What is cancer
Cancer is a class of diseases in which cells grow and divide uncontrollably. There are more than 200 different types of cancer. Each type is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected. Cancer can start in the lungs, the breast, the colon, or even in the blood.
·Examine the skin. The doctor may look at the
skin to determine whether the skin changes are likely to be skin cancer.
Further testing may be needed to confirm that diagnosis.
·Remove a sample of suspicious skin for testing
(skin biopsy). The doctor may remove the suspicious-looking skin for lab
testing. A biopsy can determine whether the patient has skin cancer and, if so,
what type of skin cancer he has.
If the doctor
determines that the patient has skin cancer, he may have additional tests to
determine the extent of the skin cancer.
superficial skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma rarely spread, a biopsy
which removes the entire growth often is the only test needed to determine the
cancer stage. But if the patient has a large squamous cell carcinoma, Merkel
cell carcinoma or melanoma, the doctor may recommend further tests to determine
the extent of the cancer.
tests might include imaging tests to examine the nearby lymph nodes for signs
of cancer or a procedure to remove a nearby lymph node and test it for signs of
cancer (sentinel lymph node biopsy). The skin cancer's stage helps determine
which treatment options will be most effective.
The main treatment for skin cancer issurgery. For
most people this will be all the treatment they need. Radiotherapycan also be used to treat and cure skin
cancers. The patient may have this instead of surgery if an operation is not
suitable for him. Radiotherapy can also be given after surgery to reduce the
chances of the cancer coming back. Another alternative to an operation for
basal cell skin cancer is treatment with a drug to make the skin sensitive to
light. This is followed by treatment with a bright light to the affected area.
This treatment is called photodynamic
therapy (PDT). Chemotherapyis only occasionally used for skin cancer.
Most basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers
can be successfully treated with surgery. In most cases the surgery is minor.
The affected area is completely removed, usually underlocal
anaesthetic. There are several different types of surgical
techniques that can be used. What is done will depend on
Skin cancer most often develops on skin exposed
to the sun. But this common form of cancer can also occur on areas of your skin
not ordinarily exposed to sunlight. Skin cancers are growths with differing
causes and varying degrees of malignancy.
three most common malignant skin cancers are:
üBasal cell carcinoma,
üSquamous cell carcinoma,
which is named after the type of skin cell from which it arises.
The risk of skin cancer can be reduced by
limiting or avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Checking your skin
for suspicious changes can help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages.
Early detection of skin cancer gives the patient the greatest chance for
successful skin cancer treatment.
·Any change on skin, especially in the size or
color of a mole, growth, or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color)
·Scaliness, roughness, oozing, bleeding, or a
change in the way an area of skin looks
·A sore that doesn’t heal
·A change in sensation, such as itchiness,
tenderness, or pain
·The spread of pigment (color) beyond its
border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
Skin cancer develops primarily on areas of sun-exposed skin,
including the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands, and on the
legs in women. But it can also form on areas that rarely see the light of day like
palms, beneath your fingernails or toenails, and or genital area.
The exact cause ofskin canceris unknown. It appears basal cell skin cancers
arise from basaloid cells in the upper layer of the skin. Uncontrolled growth
of these cells is regulated by other factors in the skin. When that regulation
is lost,skin cancercells begin to grow into tumors.
In squamous cell skin cancers, the tumors arise
from a normal cell in the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. As with basal
cell cancers, these cells are prevented from growing wildly by genetically
controlled factors. When there is an alteration in the genes that regulate
these cells, the control is lost and skin cancers start to grow. In many
instances, the genes are altered by sunlight exposure. The sooner askin canceris identified and treated, the better
your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or otherskin cancer, potential
disfigurement or even death.
don't know what causes thyroid cancer. Like
other cancers, changes in theDNAof the cells seem to play a role. These
DNA changes may include changes that are inherited as well as those that happen
as you get older
Thyroid carcinoma most commonly manifests as a
painless, palpable, solitary thyroid nodule. Patients or clinicians discover most
of these nodules during routine palpation of the neck.
Some thyroid cancer signs and symptoms include
a hoarse voice, neck pain, and enlarged lymph nodes. Although as much as 75% of
the population will have thyroid nodules,
the vast majority are benign. Young people usually don't have thyroid nodules,
but as people age, they're more likely to develop a nodule. By the time we are
80, 90% of us will have at least one nodule.
Signs and symptoms associated with malignancy
in thyroid nodules include the following:
A lump or swelling in your neck. This is the most common symptom.
