Cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that form tissues. Tissues make up the organs of the body. Normally, cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes, this orderly process goes wrong. New cells form when the body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass of tissue called a growth or tumour.
Tumours can be benign or malignant:
Doctors often cannot explain why one person develops cancer and another does not. But research shows that certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will develop cancer. These are the most common risk factors for cancer:
If you have a symptom or your screening test result suggests cancer, the doctor must find out whether it is due to cancer or to some other cause.
For a biopsy, the doctor removes a sample of tissue and sends it to a lab. A pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope. The sample may be removed in several ways:
The doctor uses a needle to withdraw tissue or fluid.
The doctor uses a thin, lighted tube (an endoscope) to look at areas inside the body. The doctor can remove tissue or cells through the tube.
Surgery may be excisional or incisional. In an excisional biopsy, the surgeon removes the entire tumour. Often some of the normal tissue around the tumour is also removed. In an incisional biopsy, the surgeon removes just part of the tumour
To plan the best treatment for cancer, the doctor needs to know the extent (stage) of your disease. For most cancers (such as breast, lung, prostate, or colon cancer), the stage is based on the size of the tumour and whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat cancer include surgeons, medical oncologists, haematologists, and radiation oncologists. Most treatment plans include surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Some involve hormone therapy or biological therapy. In addition, stem cell transplantation may be used so that a patient can receive high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Some cancers respond best to a single type of treatment. Others may respond best to a combination of treatments. Some people with cancer use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) such as Acupuncture, massage therapy, herbal products, vitamins or special diets, juice therapy, ionised water, visualization, meditation, and spiritual healing. Many people say that complementary and alternative medicine helps them feel better. However, some types of CAM may change the way standard treatment works. These changes could be harmful. Other types of CAM could be harmful even if used alone.
treatment you might want to get a second opinion on diagnosis and treatment plan. This will give you a greater sense of control and confidence as you will have more information on the available options. Nutrition and physical activity
important to eat well and stay active. Walking, yoga, swimming and other activities can keep you strong and increase your energy.
You will need regular checkups after treatment for cancer. If you have any health problems between checkups, you should contact your doctor.