Cancer - Types, symptoms, diagnosis and prevention

There Is Can In The Word Cancer Because We Can Beat It...…


The origin of the word cancer is credited to the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC), who is considered the “Father of Medicine. The oldest description of cancer (although the word cancer was not used) was discovered in Egypt and dates back to about 3000 BC.

Cancer can start any place in the body. It starts when cells grow out of control and crowd out normal cells. This makes it hard for the body to work the way it should. Healthy cells in our bodies divide and replace themselves in a controlled fashion. A tumor is a mass composed of a cluster of such abnormal cells.

Cancer can start in the lungs, the breast, the colon, or even in the blood. Cancers are alike in some ways for instance, cancer cells in the lung can travel to the bones and grow there.

When lung cancer spreads to the bones, it’s still called lung cancer. To doctors, the cancer cells in the bones look just like the ones from the lung. It’s not called bone cancer unless it started in the bones., but they are different in the ways they grow and spread as some cancers grow and spread fast. Others grow more slowly with different treatment.

Indeed! Most cancers form tumors, but not all tumors are cancerous. Doctors take out a piece of the lump and look at it to find out if it’s cancer. Lumps that are not cancer are called benign (be-NINE). Lumps that are cancer are called malignant (muh-LIG-nunt).

normal cells and cancerous cells

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There are 200 types of cancer. Most commonly known cancers are as follows -

#1 Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most highly publicized cancers in the media today. The disease forms when breast cells change and multiply uncontrollably, forming a tumor. If untreated, cancerous cells may spread to other parts of the body.


  • A lump in breast or armpit

  • Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast

  • Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling

  • A newly inverted nipple

  • Peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin

  • Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange

  • A thickening or swelling of the breast

  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk


Imaging tests such as mammograms, MRI scans or breast ultrasound. Each of these methods produces internal pictures of the breast that help doctors see a potential mass.

Biopsies, which take cells from suspicious lumps to study in a pathology lab to determine if they are malignant. Cells are extracted through special needles or during surgery.

Finally if cancer is confirmed, doctors will perform additional tests to determine whether the cancer has spread within the breast, to the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. 

The earliest form of breast cancer is called ductal carcinoma in situ, and means that the cancer cells are confined to the milk ducts in the breast. This type of breast cancer is non-invasive and most curable form of the disease. On flip side if the breast cancer has spread beyond the ducts and invaded other breast tissue, it is called infiltrating ductal carcinoma


  • Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts.

  • It may also begin in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass.

  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat the signs and symptoms of menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer decreases when women stop taking these medications.

  • Women who give birth to their first child after age 30 may have an increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Beginning menopause at an older age and periods before age 12 has risk of getting breast cancer.

  • Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer.


  • Estrogen-blocking medications, such as selective estrogen receptor modulators and aromatase inhibitors, reduce the risk of breast cancer in women with a high risk of the disease.

  • Women with a very high risk of breast cancer may choose to have their healthy breasts surgically removed (prophylactic mastectomy)

  • Chemotherapy using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.

  • Hormonal therapy is used to block cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.

  • Biological therapy works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments

  • Radiation therapy to infuse high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells

Doctors from different specialties often work together to treat breast cancer. Surgeons are doctors who perform operations. Medical oncologists are doctors who treat cancer with medicine. Radiation oncologists are doctors who treat cancer with radiation.


  • On recommendation of doctor begin breast cancer screening exams and tests, such as clinical breast exams and mammograms.

  • Become familiar with your breasts through breast self-exam for breast awareness. If there is a new change, lumps or other unusual signs in your breasts, talk to your doctor promptly.

  • Maintain healthy diet full of green leafy vegetables, lean protein and moderate fats & carbs.

  • Exercise daily and stay hydrated throughout the day.

  • To reduce the risk of breast cancer, use the lowest dose of hormone therapy possible for the shortest amount of time.

  • Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer.

