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7 of Your Most Common Questions About Cancer, Answered

  • Here in this blog post, we’ll look at questions you may have about cancer you may be itching to learn about.   
  • Consider putting away that pack of cigarettes… lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the primary cause of cancer-related deaths.   
  • Discover things that cause cancer that you would never have guessed  

What Is Cancer?    

To put it simply, cancer is a disease or a large group of diseases that occur when abnormal cells in your body multiply uncontrollably. The cancer cells have the potential to spread to other parts of the body via your blood and lymph nodes.    

What Are the Different Types of Cancer?   

 

If we had to go through all the different types of cancer, it would take ages since there are more than 100 types of cancers. Instead, we’ll focus on the main types, listed in alphabetical order. They are as follows, according to Healthline:   

  • Appendix cancer   
  • Bladder cancer   
  • Bone cancer   
  • Brain cancer   
  • Breast cancer   
  • Cervical cancer   
  • Colon or colorectal cancer   
  • Duodenal cancer   
  • Ear cancer   
  • Endometrial cancer   
  • Esophageal cancer   
  • Heart cancer   
  • Gallbladder cancer   
  • Kidney or renal cancer   
  • Laryngeal cancer   
  • Leukemia   
  • Lip cancer   
  • Liver cancer   
  • Lung cancer   
  • Lymphoma   
  • Mesothelioma   
  • Myeloma   
  • Oral cancers   
  • Ovarian cancer   
  • Pancreatic cancer   
  • Penile cancer   
  • Prostate cancer   
  • Rectal cancer   
  • Skin cancer   
  • Small intestine cancer   
  • Spleen cancer   
  • Stomach or gastric cancer   
  • Testicular cancer   
  • Thyroid cancer   
  • Uterine cancer   
  • Vaginal cancer   
  • Vulvar cancer   

What Causes Cancer?    

  • Smoking and tobacco use 
  • Alcohol 
  • Lack of physical activity 
  • Being overweight or obese   
  • Poor diet 
  • Sun exposure 
  • Radiation exposure 
  • Virus infections and other infections 
  • Exposure to cancer-causing substances 
  • Family history and genetics 
  • Chronic inflammation 
  • Hormones 
  • Immunosuppression 
  • Old Age 

What Are Some Odd or Unknown Things That Cause Cancer?    

We bet you probably haven’t guessed most of these factors and their connection to increased cancer risk. Read on to find out.    

Baby Powder: Though evidence of getting cancer from baby powder has mixed results, it’s suggested that prolonged use of the key ingredient, talcum powder, may increase the risk of getting ovarian cancer.    

Hair Dyes: Both personal users of hair dye and hairdressers have an increased risk of getting cancer due to chemicals like formaldehyde and ammonia, but studies show conflicting evidence.    

Sitting Down for Too Long – Ergotron research manager Carrie Schmitz tells Bustle in an email, “For women, in particular, there is a 65 percent greater risk of multiple myeloma in women who sit six-plus hours a day.”1 She suggests taking a break for a couple of minutes from standing each hour.    

Makeup & Skincare – Don’t throw out all your beloved makeup just yet. Yes, makeup does sometimes contain chemicals that increase cancer risk, like formaldehyde, triclosan, lead, and mercury, to name a few.    

But switching over to safer and non-toxic alternatives or just plain reducing the amount of makeup you use is enough. There’s a great resource called EWG’s Skin Deep which tells you the toxicity level of the products you use, so be sure to check that out.    

Being Tall: Yes, weirdly enough, this is true. Tall people are more likely to get cancer than shorter people. According to a 2018 study2, every additional 10 centimetres (4 inches) of height increases a person’s cancer risk by 10%. The researchers mentioned the link between height and cancer was discovered in the 1950s. While it is unclear exactly how being taller affects a person’s cancer risk, it could simply be that taller people have more cells in their bodies, thus more cells that can become cancerous.   

