What Is Cancer? What Causes Cancer?
Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by out-of-control cell growth. There are over 100 different types of cancer, and each is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected.
Cancer harms the body when damaged cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors (except in the case of leukemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream). Tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems, and they can release hormones that alter body function. Tumors that stay in one spot and demonstrate limited growth are generally considered to be benign.
What causes cancer?
Cancer is ultimately the result of cells that uncontrollably grow and do not die. Normal cells in the body follow an orderly path of growth, division, and death. Programmed cell death is called apoptosis, and when this process breaks down, cancer begins to form. Unlike regular cells, cancer cells do not experience programmatic death and instead continue to grow and divide. This leads to a mass of abnormal cells that grows out of control.
Three Types Of Cancer Detection Facilities
Sonomammography For Breast Cancer Detection
Breast ultrasound or sonomammography is good option working since the early 50s.
Ultrasound imaging is based on acoustic impedance (a product of the density of the observed tissue and the ultrasound velocity along that tissue). ultrasound looks for shape and texture, besides microcalcifications.
- Breast Ultrasound can detect whether a lump is a malignant mass or a benign cyst.
- Ultrasound It is relatively inexpensive
- Sonomammography is painless.
- Sonomammography scans the whole breast.
- Ultrasound is safer: mechanical waves with very low power and very short exposition time.
- Ultrasound works for dense breast.
- Modern Ultrasound devices are digital and can use computer-aided detection systems very easily. The included images of breast cancer show a working example of ultrasound CAD. This technique enhances the information by increasing the contrast with color. A newer technique, under development – Ultrasound color pre processing, will disclose new information.
Pelvic Sonography For Ovarian Cancer Detection
Ovarian cancer: This cancer usually occurs in women over age 50 but can affect younger women. It causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system and is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer in the developed world. Its cause is unknown.
Pelvic ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the organs in the pelvis, including the ovaries. The test usually involves using an ultrasound wand on the abdomen and inside the vagina. When used as a screening test for ovarian cancer, vaginal ultrasound can find between 80 and 100 percent of ovarian cancers. However, ultrasound cannot always tell the difference between ovarian cancer and other more common conditions (ovarian cyst, endometriosis).
Ovarian cancer screening may be recommended if you have a high risk family history of ovarian cancer and:
- You have a BRCA mutation and you have your ovaries
- You have Lynch syndrome (also called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer [HNPCC]) and you have your ovaries
Ovarian cancer screening may also be considered for women who are eligible to have genetic testing (because of their high-risk family history) but who have chosen not to have genetic testing. In this group, ovarian cancer screening may be recommended, starting at age 30 to 35, or 5 to 10 years earlier than the age when the youngest family member was diagnosed. Screening may include a blood test for CA-125 and a pelvic ultrasound
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
During the early stages of ovarian cancer, symptoms are often vague and ill-defined. Symptoms may include pelvic or abdominal discomfort, bloating, difficulty eating or feeling full, increased abdominal size, or rushing to urinate frequently. However, these symptoms can also be caused by many other conditions.
Pap Smear For Cervical Cancer Detection
Cervical cancer: The cancer is caused by several types of a virus called human papillomaviruses (HPV). HPV spreads through sexual contact. Most women’s bodies are able to fight this infection. But sometimes the virus leads to cancer. You’re at higher risk of cervical cancer if you smoke, have many children, have many sex partners, use birth control pills for a long time, or have HIV infection.
The cancer may not cause any symptoms at first, but later, you may have pelvic pain or bleeding from the vagina. It usually takes several years for normal cells in the cervix to turn into cancer cells. A test called a Pap smear is very effective in screening for cervical cancer. The Pap test is helpful in detecting cervical cancer.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for around 70% of cervical cancers
Signs and Symptoms
- Bleeding that occurs between regular menstrual periods
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse, douching or a pelvic exam
- Menstrual periods that last longer and are heavier than before
- Bleeding after going through menopause
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain
Current treatments for all three cancers, especially in advanced stages, include surgery followed by chemotherapy or a combination of chemo and radiation therapies.
Cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue. Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat), can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
- The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
- Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
- A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
- Ear pain
- A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
- Dramatic weight loss
If you notice any of these changes, contact your dentist or health care professional immediately.
Risk factors for the development of oral cancer include:
- Smoking. Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers.
- Smokeless tobacco users. Users of dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancers are about six times more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers.
- Family history of cancer.
- Excessive sun exposure, especially at a young age.
It is important to note that over 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally.
How Is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discolored tissue as well as check for any signs and symptoms mentioned above.
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