Cancer is abnormal and uncontrolled multiplication of cells. Normally the multiplication of cells is very systematically controlled by genetically controlled mechanisms based on bodies’ requirement. However, when one or few cells come out of this control mechanism and start multiplying that is called cancer. As the cells multiply without control, they spread to various parts of the body.
There are more than 200 types of cancers. Cancer can affect any organ in the body. However, some organs are affected more commonly than others. The most common organs affected include breast, colon & stomach. This also depends on the race and habits. Cervical cancer and mouth cancers are more common among Indians. Prostate cancer is more common among people of African origin.
Cancer DOES NOT spread from person to person. There is no need to fear about the disease spreading to others in the house.
There come are cancer that may be caused by infection. Cervical cancer (HPV) and liver cancer (hepatitis virus) are the most common among them. These are caused by viruses that usually spread by sexual route or blood route.
Many cancers can be prevented by healthy lifestyle and vaccines (see page on cancer prevention), which is called primary prevention. Many other cancers can be detected early, so that a cure can be achieved, which is called secondary prevention. By secondary prevention we can cure most of the patients.
- Cancer is painless to begin with. So, show any Lumps & Bumps that appear in your body or suddenly grow.
- Sudden Anemia (lack of blood) or weight loss or Loss of appetite is alarming.
- Wounds that fail to heal over long time (2-3 months or more)
- Skin mole that is growing, bleeding or itchy
- Blood in stool, vomitus or phlegm
- Change in bowel habit.
- Persistent indigestion
- Hoarseness of voice or cough that lasts for more than 15 days
- Patch or ulcer in mouth that lasts for more than 15 days.
- Abnormal bleed from vagina
Approach your doctor with if you notice any of the above as these need to be investigated. Sometimes these could be cancer.