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Cancer: Your guide to hope!

You probably know that cancer is a chronic disease that has physical and mental consequences. But did you ever wonder what is cancer or how cancer develops? Knowing this and the various types of cancers that may occur can help you in times of need.

Your guide to hope!

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Do you know what is cancer and how a cancerous cell affects you? Cancer awareness is vital to save the lives of millions around the world. Read to learn more!

What is cancer?

Cancer is a group of life-threatening diseases. It forms when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably and spread to different parts of the body. Your body is made up of trillions of cells. It is normal for human cells to grow and multiply as your body requires them. This process is called cell division. New cells replace the damaged or dead cells. Cancer is diagnosed when abnormal body cells spread in an uncontrolled manner.

Cancer is the second leading cause of mortality worldwide. Lung, colorectal, liver, and prostate cancer are some common types of cancer in men. Breast, cervical, and thyroid cancer are common among women.

Now that you know what is cancer, have you ever wondered how cancer develops? Cancer may develop when the control mechanism of your body stops functioning or if there are genetic changes in the process. Here, older and damaged cells grow out of control instead of dying. This leads to the formation of new abnormal cells. The abnormal cancerous cells form a mass known as a tumor. However, certain cancers such as leukemia do not lead to the formation of tumors. Cancer can form in any part of your body.

Causes of cancer

Below are certain risk factors that may act as the causes of cancer:

Genetic changes

The mutation of DNA in your cells can cause cancer. DNA contains instructions for the cells on what functions to perform and how to grow and divide. An error in these instructions can prevent cells from functioning normally. This gives rise to cancerous cells. A cancerous cell fails to stop and keeps growing.

Family history

Some early signs of cancer can occur due to inheritance. A family history of cancers can put you at risk of several types of cancers.

Age

Although cancer can occur at any age in your life, it is more commonly diagnosed in older people. Typically, it affects people older than 65 years of age. This is because several types of cancer can take years to develop.

Viral and bacterial infections

Several bacterial and viral infections can cause certain types of cancer. For instance, the human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with cervical cancers, penile cancers, and some head and neck cancers. Similarly, cancer such as liver cancer is linked with exposure to Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B virus.

Unhealthy habits

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol, exposure to the sun, being obese, unprotected sexual intercourse and more can put you at risk.

Environment

Factors such as exposure to secondhand smoke, harmful industrial chemicals, occupation, and unhealthy health conditions can increase your risk.

Early signs of cancer

The signs of cancer may differ for the different types of cancer. Below are some common early signs of cancer that may help identify the disease.

  • Continuous coughing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Hoarseness
  • Lumps
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Yellowing or darkening of the skin
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Indigestion
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Persistent fever and night sweats
  • Uncontrollable weight changes

Types of cancer

Here are some common cancers that various types of cancer cells may cause:

  • Lung cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Brain and spinal cord tumors
  • Head and neck cancers
  • Leukemia
  • Carcinoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma

When is Cancer Awareness Day?

Did know that 1.1 million cancer cases are reported in the country each year? November 7 is observed annually as National Cancer Awareness Day in India to raise awareness about cancer. World Cancer Day is observed every year on 4th February across the globe to create cancer awareness. It seeks to educate people about cancer with the aim of preventing millions of deaths due to the disease.

Read through articles on the causes of cancer and different types of cancer in detail. Our informative articles will guide you with effective tips to survive cancer and lead a fuller life. They will also help you understand the habits that are good for you and the steps you need to take.

If you or someone you know suffers from early signs of cancer, seek medical help immediately by booking an online doctor consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health. You can also buy health plans under Aarogya Care to safeguard your family from the medical expenses that may arise due to critical illnesses. This way, you can avail timely treatment and prevent further complications.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some early signs of cancer that you should not ignore. However, the signs and symptoms may differ for each different types of cancer.
- Cough or hoarseness
- Fatigue
- Eating problems
- Bleeding or bruising
- Fever or night sweats
- Neurological problems
- Swelling or lumps
- Weigh changes for no reason
- Skin changes
- Bowel changes
- Bladder changes
- Breast changes

Researchers found that certain viruses can cause cancer. Viruses are small organisms formed from DNA or RNA genes. The following viruses can be the causes of cancer:
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Human T-cell leukemia virus type, also called human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1)

The process through which cancerous cells spread to other body parts is known as metastasis. Here, cancerous cells break down from the area they first formed. Then, these cells travel to other parts of the body through the blood or lymph system. They form new tumors in the parts of the body they have travelled. Although cancer can spread to any body part, it mainly affects the liver, lungs, and bones.

 

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