Cancer is an abnormal growth of a body cell or group of cells. If it is not destroyed or removed, cancer can spread very rapidly, and eventually lead to death.
What is the difference between normal and cancerous growth?
There are billions of cells in the human body. Normally, they grow in a well-regulated pattern. When cancer sets in, a group of cells suddenly starts multiplying haphazardly to form a lump or "tumor".
Is cancer contagious or infectious?
No. Since cancer is not caused by a germ, it is not infectious, and cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
How does cancer spread?
In 3 ways:
- Cancer cells grow through the walls of blood vessels and are carried by the blood stream to other parts of the body
- They enter the lymphatic stream and are carried to lymph glands
- They grow directly from one tissue to another
There are seven common ones. They are often called the Seven Danger Signals of Cancer:
- Change in bowel or bladder habits
- Sores that do not heal
- Unusual bleeding or discharge
- Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere
- Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
- Obvious change in wart or mole
- Nagging cough or hoarseness
What causes cancer?
Though it is very difficult to pinpoint the definite cause, certain substances, known as carcinogens, can definitely increase your chances of getting cancer. For instance, people who smoke or chew tobacco are more prone to mouth, throat and lung cancer. Contrary to popular opinion, smoking beedi is twice as dangerous as cigarettes.
Continued irritation of tissues can lead to cancer. Pollution, preserved food, smoked and junk food also contribute to developing cancer. Even certain viruses can cause cancer (EBV, Hepatitis B, and HPV). Amongst other known causes is asbestos, arsenic, pitch, tar, ultra violet rays etc.
How can cancer deaths be reduced?
Cancer Deaths can be reduced by following means:
- Cancer is preventable by avoiding tobacco (chewing or smoking), vegetarian diet with high roughage and low fat, no alcohol and use of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables
- Early detection by screening before symptoms appears
- Treating symptomatic patients early with multimodal treatment
- Provide good care under one roof with all ultramodern gadgetry. Even if it is advanced disease, try to improve quality of life