Cancer refers to uncontrolled growth and development of abnormal cells in the body. These cells, also called malignant cells, have the ability to penetrate and destroy normal body tissue. Cancer can develop in almost any organ of tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin bones or nerve tissue and also has the ability to spread throughout your body. The four most common types of cancer are: breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer. Treatment options depend on the type of cancer an individual is suffering from, the location of the cancer and its size.
The most common areas of cancer among men are lung, prostate, colon, rectum, stomach and liver.
The most common areas of cancer among women are breast, colon, rectum, lung, cervix and stomach.
Signs and symptoms of cancer depend on the type and location of the cancer. These symptoms may include:
- Development of a lump or thickening of the skin
- Persistent cough
- Muscle or joint pain
- Fever or night sweats
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Changes in bowel habits
- Changes in skin and coloration of the skin
Cancer grows out of normal cells in the body. This disease occurs when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells begin to divide too quickly or forget how to die, thus destroying normal body tissue. In about 95% of the cases, environmental factors are the main cause for cancer. A few of these causes may include: high alcohol consumption, exposure to harmful chemicals, excessive exposure to sunlight, obesity, stress, lack of physical exercise, viruses and others. However, the cause of many cancers remains unknown.
Factors associated with an increased risk of developing cancer include:
- Age: More common in older adults
- Lifestyle habits: Drinking, smoking, exposure to the sun and others
- Family history of health conditions
- Exposure to toxic chemicals among the environment
Complications depend on the type and stage of cancer. Several complications include the following:
- Pain caused by cancer treatment
- Spreading of the cancer to other areas of the body
- Extreme tiredness
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Extreme weight loss
- Chemical imbalance in the body
- Cancer recurrence
A few recommendations for preventing cancer from developing may include:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Quitting smoking
- Minimizing exposure to sun radiation
- Minimizing exposure to toxic chemicals