Health A-Z

What Do You Want to Know about Cancer?


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Cancer is a term used to describe a large group of diseases that can attack any part of your body. You can also use other terms like neoplasms or malignant tumors. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally with almost 10 million deaths in 2020. The most common cancers include breast, lung, colon and rectum, prostate, skin, and stomach. In the UAE, there are approximately 4500 new cancer cases reported annually.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease that causes some of the body’s cells to grow uncontrollably and spread to other areas of the body. It can start anywhere in your body which is made of many cells. Your body has cells that grow and multiply to produce new cells.

When cells get damaged or grow old, they are replaced. Sometimes, this process can break down and which leads to damaged or abnormal cell growth and multiply abnormally. These cells can form tumors that can be benign or malignant.

Cancerous tumors can invade or spread to nearby tissues and travel to other parts of the body to form new tumors. Unlike benign tumors, cancerous tumors can grow back after removal.

Things You Should Know about Cancer


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Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide – that’s why you need credible information on the signs to look out for and how to stay healthy.

Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

It is good to know the signs and symptoms of cancer no matter your age. Although these signs alone are not enough to diagnose the disease, they can help you and your doctor to detect the disease and begin early treatment. These symptoms don’t always mean that you have cancer that is why it is important to seek professional help from the best general practitioners Dubai clinics for expert advice.

Common signs and symptoms of cancer include;

·       Lump or thickness in your breasts, changes in the color or shape of your breasts, unusual pain, a nipple that turns inwards (if it has not always been that way), or unusual nipple discharge

·       Hoarseness, croaky voice, or a cough that won’t go away

·       Coughing up blood

·       Tongue or mouth ulcer that lasts more than 3 weeks

·       A lump or unusual swelling in any part of your body

·       Changes in bowel habit such as pooing more often, loose poo, or constipation

·       Problems peeing

·       Blood in your pee

·       Changes in your mole or new moles

·       Unexplained vaginal bleeding, for instance, between periods, after sex, or menopause

·       Persistent indigestion or heartburn

·       Persistent bloating

·       Unexplained weight loss

·       Loss of appetite

·       Very heavy night sweats

·       Difficulty swallowing

·       Breathlessness.

Causes of Cancer

There is no single cause for cancer. Experts believe that the interaction of various factors produces cancer. These factors may be environmental, genetic, or constitutional characteristics of various individuals.

Risk Factors

Risk factors are things that increase your chances of developing a disease. Although a risk factor does not cause a disease, it makes it more resistant. Some cancers, especially in adults are linked to continuous exposure to risk factors. Risk factors associated with cancer include;

·       Some genetic disorders such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome are known to change the immune system. Your immune system protects you from diseases and infections. Your bone marrow produces cells that later mature and become a functioning part of the immune system. According to some experts, the cells in the bone marrow (stem cells) become defective or damaged and produce abnormal or cancer cells.

·       Lifestyle causes like smoking, working with toxic chemicals, and a high-fat diet. Smoking and drinking alcohol and not doing enough exercise contributes to cancer. However, children with cancer are too young to be exposed to harmful lifestyle habits

·       Exposure to some viruses that cause cancer, for instance, Human papillomaviruses (HPVs). These are a group of more than 150 related viruses. All types of HPV are spread by touch. Although the spread of HPV is common, it does not easily cause cancer. You can be infected with HPV and not develop cancer, However, if you have a high-risk or long-lasting infection of HPV, you are at risk of developing cancer. Other viruses like Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) a type of herpes virus, Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8), Human T-lymphotrophic virus-1 (HTLV-1) linked to lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV).

·       Family history, genetics, and inheritance play a significant role in some childhood cancers. Some cancers can occur more than once in a family. It is not clear whether the disease is caused by exposure to chemicals near your residence, genetic mutation, or a combination of these factors.

·       Environmental exposure to fertilizers, pesticides, and powerlines has been linked to childhood cancers. Also, children who have been exposed to high doses of radiation may develop cancer later in life.

Types of Cancer

There are more than 100 types of cancers but the most common include;

·       Carcinoma – This is the most common cancer that attacks the epithelial cells which form the lining of your skin or internal organs. Common manifestations of this condition include ovarian, lung, pancreatic, and skin cancer.

·       Sarcoma – These cancers develop in the soft tissues and bones such as cartilages, fat tissues, lymph, blood vessels, and other supporting tissues of ligaments and tendons.

·       Leukemia – This is commonly known as blood cancer and it affects bone marrow tissues that produce blood.

·       Lymphoma – This type of cancer attacks the lymphocytes in the lymph nodes which make up the immune system.

·       Melanoma – This type of skin cancer affects melanin the pigment that gives your skin color. It results in the formation of abnormal melanin.

·       Myeloma – Affects plasma cells which are part of the immune system. The affected cells divide in the bone marrow to cause multiple tumors.

 

Cancer is one of the leading killers in the world. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of cancer and the risk factors to better protect yourself. Consult the best general practitioners Dubai clinics whenever you have questions, doubts, or concerns about cancer.

 

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