Q: What is Cancer?
A: Cancer is a large group of diseases characterised by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells.
Q: What Causes Cancer?
A: To date, the exact cause for cancer in many patients is still unclear. But several factors have been identified as cancer causing. These include smoking, high-fat diet, alcoholism, exposure to substances like fluorocarbons and asbestos, ionising radiation and excessive exposure to sunlight. A tiny proportion of cancers may be hereditary. Viruses may also play a role in some types of cancers such as liver and cervical cancers and leukaemia.
Cancer develops slowly over time due to a complex mix of factors related to environment, lifestyle and heredity. Often, they are partly results of the ageing process when not all cell growth is kept in check by the body.
Q: What are The Warning Signs and Symptoms?
A: Here are some warning signs of cancer but this list is by no means conclusive nor exhaustive.
- A sore that refuses to heal
- A lump or thickening in the breast or elsewhere
- Any unusual bleeding or discharge
- Any change in normal bowel habits
- Any change in a mole or a wart
- Persistent indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
- Persistent Hoarseness of Voice or Cough
- Onset of impaired hearing, with persistent noise in the same ear
Q: Does Early Detection Help?
A: Yes. However, cancers deep in the body are not easily detected unless special examinations are undertaken regularly. Besides ensuring a higher chance of survival, detecting a cancer early also makes treatment easier.
A general rule of thumb is to go for cancer screening when a person hits 40 years of age.
Q: Is Cancer Always Painful?
A: No. Pain associated with cancer can be managed effectively. With proper treatment, we can control pain in almost every instance. Although pain in cancer cannot always be eliminated, therapy can help to minimise pain in most patients.
Q: Can Cancer Be Cured?
A: Yes, although the cure rates for many cancers still leave room for improvement. Research has shown that early detection, such as of breast cancer and cervical cancer, has lowered the death rates associated with these cancers.
Q: Are there a Lot of Side Effects with Cancer Treatment?
A: Chemotherapy could have some side effects such as vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, mouth sores or tiredness. However, these side effects can be minimised with appropriate medication. Refinements in radiation techniques can help minimise the amount of normal tissues irradiated, causing less discomfort to the patient.
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