Know About Cancer and its Common Symptoms

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease characterized by rapid and uncontrolled growth of abnormal and immature cells in a tissue. Cancer cells divide rapidly, but do not mature and therefore unable to do any useful function. The cells only use the nutrition from body without performing any function; hence, emaciation of body known as cancer cachexia is seen in many cancer patients. Cancer cells can infiltrate and destroy normal tissues in other parts of the body. Cancer cells can spread to almost all parts of the body, via blood stream or via lymphatic system. Cancer commonly occur in tissues where cell division takes frequently, for example, skin, mucosa of gastrointestinal tract etc. Cancer is rare and almost absent in tissues where cell division is very slow or there is no cell division, such as muscles, heart etc.id-10015956

Cancer is a leading cause of death in most countries. In different countries as well as different geographical locations of same country the types of cancers vary due to various social, economic, cultural, environmental, food habits and various other factors. For example, in most Western countries cervical cancer is uncommon due to effective preventive measures (screening by Pap smear can identify precancerous stage and effective preventive measure taken) used in developed countries. However, cervical cancer is still common cancer and leading cause of death due to cancer in most developing and underdeveloped countries, due to absence of effective screening for cervical cancer.

What are the symptoms of cancer?

Symptoms and signs of cancer vary depending on the type of cancer and body part involved. However, there are various general symptoms and signs of cancer, they are,

  • Presence of lump or thickening under skin that can be easily felt
  • Generalized weakness or fatigue
  • Change in body weight (sudden and unintentional weight gain or weight loss)
  • Change in bowel habit or bladder habit all of a sudden
  • A persistent discomfort or indigestion
  • Cough for long duration or breathing problem.
  • Hoarseness of voice or difficulty in swallowing
  • Unexplained fever for long duration
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Changes in skin, such as jaundice (yellow skin), red or dark skin, sore in skin that does not heal in time, change in mole (such as color, texture, size or appearance)

We all are aware that many of the above mentioned symptoms can occur without having cancer and they are not specific to cancer. Hence, it becomes difficult to decide if you should consult a doctor. You should certainly consult a doctor if you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, especially if the symptom become persistent and shows no sign of disappearing. One can also consult a cancer specialist if one suspect of having cancer, even without any symptoms, especially if one crossed middle age.

 

Image courtesy of [jscreationzs] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Loading...