Cancer is a collective term for a group of diseases that cause abnormal cell division within the body. These cells divide rapidly and spread to other tissues in the body, sometimes developing into tumors. 

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death across the world, and there is no cure. Treatment options and preventative measures are the best way to fight cancer, and in many cases, cancer can be successfully treated. 

Cancer Causes

Cancer is caused by accumulated damage to genes and results in the abnormal division and growth of cells. There are a number of factors that contribute to this damage and increase your risk of developing cancer.

♦ Carcinogens such as chemicals, asbestos, and radioactive materials
♦ Biological factors such as inherited genetics
♦ Environmental factors like sun exposure or UV radiation
♦ Lifestyle factors like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

Cancer Symptoms

Cancer can have no symptoms, or the symptoms can vary widely depending on the area affected. There are general symptoms that are common to most forms of cancer that can help you identify the disease early enough for treatment.

♦ A persistent cough or blood-tinged saliva can indicate lung cancer.
♦ A serious change in bowel habits such as thin stools or blood in the stools can indicate colon cancer.
♦ Unexplained anemia
♦ A lump in the breast or breast discharge can indicate breast cancer.
♦ Changes in urination can indicate prostate cancer.
♦ Lumps in the testicles or enlarged testicles
♦ Unexplained weight loss

Cancer Diagnosis

Your doctor will first evaluate your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. Your family and medical history are important in diagnosing cancer. 

Urine and blood tests are commonly done to identify abnormalities in body function that could be caused by cancer. Imaging tests may also be done to look closely at organs that may be affected and to identify the presence of any tumors. Biopsies are done to confirm the presence of cancer cells in tissues that are believed to be cancerous. 

Treatment for Cancer

Cancer treatment differs, depending on how advanced the cancer is and depending on the overall objective. It is not yet possible to cure all cancers, but research continues to find ways to achieve this. 

Cancer treatment is designed to relieve symptoms, kill cancer cells to prevent spreading or tumor formation, and to reduce the risk of cancer cells returning. Common treatment options include:

Chemotherapy: uses medications that are toxic to cancer cells and kills them to prevent multiplying.
Radiation therapy: uses beams of radiation to kill cancer cells both inside and outside the body.
Targeted drug therapy: uses drugs that interfere with certain molecules that help cancer cells grow.
Immunotherapy: uses antibodies to support the immune system so it can better recognize and attack cancer cells.
Hormone therapy: removes or blocks the hormones responsible for fueling cancer cell growth.

Cancer Diet

There is not a diet that works to eliminate or cure cancer, but certain foods can increase your risk of cancer. In the same way, there are foods that can support your immune system and health, therefore improving your chances of survival or preventing cancer altogether. 

In general, a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to promote health, so you should always stick with: 

♦ Lean proteins such as poultry, fish, and eggs
♦ Whole grains
♦ Fresh fruits and vegetables
♦ Low-fat dairy
♦ Healthy facts 

It is also important to limit caffeine, sugar, unhealthy fats, salt, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates. What you put into your body has a direct impact on the health of your cells and tissues and can prevent cancer or increase the risk of developing the disease. 

Natural Treatments for Cancer

Many of the treatment options for cancer cause unpleasant side effects despite being effective. This has caused people to turn to alternative forms of therapy, which have been found to be effective in reducing symptoms or helping reduce unpleasant side effects. 

The most common natural treatment options for cancer include:

Homeopathy: This is typically used alongside traditional treatment methods, and works to activate the body’s natural healing powers. 
Massage: Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and massage, can help improve quality of life and reduce stress. They will not stop the progression of cancer, but they support you through the treatment process.
Vitamins: Large doses of vitamins and minerals (through supplements) have been found to benefit cancer treatment. If your diet is found to be lacking in certain nutrients, supplementation can help boost your health. 

What Are the Variations of Cancer?

There are different types of cancer, and each is named depending on its origin in the body. Cancer that begins in the lung but spreads to the kidneys will still be called lung cancer.

Cancer is also classified according to more general types, including:

Carcinoma: Cancer that starts in the skin or tissues that line organs
Sarcoma: Cancer of connective tissues like bones, cartilage, and blood vessels
Lymphoma and myeloma: Cancers of the immune system
Leukemia: Cancer of the bone marrow

The most common types of cancers include:

Breast cancer: the cells in the breasts are affected, and it can affect both men and women, although it is the most common form of cancer in women.
Skin cancer: Skin cells are impacted with melanoma
Colon cancer: The cells of the colon or rectum are affected, and those over the age of 50 are more at risk for this type.
Pancreatic cancer: Pancreatic cells are affected, and there are no early symptoms. Pancreatic cancer has a low survival rate because it is not usually detected until in advanced stages when symptoms show.
Prostate cancer: This affects the prostate gland in men and can be mild or very aggressive. There can be no symptoms, but if there are the most common is changes in urination.

Cancer Statistics

♦ Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, after heart disease.
♦ An estimated 610,000 people will die from cancer in the next year.
♦ Cancer mortality is higher among men than women.
♦ Cancer survivors are expected to increase from 15 million to 20 million.
♦ Approximately 38 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life.

Cancer and Surgery

Surgery is a common treatment option, especially in the cases of tumor growth. Surgery is performed to remove a tumor, so long as it is safe to do so. Some tumors cannot be removed, such as many brain tumors, and other therapy options are required to reach and kill the cells. 

Bone marrow transplants are also common procedures, especially for leukemia and lymphoma. The success of surgical procedures depends on the advancement of cancer, but the overall survival rate is close to 70 percent.

Cancer and Children

Childhood cancers make up less than 1 percent of all cancers. Children can get cancer in the same parts of the body as adults, but they typically occur suddenly and have a higher rate of cure than cancers in adults. 

The most common cancer among children is leukemia, which impacts the bone marrow responsible for producing blood cells. Treatment options depend on the severity of cancer but include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and targeted therapy. 

What Is the Long-Term Outlook?

Cancer can be successfully treated with early detection. Advances in medical practices and treatments are allowing many cancers to go into permanent remission. Early diagnosis is essential for effective treatment, which means identifying the symptoms is critical. 

It is a devastating choice to ignore symptoms that you think maybe cancer. With preventative measures and promotion of a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk for cancer, but the long-term outlook will depend on early diagnosis and beginning treatment sooner rather than later.