Cancer – Oncology

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world today. Studies show that one in three people will suffer from some form of cancer in their lifetime. There are many different kinds of cancer that effect different parts of the body. Cancer is treated in various different ways. Some forms of cancer are curable, and some are not. Cancer usually comes from the formation of a tumor. Tumors form in the body when cells are produced unnecessarily. That is to say, that new cells are formed when they are not needed, and they group together to form a tumor.

The tumor can be benign, which means that it is non-cancerous, or it can be malignant, which means that it is cancerous. If cells break away from a malignant tumor, they will enter the bloodstream, and spread throughout the body, damaging other parts of the body. The earliest written record regarding cancer is from 3000 BC in the Egyptian Edwin Smith Papyrus and describes cancer of the breast. Cancer however has existed for all of human history. Hippocrates (ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC) described several kinds of cancer, referring to them with the Greek word carcinos (crab or crayfish).

This name comes from the appearance of the cut surface of a solid malignant tumor, with “the veins stretched on all sides as the animal the crab has its feet, whence it derives its name”. The Greek, Celsus (ca. 25 BC – 50 AD) translated carcinos into the Latin cancer, also meaning crab and recommended surgery as treatment. Galen (2nd century AD) disagreed with the use of surgery and recommended purgatives instead. These recommendations largely stood for 1000 years. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, it became more acceptable for doctors to dissect bodies to discover the cause of death.

The German professor Wilhelm Fabry believed that breast cancer was caused by a milk clot in a mammary duct. The Dutch professor Francois de la Boe Sylvius believed that all disease was the outcome of chemical processes, and that acidic lymph fluid was the cause of cancer. His contemporary Nicolaes Tulp believed that cancer was a poison that slowly spreads, and concluded that it was contagious. The physician John Hill described tobacco snuff as the cause of nose cancer in 1761. This was followed by the report in 1775 by British surgeon Percivall Pott that cancer of the scrotum was a common disease among chimney sweeps.

With the widespread use of the microscope in the 18th century, it was discovered that the ‘cancer poison’ spread from the primary tumor through the lymph nodes to other sites (“metastasis”). This view of the disease was first formulated by the English surgeon Morgan between 1871 and 1874. Quite often, cancer appears with no definite cause. However, there are some activities that people engage in, that increase the risk of cancer. Smoking can cause cancer of the lung, mouth, and throat. Alcohol can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, and liver. Also, exposure to radiation and sunlight (or ultra-violet rays) can cause skin cancer.

The exact cause of cancer still remains a mystery. Cancer can be detected early on by certain symptoms. As cancer progresses through its various stages, it will produce certain symptoms. The symptoms depend on the size and location of the cancer. In some areas, symptoms will not appear until the cancer is very large, making the cancer much more difficult to treat. The general symptoms of cancer are fever, fatigue, severe weight loss, an altar of metabolism, blood clots, weakness and dizziness, and sores that don’t heal. There are various different methods of treatment for cancer.

Surgery is typically the first choice of most patients. If the cancer is localized, meaning it hasn’t spread, surgery is the best option. The surgeon will remove the tumor and the surrounding tissue. Surgery offers the greatest chance of a cure. The next method of treatment, which is usually a patient’s second choice, is chemotherapy. This method treats cancer cells that have spread. Chemotherapy is used depending on the type of cancer, and the stage it is in. Chemotherapy will usually slow the cancer down, and keep it from spreading, and occasionally offer a cure.

Chemotherapy specifically treats cancer by injecting strong medicine to a patient, and allowing the drugs to travel throughout the body. This treatment is given in cycles. The total course lasts six months. It reduces the risk of the cancer returning. The side effects include vomiting, hair loss, infections, and fatigue. The last treatment, which is usually a last resort, is Radiation. Radiation also treats localized cancer. It destroys cancer cells, so they don’t multiply. It is used alone, or in addition to Chemotherapy. More than one half of people with cancer undergo Radiation.

Radiation is the process of external high-energy rays or implants inserted near the tumor, destroying the cancer cells. Radiation is given five days a week for five to eight weeks. There are certain kinds of doctors who specialize in the treatment of cancer. These doctors are known in the medical world as Hematologists and Oncologists. These doctors specialize in the medical diagnosis and the treatment of cancer. They specialize in choosing between chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. They are trained to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of cancer, and to diagnose the various types of cancer.

Cancer can be detected in a number of ways, including the presence of certain signs and symptoms, screening tests, or medical imaging. Once a possible cancer is detected it is diagnosed by microscopic examination of a tissue sample. Cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. The chances of surviving the disease vary greatly by the type and location of the cancer and the extent of disease at the start of treatment. While cancer can affect people of all ages, and a few types of cancer are more common in children, the risk of developing cancer generally increases with age.

In 2007, cancer caused about 13% of all human deaths worldwide (7. 9 million). Rates are rising as more people live to an old age and as mass lifestyle changes occur in the developing world. The term remission refers to a period of time when the cancer is responding to its treatment. When a patient is in remission, the cancer is under control. When someone is in complete remission, all signs and symptoms disappear. In partial remission, the cancer shrinks, but is still there. Remission can last anywhere from several weeks too many years.

If the disease returns, another remission can be followed by further treatment. With all kinds of cancer, there are seven major warning signs. These seven signs found in one person would indicate that the person may be suffering from some type of cancer, and this person should see a doctor immediately. The seven warning signs are a significant change in bowel or bladder habits, a sore that does not heal, unusual bleeding or discharge, thickening or lumps in breast, indigestion or difficulty swallowing, obvious changes in wart or mole, and a nagging cough or hoarseness.

Bibliography Cancer – PubMed Health. 3 September 2012. 12 November 2012. <http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002267/>. Klosterman, Lorrie. Cancer. Tarrytown: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2006. Learn About Cancer – American Cancer Society. n. d. 12 November 2012. <http://www. cancer. org/cancer/index>. Lewis, Jacqueline. Your Guide to Cancer. Tottanham Court Road, 2005. What is cancer? – National Cancer Institute. 6 February 2012. 12 November 2012. <http://www. cancer. gov/cancertopics/cancerlibrary/what-is-cancer>. Word Count: 1,247.

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