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  03/27/2012 
Cancer Care 

"Cancer is the most worrisome health issue of today" 

By: Barbara Bluhm 

Cancer is the most worrisome health issue of today. Cancer refers to unlimited growth potential of any cell type or tissue. The major cause of cancer is the genetic alteration of the cell. In a normal individual, each cell divides in order to let the tissue grow. When cell divides, genetic material is divided equally in both the daughter cells. There are genes in the body that monitors the quality of cells being produced. Each cell has limited potential of division and as the cell age, death is induced by programmed mechanisms within the cell.

However in cancer, cells attain the ability to divide independently and excessively, without dying. Cells are dividing at such a high pace that they don't even have time to check the quality of cells being produced and this is the reason why cancer produces abnormal cells that produce abnormal proteins and thus further offers abnormal material for further division.

Cancer Signs:  


The preliminary symptoms of cancer are nonspecific and are independent of the site and location of tumor growth. These are: 

 

Weight loss: 


All the nutrition of the body is consumed by rapidly dividing cancer cells that deprives the body of all its, nutrition and leads to increased weight loss, without any exercise. 


Loss of appetite: 


Cancer cells produce chemicals in the body that causes characteristic cancer cachexia, which is the loss of appetite. This causes additional weakness and weight loss. 


Anemia: 


Anemia is the deficiency of blood cells and hemoglobin. Cancer cells deprive normal body cells of all their nutrition and causes anemia. 


Weakness: 


All these above factors cause weakness. 


CANCER CARE: 


Worldwide the cancer is the most common cause of mortality and morbidity. The most commonly reported cancers are lung cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer. There are some childhood cancers too and some familial cancers too. In order to keep safe from the effects of this devastating disease, it is important to start screening for people at risk at an earlier age, if they have risk factors. 


SCREENING FOR SOME COMMON CANCER: 


For Breast cancer, mammography is the screening tool, which is normally started after age 50 years in the absence of any risk factor. With positive family history of breast cancer, screening can be started at age as young as 35 years. For prostate cancer, PSA (prostatic specific antigen) levels are checked after age 60. For cervical cancer, screening is to be done after 50 years by pap smear.