Pain in your neck
and sometimes in your ears.
or constant wheezing.
Hoarseness that is
not related to a cold.
A cough that continues and is not related to a cold.
Depending on the type and stage of your thyroid
cancer, you may need more than one type of treatment. Doctors on your cancer
treatment team may include:
§A surgeon: a doctor who uses
surgery to treat cancers or other problems
§An endocrinologist: a doctor
who treats diseases in glands that secrete hormones
§A radiation oncologist: a
doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer
§A medical oncologist: a doctor
who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancer
Many other specialists may be involved in your
care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social
workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals.
cancer is found and staged, your cancer
care team will discuss your treatment options with you. It is important to take
the time to consider each of your options. In choosing a treatment plan,
factors to consider include the type and stage of the cancer and your general
health. The treatment options for thyroid cancer might include:
§Radioactive iodine treatment
§Thyroid hormone therapy
§External beam radiation therapy
Often 2 or more of these options are combined.
Most thyroid cancers can be cured, especially
if they have not spread to distant parts of the body.
The thyroid gland is below the thyroid cartilage
(Adam’s apple) in the front part of the neck. In most people, the thyroid
cannot be seen or felt. It is butterfly shaped, with 2 lobes joined by a narrow
isthmus. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into
the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps
the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other
organs working as they should. Cancer of the thyroid is a disease in which
cancer cells are found in the tissues of the thyroid gland.Cancer of the thyroid is more common
in women than in men. Most patients are between 25 and 65 years old. People who
have been exposed to large amounts of radiation, or who have had radiation
treatment for medical problems in the head and neck have a higher chance of
cancer. The cancer may
not occur until 20 years or longer after radiation treatment. Thyroid cancer is an uncommon type of cancer.
Most people who have it do very well, because the cancer is usually found early
and the treatments work well. After it is treated, thyroid cancer may come
back, sometimes many years after treatment. Most thyroid cancers are
differentiated cancers. The cells in these cancers look a lot like normal
thyroid tissue when seen with a microscope. These cancers develop from thyroid
Types of Thyroid Cancer
There are 4 main types of thyroid cancer, and
some are more common than others.
thyroid cancers are very curable. In fact, the most common types of thyroid
cancer are the most curable. In younger patients, both papillary and follicular
cancers have a more than 97% cure rate if treated appropriately. The genes in our cells carry the hereditary
information from our parents. An abnormal gene has been found in patients with
some forms ofthyroid cancer. If medullarythyroid canceris found, the patient may have been born with a certain
abnormal gene which may have led to the cancer.
If there are symptoms, a doctor will feel the
patient's thyroid and check for lumps in the neck. The doctor may order blood
tests and special scans to see whether a lump in the thyroid is making too many
·Digital rectal exam (DRE). During a DRE,
the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into therectum to examine the
prostate, which is adjacent to the rectum. If the doctor finds any
abnormalities in the texture, shape or size of the gland, the patient may need
·Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A
blood sample is drawn from a vein in the arm and analyzed for PSA, a substance
that's naturally produced by your prostate gland. It's normal for a small
amount of PSA to be in your bloodstream. However, if a higher than normal level
is found, it may be an indication of prostate infection, inflammation,
enlargement or cancer.
combined with DRE helps identify prostate cancers at their earliest stages, but
studies have disagreed whether these tests reduce the risk of dying of prostate
cancer. For that reason, there is debate surrounding prostate cancer screening.
Diagnosing prostate cancer
abnormality is detected on a DRE or PSA test, your doctor may recommend tests
to determine whether you have prostate cancer, such as:
·Ultrasound. If other tests raise concerns,
the doctor may use transrectal ultrasound to further evaluate your prostate. A
small probe, about the size and shape of a cigar, is inserted into the rectum. The probe uses sound waves to make a
picture of the prostate gland.
·Collecting a sample of prostate tissue. If
initial test results suggest prostate cancer, the doctor may recommend a
procedure to collect a sample of cells from the prostate (prostate biopsy).
needed in some cases
diagnosed with very early-stage prostate cancer, treatment may not be necessary
right away. Some men may never need treatment. Instead, doctors sometimes
recommend active surveillance.
therapy uses high-powered energy to kill cancer cells. Prostate cancer
radiation therapy can be delivered in two ways:
·Radiation that comes from outside of the body.