#2 Blood Cancer

Blood circulates throughout the vascular system, it supplies our organs with oxygen, nutrients, hormones and antibodies. It has four main parts:

  • Plasma, the liquid part of blood that transports nutrients, waste products, and proteins to various parts of the body, including regulating body temperature and fluid balance

  • Red blood cells, the cells responsible for transporting oxygen to lungs and tissues

  • White blood cells, the cells responsible for protecting against infections

  • Platelets, the cells that form blood clots and prevent blood loss

Cancer is caused by a dysfunction in cellular growth and behavior of white blood cells by excess production of white blood cells in the bone marrow.

There are three primary types of blood cancer:

  • Leukemia is a blood cancer that originates in the blood and bone marrow and is the most common blood cancer for children under the age of 15. Its cancer of white blood cells or cells that become white blood cells. Blood cells are made inside your bone marrow, and that’s where leukemia starts. It causes your body to make white blood cells that grow out of control and live longer than they’re supposed to and prevents white blood cells from fighting infections in your body.

  • Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system which is an important part of the immune system particularly lymph nodes (small bean-shaped structures of the lymphatic system that filter out harmful substances). It affects a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. It’s the most common form of blood cancer in adults, accounting for over half of all diagnosed blood cancer cases.

  • Myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells which affects body’s immune system, leaving it susceptible to infection. Plasma cells are found primarily in the bone marrow. When they grow abnormally, becoming cancerous, it is called multiple myeloma.


  • The most common and dangerous chemical which can cause blood cancer is benzene. Benzene enters the body via air through which exposure to heavy factory smoke and chemicals, formaldehyde etc. makes the person more vulnerable to blood cancer

  • Inflammation is generally a normal physiological response of the body to any injury caused to tissue. Infections that do subside cause chronic inflammations. Chronic inflammation can cause DNA damage and lead to blood cancer.

  • Fanconi anemia is an inherited disease which leads to bone marrow failure. It restricts the bone marrow from making new blood cells for the normal functioning of the body. It also causes the bone marrow to make faulty blood cells and can lead to blood cancer.

  • The Down syndrome have a higher risk of inheriting blood cancer. Here, patients having abnormalities affect the production of blood cells which leads to blood cancer.

  • The tobacco and smoking can severely damage or change the DNA of blood cells which leads abnormal growth and malfunctioning of the cell causing blood cancer.

Symptoms of blood cancer vary by disease but typically include the following:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Fatigue

  • Weakness

  • Bone and joint pain

  • Weight loss

  • Coughing or chest pain

  • Frequent infections

  • Itchy skin or rash

  • Loss of appetite or nausea

  • Night sweats

  • Persistent weakness and fatigue

  • Shortness of breath

  • Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin


Staging is a process that tells the spread and severity of the cancer. Diagnosis and staging often happen at the same time.

Common tests and procedures to diagnose blood cancers may include:

  • Blood tests

  • Bone marrow exam

  • Diagnostic imaging tests — CT scan, PET scan, and x-ray

  • Physical exam

  • Surgical lymph node removal (for examination)

As doctor detects the cancer in the patient then further few more tests are been conducted according to type of cancer detected in the patient. Each type of blood cancer has its own staging criteria.

In case of Leukemia: Doctor will obtain a complete blood count (CBC) test, which can identify abnormal levels of white blood cells relative to red blood cells and platelets.

In case of Lymphoma: Doctor will need to perform a biopsy, which removes a small portion of tissue to be examined under a microscope. In some cases, your doctor may also order an X-ray, CT or PET scan to detect swollen lymph nodes.

In case of Myeloma: Doctor will order a CBC, or other blood or urine tests to detect chemicals or proteins produced as a function of myeloma development. In some cases, bone marrow biopsy, X-ray, MRI, PET, and CT scans can be used to confirm the presence and extent of the spread of myeloma. 


Treatment will depend on the type of blood cancer you have, your age, how fast the cancer is progressing, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.

Common treatments include the following:

  • Chemotherapy: Anticancer drugs are introduced to the body (via injection into the vein or sometimes by taking a pill) to kill and halt the production of cancer cells.

  • Radiation therapy: This form of cancer treatment uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells.