Warning Signs of Cancer 

  

There are many cancer symptoms; some of them may be almost invisible, but others will be glaringly obvious. Let’s take a look below:   

  • Excessive tiredness or fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest.   
  • Weight loss or gain of approximately at least 10 pounds for no apparent reason   
  • Eating issues such as a lack of appetite, difficulty swallowing, stomach pain, or nausea and vomiting   
  • Swelling or lumps in any part of the body   
  • Breast thickening or lump in another part of the body   
  • Pain that doesn’t go away or worsens, especially if it is new and  has no known cause   
  • A lump that bleeds or becomes scaly, a new mole, a change in a mole, a sore that does not heal, or a yellowish colour to the skin or eyes are all examples of skin changes. 

Diagnosing Cancer 

  

To detect cancer, your doctor may use any one of the following methods:   

Examine your body: Your doctor may feel for lumps on your body that could be cancerous. During a medical examination, your doctor may look for abnormalities that may indicate the presence of cancer, like changes in skin colour or organ enlargement.   

Tests in the laboratory – Urine and blood tests, for example, may assist your doctor in identifying abnormalities that could be caused by cancer. A standard blood test is known as a complete blood count. For example, it may reveal an unusual number or type of white blood cells in people with leukemia.   

Imaging tests: Imaging tests enable your doctor to examine your bones and internal organs in a non–invasive way. Imaging tests used to diagnose cancer may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, ultrasound, X-ray, etc.   

Biopsy: During a biopsy, your doctor collects cells for laboratory analysis. A sample can be collected in many ways. The best biopsy method for you depends on your cancer and its location. A biopsy is typically the only way to diagnose cancer. Doctors examine cell samples under a microscope in the lab. Normal cells are uniform in size and organization. Cancer cells are disorganized, with varying sizes and shapes.3 

What Are the Different Types of Treatments Available?    

Surgery   

Surgical removal of cancer or as much of it as possible.    

Chemotherapy   

Chemotherapy kills cancer cells with drugs.    

Radiotherapy    

Cancer cells are killed by high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays or protons. Radiation can be delivered externally (external beam radiation) or internally (internal beam radiation) (brachytherapy).   

Bone Marrow Transplants    

The marrow in your bones produces blood cells from blood stem cells. A bone marrow transplant, also called a stem cell transplant, can use your own or a donor’s stem cells. A bone marrow transplant can allow your doctor to use more chemotherapy. It can also treat diseased bone marrow.   

Immunotherapy    

The immune system destroys cancer in immunotherapy. Because your immune system doesn’t recognize cancer as an invader, it can grow unchecked. Immunotherapy helps your immune system “see” and attack cancer.   

Hormone Therapy    

Hormones can fuel some cancers. Breast and prostate cancers are examples. Removing or blocking those hormones may slow the growth of cancer cells.   

Tactical drug therapy  

Targeted drug therapy targets cancer cells’ survival abnormalities.   

Cryoablation   

Cold kills cancer cells. A thin, wand-like needle (cryoprobe) is inserted into the cancerous tumour during cryoablation. The cryoprobe uses gas to freeze the tissue. Then the tissue can thaw. The freezing and thawing process is repeated a few times during a treatment session to kill cancer cells.4  

Radiofrequency Ablation    

This treatment uses electricity to kill cancer cells. The doctor inserts a thin needle into the cancer tissue during radiofrequency ablation. High-frequency energy passes through the needle, heating the tissue and killing nearby cells.   

Clinical Trials   

 Clinical trials are studies to find new cancer treatments. Thousands of cancer trials are ongoing.   

Wrapping Up

   

Cancer can be terrifying and debilitating. But, with the right choices (like maintaining a healthy lifestyle by cutting off processed foods, alcohol, smoking, and exercising with moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes a week), you can ward off your risk because studies show that most cancer is environmental, not genetic.    

We hope you enjoyed this post and we look forward to hearing your opinions and experiences with cancer below.    

*Disclaimer*:    

Please note that although we’ve done thorough research on all of our blogs, always be sure to do your due diligence and consult a doctor or medical professional before making any decision related to health or medicine.   

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