicians, ionizing radiation investigators, asbestos employees ) must follow all safety precautions and minimize any exposure to these compounds. Although the FDA and the CDC indicates that there is no scientific evidence that definitively says cell phones cause cancer, other agencies call for more study or indicate the threat is very low. Individuals that are concerned can restrict exposure to cell phones by using an earpiece and simply make as few cell phone calls as you can.

There are two vaccines currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent specific types of cancer. Vaccines from the hepatitis B virus, which is considered a cause of some liver cancers, and vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18 are available. According to the NCI, these viruses are responsible for about 70% of cervical cancers. These virus also plays a role in cancers arising from the neck and head, as well as cancers in the rectal region, and probably others. Now, vaccination against HPV is advocated in teens and young adults of both sexes. The HPV virus is so common that by the age of 50, half or even more individuals have evidence of being exposed to it. Sipuleucel-T is a brand new vaccine approved by the FDA to assist treat advanced prostate cancer. Although vaccine does not cure prostate cancer, it has been shown to help extend the lifespan of individuals with advanced prostate cancer.

Individuals with a genetic predisposition to develop certain cancers and others with a history of cancers within their genetically linked relatives now cannot alter their genetic makeup. However, some people who have a higher chance of developing genetically related cancer have taken action to prevent cancer development. For example, some young women who have experienced many family members develop breast cancer have elected to have their breast tissue removed even when they don’t have any symptoms or signs of cancer development to reduce or remove the chance they will develop breast cancer. Some physicians consider this as an extreme step to prevent cancer while others don’t.

Screening tests and research for cancer are meant to help detect a cancer at an early stage when the cancer is more likely to be possibly cured with treatment. Such screening studies are breast exams, testicular exams, colon-rectal tests (colonoscopy), mammography, specific blood tests, prostate exams, urine tests and many others. Individuals who have some suspicion that they may have cancer should discuss their concerns with their physician as soon as possible. Screening recommendations are the subject of numerous conflicting reports in recent years. Screening may not be cost effective for many groups of patients or contribute to unnecessary further invasive tests, however individual patients’ unique conditions should always be contemplated by physicians in making recommendations about ordering or not ordering screening tests.

Where can people find more information about cancer?

There are many ways someone can find more information about cancer, but if they have any immediate concerns about having cancer, their primary source of information ought to be their doctor. Along with the references listed at the conclusion of this Guide, the following is a list of information resources Which Are well recognized as government for cancer data by most clinicians:

American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/index)
National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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