  • Targeted therapies: This form of cancer treatment uses drugs that specifically kill malignant blood cells, without harming normal cells. Targeted therapies are most commonly used to treat leukemia.

  • Stem cell transplantation: Healthy stem cells can be infused into your body to help resume healthy blood production following therapy to destroy malignant blood cells.

  • Surgery: This treatment involves removing the affected lymph nodes to treat some lymphomas.

  • Immunotherapy: This treatment activates the immune system to specifically kill cancer cells.


Avoid exposure to radiation, chemicals such as pesticides or benzene, and to smoking or tobacco in any form.

Additional lifestyle behaviors, such as staying active and eating a healthy diet can help reduce your risk for developing a variety of cancers and other diseases.

Regular screening of cancer can assist in identifying this life-threatening condition in its initial phase. This can facilitate its complete cure by timely removal of precancerous growth.

#3 Lung Cancer

The lungs are two spongy organs in the chest that take in oxygen when we inhale and release carbon dioxide when we exhale. Lung cells most often change because they are exposed to dangerous chemicals that we breathe

Lung cancer is cancer that starts in the lungs. Most often, this change in lung cells happens when people breathe in dangerous, toxic substances. Even if you were exposed to these substances many years ago, you are still at risk for lung cancer.

When cells in the lung change they grow uncontrollably and cluster together to form a tumor. The abnormal cells cluster together to form a tumor destroying the healthy lung tissue around them. These types of tumors are called malignant tumors.

Types of Lung Cancer

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

There are two different types of small cell lung cancer:

  • Small cell carcinoma

  • Mixed small cell/large cell cancer or combined small cell lung cancer.

Small cell lung cancer is almost always associated with cigarette smoking. Small cell lung cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy.

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

This type of cancer usually grows and spreads to other parts of the body more slowly than small cell lung cancer does. There are three different types of non-small cell lung cancer:

  • Adenocarcinoma: A form of non-small cell lung cancer often found in an outer area of the lung.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: A form of non-small cell lung cancer usually found in the center of the lung next to an air tube (bronchus).

  • Large cell carcinoma: A form of non-small cell lung cancer that can occur in any part of the lung and tends to grow and spread faster.


Warning signs of lung cancer are not always present or easy to identify. Besides, patients with small, single masses round tumor often report no symptoms at the time of the cancer discover. Below are few symptoms of person suffering with lung cancer

  • Breathing issues

  • Coughing up blood

  • Fluid in the lungs

  • Chest Pain

  • Blurred vision

  • Headaches

  • Seizures, or symptoms of stroke such as weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Weight loss

  • Depression

  • Persistent bronchitis or repeated respiratory infections


  • Smoking - It is the number one cause of lung cancer. Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that are known to cause lung cancer.

  • Radon - Its exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. It is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that exists naturally in soil. It comes up through the soil and enters buildings through small gaps and cracks. One out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is subject to radon exposure.

  • Genes - Genes also may play a role in one's chances of developing lung cancer. A family history of lung cancer may mean you are at a higher risk of getting the disease.

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke - Even if you don't smoke, your risk of lung cancer increases if you're exposed to secondhand smoke. Suppose you be with the person who smokes frequently then even non-smoker might suffer with lung cancer.

  • Pollution - Evidence shows that particle pollution coming from exhaust smoke increases the risk of lung cancer. So work with others in your community to clean up the air you and your family breathe.


History and physical examination by doctor

This may reveal the presence of symptoms or signs that are suspicious for lung cancer like - Signs of breathing difficulties, airway obstruction, or infections in the lungs.

- Cyanosis, a bluish color of the skin and the mucous membranes due to insufficient oxygen in the blood, suggests compromised function due to chronic disease of the lung. -- - Changes in the tissue of the nail beds, known as clubbing, also may indicate chronic lung disease.

Chest X-ray

The chest X-ray procedure often involves a view from the back to the front of the chest as well as a view from the side. Like any X-ray procedure, chest X-rays expose the patient briefly to a small amount of radiation. Chest X-rays may reveal suspicious areas in the lungs but are unable to determine if these areas are cancerous but sometimes medical professionals may identify calcified nodules in the lungs tumors called hamartomas.

