LiveMD takes a look at cancer and the frequency of multiple diagnosis of this disease.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease that occurs when the body’s cells begin to divide and multiply at a much more rapid rate than they are supposed to. The new cells that form are abnormal and can start to group together to form masses called tumours. They can also spread to the bloodstream and lymphatic fluids. Some tumours are benign which means that the cells are stationary and will stay in one location. Other tumours are malignant which means that the cells are moving and can invade other areas of the body, causing the cancer to spread.
Cancer can affect any part of the body and there are over 200 different, known types of cancer.
Can I Get Cancer Twice?
Often cancer survivors are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer again later in life. It is estimated that in the United States alone, 1 out of every 6 cancer diagnosis will be for someone who has already survived cancer previously and these numbers are rising. It is possible to get the same type of cancer again but more commonly these second and third diagnosis are for a different type of cancer, meaning that someone who has had breast cancer is now fighting colon cancer for example.
Why Are Secondary Cancers so Common?
The exact reasons that secondary cancers are so common are still unknown but scientists and cancer researchers do have some hypothesis. Some believe that due to the fact that your risk of cancer increases as you age and because cancer survivors are living so much longer, they are falling into this higher risk category. Other theories point to the treatments used on cancer patients, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Some believe that these treatments may increase your risk of developing other types of cancers. A final theory held by many looks at environment and lifestyle choices. Perhaps it is the environment that we are exposed to and the lifestyle choices we make, such as diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption, that are increasing our chances of being diagnosed with cancer multiple times in our lives.
How Can I Reduce the Risk of Getting Cancer?
Cancer is unpredictable and the exact causes of all cancers are still unknown but there are some things that we can all do to decrease our risk of getting this disease.
- Stay Active and Watch Your Weight : Physical activity is very important for a healthy body and a healthy weight. By keeping your body active and your weight in check you will help to decrease your chances of a cancer diagnosis.
- Eat a Healthy Diet : Fill your meals with lots of fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods, stick to organic produce as often as possible and reduce your consumption of meats.
- Avoid Tobacco and Cigarette Smoke : Quit smoking, avoid secondhand smoke and don’t use any tobacco products like chewing tobacco or e-cigarettes.
- Reduce Alcohol : Too much alcohol can be very bad for your health and can put you at a high risk of developing cancer.
- Wear Sunscreen : Applying sunscreen when outside will help to protect your skin from developing skin cancer. Apply every time you go out, even if it is cloudy and reapply often.
By following a few simple tips and making the appropriate lifestyle changes you can help to decrease your risk factors for developing cancer. It is also important to go for regular check ups with your doctor, especially if you are a cancer survivor, to detect any abnormalities early on.
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Posted in Cancer
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and each year the number of people diagnosed is growing. Understanding exactly what cancer is and how it is diagnosed can be confusing so LiveMD is here to shed some light on the subject and answer some of your most frequent questions.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a very broad term given to a large group of diseases that could affect any different part of the body. Cancer starts with one cell that begins to change and becomes abnormal. This abnormal cell then begins to multiply very quickly and can start to invade different parts of the body. This process of rapid growth and invasion is called metastasizing. Many cancers can form solid tumours which are masses of abnormal tissue but some cancers, like those of the blood for example, do not form tumours at all.
What Causes Cancer?
All of the exact causes of cancer have not yet been identified however there are certain things that can put you at a much greater risk of developing this disease. Smoking, alcohol use, an unhealthy diet, exposure to asbestos, exposure to arsenic, radiation exposure and certain viruses and bacteria can put you at a higher risk of getting cancer in your lifetime.
What are the Treatment Options for Cancer?
There are many different treatment options for cancer but the treatment given will depend on the type and severity of the disease. Some of the most common options are listed below:
- Surgery – Surgery is usually one of the first treatment options for a cancer patient. Surgery may be done to perform a biopsy on the cancer site or may be done to remove a tumour. If the cancer has not spread to any other areas, surgery may offer the best and fastest option for a cure.
- Radiation – This type of therapy uses radiation directed at the cancer cells to stop their growth or help to shrink the size of a tumour. This type of therapy can be very beneficial if the cancer is localized and has not spread to any surrounding areas.
- Chemotherapy – Also known as chemo, this type of therapy uses either 1 or a combination of drugs to fight the cancer cells. It is usually given intravenously over a course of many different sessions, depending on the type and severity of the cancer being treated. Chemotherapy aggressively targets cancer cells but it can also harm other, non-cancerous cells as well. Chemotherapy can cause hair loss, weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and many other side effects as well.
- Other Therapies: As science progresses there are many other cancer therapies being offered now. Stem cell therapies, bone marrow transplants, blood transfusions, immunotherapies, photodynamic therapies are all available treatment options depending on the patient and the type of cancer being treated.
How Can I Prevent Cancer?
Leading a healthy lifestyle and avoiding high risk factors like smoking and alcohol are some of the best ways to decrease your chances of getting cancer but as it stands right now, there is no guaranteed method to protect yourself. The most important thing that you can do is to get diagnosed early on if you do have cancer. Early detection will allow for better success and survival rates with treatment. Going for your annual physical exam with your doctor, preforming at home self-breast exams, or undergoing screening for certain types of cancers will allow for early detection and treatment.
If you have questions about cancer or would like information about treatment options, book an appointment with one of LiveMD’s physicians or oncologists today at www.mylivemd.com .
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Posted in Cancer