Cancer

Cancer
Image taken from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/cancer-oncology

 

Introduction

Cancer is a term used for a large group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade other tissues. Other common terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Cancer is not just one disease, but it is many diseases. There are more than hundred kinds of cancer.

Global situation

  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally and accounted for 8.8 million deaths in 2015, i.e. 1 in 6 of all global deaths.
  • Over the next two decades, the number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70%
  • About 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low and middle-income countries.
  • Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths.
  • US$ 1.16 trillion is the estimated total annual economic cost of cancer in 2010.
  • The most common causes of cancer death are cancers of:
  • Lung (1.69 million deaths)
  • Liver (788 000 deaths)
  • Colorectal (774 000 deaths)
  • Stomach (754 000 deaths)
  • Breast (571 000 deaths)

Risk factors for cancers

  • Tobacco use including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Unhealthy diet with low fruit and vegetables intake
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Alcohol use
  • Sexually transmitted HPV-infection
  • Infection by hepatitis or other carcinogenic infections
  • Ionizing and ultraviolet radiation
  • Urban air pollution
  • Indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels

Prevention

  • Increase avoidance of the risk factors listed above
  • Vaccinate against HPV and hepatitis B virus
  • Control occupational hazard
  • Reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation

Screening methods

  • Visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for cervical cancer in low-income settings
  • HPV testing for cervical cancer
  • PAP cytology test for cervical cancer in middle- and high-income settings
  • Mammography screening for breast cancer

Treatment

  •  For adequate and effective treatment a correct cancer diagnosis is essential. It’s because every cancer type requires a specific treatment regimen that encompasses one or more modalities such as surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.
  • Determining the goals of treatment and palliative care is an important first step, and health services should be integrated and people-centered.
  • The main goal is generally to cure cancer or to considerably prolong life and to improve the patient’s quality of life.
  • This can be achieved by supportive or palliative care and psycho-social support.

 

Palliative care

  • A palliative care is a treatment to relieve, rather than cure, symptoms caused by cancer and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
  • Relief from physical, psychological, and spiritual problems can be achieved in over 90% of advanced cancer patients through palliative care.

 

 

 

 

 

References

  1. CDC
  2. WHO
  3. NCBI
  4. Medicalnewstoday