·Radiation placed inside your body
(brachytherapy).Brachytherapy involves placing many rice-sized radioactive
seeds in your prostate tissue. The radioactive seeds deliver a low dose of
radiation over a long period of time.
is treatment to stop the body from producing the male hormone testosterone.
Prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Cutting off the
supply of hormones may cause cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly.
Surgery to remove the prostate
prostate cancer involves removing the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy),
some surrounding tissue and a few lymph nodes. Ways the radical prostatectomy
procedure can be performed include:
Freezing prostate tissue
cryoablation involves freezing tissue to kill cancer cells.
for prostate cancer, small needles are inserted in the prostate using
ultrasound images as guidance. A very cold gas is placed in the needles, which
causes the surrounding tissue to freeze. A second gas is then placed in the
needles to reheat the tissue. The cycles of freezing and thawing kill the
cancer cells and some surrounding healthy tissue.
uses drugs to kill rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells. Chemotherapy
can be administered through a vein in your arm, in pill form or both. Chemotherapy
may be a treatment option for men with prostate cancer that has spread to
distant areas of their bodies. Chemotherapy may also be an option for cancers
that don't respond to hormone therapy.
(immunotherapy) uses the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. One type
of biological therapy called sipuleucel-T (Provenge) has been developed to
treat advanced, recurrent prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is a disease which only affects
men. Cancer begins to grow in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive
system. The prostate gland makes fluid that forms part of semen. The prostate
lies just below the bladder in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra.
In most cases, the prostate cancer starts in the gland cells - this is called
adenocarcinoma. Prostate cancer often has no early symptoms. Advanced prostate
cancer can cause men to urinate more often or have a weaker flow of urine, but
these symptoms can also be caused by benign prostate conditions.
There are no warning signs of early prostate
cancer. Once a tumor causes the prostate gland to swell, or once cancer spreads
beyond the prostate, the following symptoms may happen:
need to urinate, especially at night
starting or stopping a stream of urine
A weak or
interrupted urinary stream
or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
urine or semen
·It's not clear what causes prostate cancer.
urine when laughing or coughing
to urinate standing up
Prostate cancer begins when some cells in your
prostate become abnormal. Mutations in the abnormal cells' DNA cause the cells
to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do. The abnormal cells
continue living, when other cells would die. The accumulating abnormal cells
form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby tissue. Some abnormal cells can break
off and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
can increase the risk of prostate cancer include:
·Older age. The risk of prostate cancer
increases with age.
·Being black. Black men have a greater risk
of prostate cancer than do men of other races. In black men, prostate cancer is
also more likely to be aggressive or advanced. It's not clear why this is.
·Family history of prostate or breast
cancer. If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be
increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk
of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a very strong
family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.
·Obesity. Obese men diagnosed with prostate
cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that's more difficult to
Getting regular screening tests for colon cancer
is the single best way for protection from the colorectal cancer. Although
there is no sure way to prevent colorectal cancer, but there are things we can
do that might help decrease the risk such as avoiding risk factors and increasing protective
factors. Screening is
recommended starting at age 50 for people who are not at increased risk of
colorectal cancer. There are several different screening options available.
People at higher risk, such as those with a strong family history of colorectal
cancer, might start screening at a younger age. In the previous article, we
mentioned that the following risk factors increase the risk of
Family history of colorectal
We have to state that these following
protective factors decrease the risk of colorectal cancer:
Avoiding cancerrisk factors may help prevent certain
cancers. Risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not
getting enough exercise. Increasing protective factors such as
quitting smoking and exercising may also help prevent some cancers.
obesity and weight gain.
vegetables and fruits.
o Increase the intensity and amount of your
recommended levels of calcium and vitamin D (see below).
studies suggest that taking a daily multi-vitamin containing folic acid, or
folate, may lower colorectal cancer risk, but not all studies have found this. Also,
some studies have suggested that vitamin D, which you can get from sun
exposure, in certain foods, or in a vitamin pill, might lower colorectal cancer
risk. Because of concerns that excess sun exposure can cause skin cancer, most
experts do not recommend this as a way to lower colorectal cancer risk at this
time. Other studies suggest that increasing calcium intake may lower colorectal
cancer risk. Calcium is important for a number of health reasons aside from
possible effects on cancer risk. Calcium and vitamin D might work together to
reduce colorectal cancer risk, as vitamin D aids in the body’s absorption of
calcium. A few studies have found a
possible link between a diet that is high in magnesium and reduced colorectal
cancer risk, especially among women.