About cancer, chemotherapy and other treatment options
Cancer is one of the most frightening medical conditions in the world, and it has touched nearly everyone's life in one way or another. It can affect any part of the body and there is no way to accurately predict who will or will not develop it, or when it will appear.
Causes and Symptoms of Cancer
It's not known exactly what causes cancer, though contributing factors have been identified. Smoking, unhealthy diets and overexposure to the sun have been identified as controllable risk factors, while factors like age, genetics and viruses are uncontrollable triggers.
Symptoms vary, depending on the particular type of cancer:
- Lung Cancer. Lung cancer symptoms include coughing (especially coughing up blood), chest pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
- Bone Cancer. Bone pain, swelling of limbs, fragile bones, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain are all common symptoms of bone cancer.
- Breast Cancer. Breast cancer is often caught through the discovery of a lump in the breast or the armpit. Changes in breast size and shape, inverted nipples, crusting or scaly nipples, and redness or swelling of the affected breast are other symptoms.
- Prostate Cancer. Prostate cancer often shows no symptoms until a large tumor is present and pushes on the urethra. This can cause a frequent urge to urinate, an inability to urinate, burning and pain during urination, painful ejaculation, and blood in the urine or semen.
- Skin Cancer. The appearance of lumps or moles, skin markings that grow or change color, sore spots on the skin, scaly and excessively dry skin, and new, suspicious growths are all signs of possible skin cancer.
Treatment of Cancer
There are many different cancer treatment options. Usually, treatment strategies are determined by the type of cancer and the extent of the cancer. The most common treatment options include:
- Chemotherapy. This is a chemical treatment designed to kill cancerous cells in the body.
- Radiation Therapy. Ionizing radiation is used to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors.
- Hormone Therapy. Used to treat breast cancer, hormone therapy works to lower the amount of estrogen in the body and to block the effects of estrogen on cancerous cells.
- Surgery. Lumpectomy or tumor removal is a method of removing cancerous tumors. This treatment is often used in combination with chemo or radiation, to help kill off all remaining cancer cells.