CT (computerized tomography) scans

This may be performed on the chest, abdomen, and/or brain to examine for both metastatic and lung tumors. CT scans are X-ray procedures that combine multiple images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views of the body.

CT scans

It is more sensitive than standard chest X-rays in the detection of lung nodules and will demonstrate more nodules. The most common side effect is an adverse reaction to intravenous contrast material given prior to the procedure. This may result in itching, a rash, or hives that generally disappear rather quickly so not to worry about the side effects

Low-dose helical CT scan (or spiral CT scan)

It is annually in current and former smokers between ages 55 and 80 with at least a 30 pack-year history of cigarette smoking who have smoked cigarettes within the past 15 years.

This screening technique appears to increase the likelihood of detection of smaller, earlier, and curable lung cancers.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

This scans may be appropriate when precise detail about a tumor's location is required. The MRI technique uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures.

There are no known side effects of MRI scanning, and there is no exposure to radiation. The image and resolution produced by MRI is quite detailed and can detect tiny changes of structures within the body.

But important to note that people with heart pacemakers, metal implants, artificial heart valves, and other surgically implanted structures cannot be scanned with an MRI because of the risk that the magnet may move the metal parts of these structures.

Positron emission tomography (PET)

.While CT scans and MRI scans look at anatomical structures, PET scans measure metabolic activity and the function of tissues. This scan can determine whether a tumor tissue is actively growing and can aid in determining the type of cells within a particular tumor.

Bone scans

They are used to create images of bones on a computer screen or on film to determine whether a lung cancer has metastasized to the bones

Sputum cytology

This is the most risk-free and inexpensive tissue diagnostic procedure, but its value is limited since tumor cells will not always be present in sputum even if a cancer is present.

The diagnosis of lung cancer always requires confirmation of malignant cells by a pathologist, even when symptoms and X-ray studies are suspicious for lung cancer.

The simplest method to establish the diagnosis is the examination of sputum under a microscope. If a tumor is centrally located and has invaded the airways, this procedure, known as a sputum cytology examination, may allow visualization of tumor cells for diagnosis.

Furthermore, other diagnosis includes Bronchoscopy, Needle biopsy, Thoracentesis, blood tests, molecular testing and other major surgical procedures.


  • Cessation of smoking and eliminating exposure to tobacco smoke is the most important measure that can prevent lung cancer. Many products, such as nicotine gum, nicotine sprays, or nicotine inhalers, may be helpful to people trying to quit smoking.

  • Using a home radon test kit can identify and allow correction of increased radon levels in the home

  • Methods that allow early detection of cancers, such as the low-dose CT scan, also may be of value in the identification of small cancers that can be cured by surgical resection and prevented from becoming widespread, incurable metastatic cancer.

  • Take precautions to protect yourself from exposure to toxic chemicals at work. Avoid carcinogens

  • Exercise regularly, stay active and choose a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Food sources of vitamins and nutrients are best.

Conclusion -

The first time you say, ‘I have cancer’ out loud is the hardest. The more you say it, the easier it becomes to say the words. The more I talked about my breast cancer, the easier it was for me to accept what I was going through. I found it odd that I sometimes had to cheer up those I was telling about my cancer.” – Cancer Survivor

People with cancer often ask, “What did I do wrong?” or “Why me?” Some people think they’re being punished for their past karma they did or didn’t do in the past. Cancer is not your fault, and there’s almost never a way to find out what caused it. Instead, focus on taking good care of yourself..

Treatments are constantly improving which includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Some people benefit from newer options, such as stem cell transplantation and precision medicine. Moreover improvements in cancer detection, increased awareness of the risks of smoking, and a drop in tobacco use have all contributed to a year-on-year decrease in the number of cancer diagnoses and deaths.

Indeed! Medical practitioners are giving their best to give new life to every cancer patient so that they lead their life peacefully and happy. Stay strong and Happy!

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