Cancer Symptoms and Treatments
Cancer: A Diverse Group of Illnesses
There are over 100 different types of cancer with many different signs and symptoms. A sign is a signal that can be seen by someone else. For example, a fever can be measured by anyone, including the patient. A symptom is something that is only detectable by the patient. An example of this is a pain somewhere in the body. Since the signs and symptoms of cancer are so diverse, their cause may be another condition altogether. However, there are signs and symptoms that are particularly associated with cancers. You should see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms for a significant period of time.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Most people with cancer will lose weight at some point in the illness. An unexplained loss of 10 pounds or more may be a sign of cancer of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lung.
Fever is a very common sign of cancer. It is even more common after a cancer has spread. Almost all people with cancer will have a fever at some point in the illness. Sometimes, fever can be an early sign of leukemia or lymphoma.
Fatigue is severe tiredness that doesn’t improve with rest. It can be an early symptom of leukemia.
The patient may have pain early on in some cancers, such as bone cancer or testicular cancer. A headache that does not go away or respond to treatment might be a sign of a brain tumor. Typically, pain that comes as a result of cancer means that the cancer has spread.
In addition to being a sign of skin cancers, skin changes can be a sign of some other cancers as well. These changes can include: Darker looking skin, jaundice, reddened skin, itching, and excessive hair growth.
Signs and Symptoms of Particular Cancers
Change in Bowel Habits or Bladder Function
Constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the size of your stool, for a long period of time, may be a sign of colon cancer. Pain when passing urine or blood in the urine can be a sign of bladder or prostrate cancer.
Sores that Do Not Heal
Skin cancers can bleed and appear like sores that don’t heal. A sore that is present for a long time in your mouth may be an oral cancer.
White Patches Inside the Mouth or on the Tongue
White patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue may be leukoplakia. This is a pre-cancerous region that is a result of frequent irritation. It can be caused by smoking or other tobacco use.
Unusual Bleeding or Discharge
Unusual bleeding anywhere in the body can be caused by a variety of cancers.
Lumps in the Breast or on Other Parts of the Body
This is a sign of many different cancers. These cancers occur mostly in the breast, testicle, lymph nodes, and the soft tissues of the body.
Treatments for Cancer
For local cancers, surgery may be used. This means that for leukemia or cancers that have spread throughout the body, surgery won’t help. Partial surgery is used sometimes when removing a whole area will interfere with the function of a vital organ.
At high doses, radiation can kill cancer cells or slow their growth. Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer and ease cancer symptoms. Radiation therapy does not kill cancer cells immediately. It takes days or weeks of treatment before the cells begin to die. After it starts working, the cells can keep dying for weeks or months after the therapy ends.
Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells. These cells grow and divide quickly. Chemotherapy is used to treat cancer and ease cancer symptoms. Chemotherapy can be given in may different ways. Some common ways include:
Immunotherapy is a kind of cancer treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer. The immune system is a part of the body that helps it fight infection and other diseases. It is composed of white blood cells and organs and tissues of the lymph system. Immunotherapy is a biological therapy. This means that it is a kind of treatment that uses substances from living organisms to treat your cancer.
Targeted therapy is a kind of drug therapy that targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread. Most targeted therapies fall into two classes: There are small-molecule drugs and monoclonal antibodies.
Hormone therapy is a kind of cancer treatment that slows or stops the growth of cancer that uses hormones to grow.
Stem Cell Transplants
Stem cell transplants are procedures that restore blood-forming stem cells in patients who have lost theirs through chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Blood-forming stem cells are significant because they become different types of blood cells. The basic kinds of blood cells are:
- White blood cells – They are a part of your immune system and help your body fight infection.
- Red blood cells – They carry oxygen throughout your body.
- Platelets – These help the blood clot.
As we have seen, cancer is a very diverse group of illnesses that have many different types of signs and symptoms. While this is the case, they really only have a few different types of treatments. The best advice is always to see your doctor if you have any unusual signs or symptoms for a significant period of time.
October 27, 2015
October 27, 2015
October 27, 2015