A non communicable disease, cancer is caused by the uncontrollable growth of cells in the human body. There are over 100 different types of cancer and each is characterized by the type of cells effected in the initial stages. The cells multiply at an alarming rate forming lumps and tumours in the body.
Malignant and Benign Tumours
Cancerous tumours, better known as malignant tumours, interfere with the regular functioning of the organs, by spreading to the nearby tissues. The cancer cells spread within the body through blood or lymph system forming tumours away from the point of origin.
On the other hand, benign tumours, do not attack or invade the nearby tissues. However, these tumours can be large in size and when removed do not usually grow back. Even though benign tumours may not be life threatening, benign brain tumours can be dangerous.
Medical research has proved that changes in lifestyle such as smoking, chewing tobacco, exposure to chemicals provide an ecosystem for cancerous cells to grow in a haphazard manner.
The following are the types of cancer broadly associated with lifestyle -
Bladder Cancer - A cancer caused by increased exposure to chemicals which responds well to treatment. Individuals working in leather tanneries, textile industry, paint and varnish manufacturing units are susceptible to bladder cancer.
Breast Cancer - Easily detectable and commonly found cancer among women is breast cancer. Women who reached puberty early in life, experience late menopause, late pregnancies, have not breast fed their babies are in the high risk group of Breast Cancer. A family history of breast cancer cannot be ruled out.
Recent studies have indicated that breast cancer has overtaken cervical cancer cases in India. In urban India, 1 in 30 women is at risk of suffering from Breast Cancer.
Cervical Cancer - Multiple pregnancies, early onset of menarche, multiple sex partners, poor pre and anti natal care, poor genital hygiene are some of the factors which can cause cervical cancer. Smoking or consumption of tobacco increases the risk factor by 50%.
Cervical Cancer is easily detected by Pap Smear.
Colorectal Cancer - Increased intake of foods rich in high fats and low fibre is considered to be the leading cause of Colorectal Cancer.
Pain in abdomen, lower back or bladder, change in bowel movement are few of the symptoms of colorectal cancer.
Skin and Eye Cancer - Intense exposure to sunlight (UV rays) is considered to be the leading cause of skin and eye cancer respectively. People with light eyes and light hair are at higher risk.
Esophageal Cancer - Excessive consumption of tobacco and alcohol are some of the commonly known causes of Esophageal cancer. Difficulty in swallowing food, choking, pain and spasm in the throat are a few symptoms associated with Esophageal cancer.
Kidney Cancer - This cancer is seen more in men than in women. Lumps in stomach, blood in urine, loss of appetite are the common symptoms associated with Kidney cancer. Studies have also indicated that it affects more people over and above 60 years.
Laryngeal Cancer - Hoarseness and discomfort in the throat are the symptoms to look out for. Consumption of tobacco, alcohol and exposure to asbestos are some of the known causes.
Liver Cancers - Weight loss, loss of appetite, swelling in the stomach region, pain, fever and jaundice are signs of liver cancer. An abnormal liver condition, cirrhosis is closely linked with the cancer of liver. Avoid alcohol, drugs and aflatoxins from fungus on peanuts.
Lung Cancers - 90% of lung cancers are caused by smoking. Pollution in cities has increased the incidence of lung cancers. Increase intake of green leafy vegetables along with yellow and orange coloured fruits are recommended ways of preventing lung cancers.
Oral Cancers - The most commonly occurring cancer in the Indian subcontinent are Oral Cancer. This includes cancer of mouth, tongue and oral cavities. A lifestyle induced cancer, oral cancer is caused by smoking, intake of alcohol and tobacco.
Ovarian Cancers - The cancer mostly affects women who have reached menopause. Women with a history of menstrual problems and with few or no children are at high risk of ovarian cancer. Constipation, swelling, water retention in the body and nausea are the symptoms of ovarian cancers.
Pancreatic Cancers - Till date there is no known cure of Pancreatic cancer. Symptoms include severe pain in abdomen, jaundice and loss of appetite. It is advisable to avoid tobacco, have a low fat diet with increased intake of fruits and vegetables.
Prostrate Cancer - This form of cancer mainly affects men. A silent killer men over 50 should undergo PSA (Prostate Sensitive Antigen) test as part of their routine medical examination.
Stomach Cancer - Difficult to treat and slow growing cancer, it affects both men and women. Increased consumption of raw veg cruciform, dark and yellow vegetables with vitamin A and C are advisable.
Thyroid Cancers - Commonly seen in women with child bearing age group. Historical data from nuclear disasters have proved that people who lived close to Chernobyl in Russia, Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan had suffered from Thyroid Cancer due to exposure to radioactive chemicals.
Uterine Cancer - Women over 50 years are at increased risk of Uterine Cancer. High fat diets, smoking, diabetes, obesity and high BP are some of the risk factors associated with Uterine Cancer. The results of a pap smear help in eliminating the warning signs. Stay tuned...