Cancer is a group of diseases that can occur when your body’s cells grow out of control and don’t die when they’re supposed to.
The good news is that most cancers can be caught and treated early, before they become serious. This is because many common types of cancer are easy to detect through screening tests and vaccinations (shots).
Cancer is a group of diseases that begin with abnormal cells. These cells divide uncontrollably and have the ability to invade and destroy normal body tissue, which can make you very sick. Luckily, with advances in cancer screening and treatment, survival rates are improving for most types of cancer.
In most cases, the first step in diagnosing a cancer is a physical exam and other tests by your doctor. Your doctor will look at your symptoms, your medical history, and other factors to make the best diagnosis possible.
If your doctor thinks you may have cancer, he or she will probably recommend getting some tests done, such as X-rays or blood tests. The tests will show if you have cancer and help the doctor decide on a treatment plan.
Your doctor can also diagnose cancer with a simple biopsy, which is when your doctor removes a small amount of tissue to study. It is the only way to make a definite diagnosis of most cancers.
The doctor will use the results of these tests to determine the type and stage of your cancer. Your doctor will also talk to you about your options for treatment.
Depending on the type of cancer you have, your doctor may recommend surgery, radiation therapy or other treatments to kill or shrink the tumor. These treatments can be used alone or in combination with other methods of treatment.
For some types of cancers, surgery may be the only treatment needed. These include breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and some types of brain tumors.
Another treatment option is immunotherapy, which uses a special type of drug to attack cancer cells. Usually, the drugs work by targeting specific parts of your immune system.
Some drugs are given by mouth, while others are delivered through a machine or injection into your bloodstream. Both drugs can be very effective in treating many types of cancers.
Vaccines, which are shots that boost your immune system’s response to cancer cells, are another promising new treatment. Researchers are working on vaccines that target cancer cells, as well as vaccines that target viruses that can predispose you to cancer.
Cancer is a group of diseases that arise when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably and can spread to other parts of the body. This is called metastasizing and is a major cause of death from cancer.
There are many treatments for different types of cancer. These include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy.
Surgical treatment involves removing the mass of cancerous cells (tumor) and some of the surrounding tissue. This type of treatment is most common for early stage cancers that haven’t spread beyond the original site.
Other options include systemic therapy, which treats the cancer throughout the body with special drugs and other treatments. These medicines may be used to shrink the tumor and kill any cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body.
Hormone therapy blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow and spread. It’s often used to treat breast cancer and other hormonally driven cancers.
Chemotherapy is a special medicine that kills or shrinks cancer cells. It’s a very effective treatment for most cancer types.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (like X-rays) to destroy cancer cells and can shrink or even eliminate tumors. It’s used to treat many types of cancer, including lung, head and neck and gastrointestinal (stomach and intestine) cancer.
Stem cell transplants use your own bone marrow stem cells or those of a donor to replace diseased bone marrow. This is a more effective treatment than chemotherapy for certain blood cancers and some lymph node cancers.
It also may be used to replace bone marrow cells that have been lost due to very high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Preventive treatments involve reducing risk factors and improving lifestyles that increase the chances of developing cancer. They may be aimed at preventing or reducing the occurrence of cancer during its latency period, which can be several years before the disease is detected and diagnosed.
These efforts can be effective and have an impact on public health, especially in countries with a high cancer mortality rate. They are also cost-effective and can reduce social inequalities.
When cells divide and grow too quickly, they can clump together and form masses of cancer cells. Fortunately, there are several types of cancer treatments that can help stop the growth of cancer and prevent new tumors from growing.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy work by killing fast-growing cancer cells. However, these drugs also damage fast-growing cells that are not cancerous, such as blood cells and hair cells. This can cause side effects because these normal cells are important for body function, too.
One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation is fatigue. Fatigue is usually worse at first, but it may settle down over time. You should always tell your healthcare team if you notice any changes in your energy levels or if you need extra help to keep going during treatment.
Another common treatment side effect is pain. Pain can vary from person to person, and can be severe or mild. It can affect the entire body or just one part of the body, such as the back or arms. If pain isn’t treated right away, it could get worse or become more serious.
Other side effects of cancer treatment include mouth problems, fatigue, numbness or tingling in your hands or feet, and problems with the kidneys or bladder. These side effects can be serious, and should be reported to your doctor.
You can use certain medicines with chemo to avoid or reduce the risk of these side effects. Your healthcare provider can tell you which medicines you can take while being treated with chemotherapy, and which ones you should avoid.
Nausea and vomiting are common with most cancer treatments, especially radiation therapy to the abdomen and chemotherapy (with results varying by drug and dose). These symptoms can be relieved or controlled with medications that can be taken before, during, or after treatment.
Diarrhea and constipation are common with many cancer treatments, but they can be controlled with healthy eating and regular exercise. These side effects can make you feel drained, so it is important to maintain a balanced diet that contains enough fiber and liquids to promote regular bowel movements.
Choosing a healthy lifestyle, screening for cancer, and getting vaccines (shots) are important for preventing many types of cancer. They help reduce your risk of developing it and can find it early, when treatment works best.
Having a strong immune system is also important for preventing cancer. This means that you should avoid infections that can cause cancer, such as HIV and tuberculosis. In addition, you should follow the dietary guidelines for cancer prevention.
You should also talk to your doctor about the types of cancers that affect you, and ways to prevent them. Some cancers, like colon and breast cancers, can be prevented with diet and lifestyle changes.
For other types of cancers, you might have to use treatment options that kill the cancer cells. This can include surgery and radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy is often used to shrink the size of a tumor or kill any cancer cells that have spread to other parts of your body. It can be given inside your body (brachytherapy), or outside your body (external beam radiation).
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells. It can also be used to treat certain kinds of cancer that don’t respond to other treatments.
A cancer prevention drug, or chemoprevention agent, is a medication, vitamin, or supplement that helps reduce your risk of getting a specific kind of cancer. These can be given to people with a high risk of cancer or to people who have already had cancer.
There are many different kinds of chemoprevention agents, and they work differently for each type of cancer. For example, a breast cancer chemoprevention drug may be a hormone-blocking pill or a combination of other drugs.
Targeted cancer treatment is a type of drug that targets specific molecules in the cancer cell, making it impossible for the cancer to grow and spread. It may be given as a pill or through an IV.
Cancer prevention is important for everyone. By following the dietary guidelines for cancer prevention, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and getting regular screenings for cancer, you can lower your risk of developing it. You should also get vaccinated to prevent some kinds of cancer, like HPV and hepatitis B.