Posted on November 15, 2023 · Posted in General, Memo Plus Gold, Personal

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease that develops when cells in your body divide at a faster rate than normal. These abnormal cells grow into a lump – or tumour.

How is the stage of cancer determined?

Your healthcare provider will perform tests to determine the extent and severity of your cancer. A number will then be assigned to your diagnosis. The higher the number, the more cancer has spread.

What are the four stages of cancer?

Most cancers have four stages. The specific stage is determined by a few different factors, including the size and location of the tumour:

  • Stage I: Cancer is localized to a small area and has not spread to lymph nodes or other tissues.
  • Stage II: Cancer has grown, but it has not spread.
  • Stage III: Cancer has grown larger and has possibly spread to lymph nodes or other tissues.
  • Stage IV: Cancer has spread to other organs or areas of your body. This stage is also referred to as metastatic or advanced cancer.

Though Stages I through to IV are the most common, there is also Stage zero. This earliest phase describes cancer that is still localized to the area in which it started. Cancers that are still in Stage zero are usually easily treatable and are considered pre-cancerous by most healthcare providers.

What are the 5 types of cancer?

There are five main types of cancer. These include:

  • Carcinoma. This type of cancer affects organs and glands, such as the lungs, breasts, pancreas and skin. Carcinoma is the most common type of cancer.
  • Sarcoma. This cancer affects soft or connective tissues, such as muscle, fat, bone, cartilage or blood vessels.
  • Melanoma. Sometimes cancer can develop in the cells that pigment your skin. These cancers are called melanoma.
  • Lymphoma. This cancer affects your lymphocytes or white blood cells.
  • Leukemia. This type of cancer affects blood.

What causes cancer?

Several factors contribute to the development of cancer in your body. Smoking and using tobacco products are one of the main causes of:

  • Lung cancer.
  • Oral cancer.
  • Laryngeal cancer.
  • Esophageal cancer.

Other causes of cancer include:

  • An unhealthy lifestyle. Eating high-fat or high-sugar foods can increase your risk for many types of cancer. You are also more vulnerable to disease if you do not get enough exercise.
  • A toxic environment. Exposure to toxins in your environment, such as asbestos, pesticides and radon can eventually lead to cancer.
  • Radiation exposure. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun significantly increases your risk for skin cancer. Over-exposure to radiation treatment can also be a risk factor.
  • Hormone therapy. Women who are taking hormone replacement therapy may have an increased risk for breast cancer and endometrial cancer.

How is cancer treated?

Once your medical team has given you a diagnosis, they will design a personalized treatment plan based on their findings. Cancer treatment may include:

  • Chemotherapy. One of the most common cancer treatments, chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given through an intravenous or in pill form.
  • Radiation therapy. This treatment kills cancer cells with high dosages of radiation. In some instances, radiation may be given at the same time as chemotherapy.
  • Surgery. In some cases, your surgeon can surgically remove the tumour.
  • Hormone therapy. Sometimes hormones can block other cancer-causing hormones. For example, men with prostate cancer might be given hormones to keep testosterone (which contributes to prostate cancer) at bay.
  • Biological response modifier therapy. This treatment stimulates your immune system and helps it perform more effectively. It does this by changing your body’s natural processes.
  • Immunotherapy. Sometimes called biological therapy, immunotherapy treats disease by using the power of your body’s immune system. It can target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact.
  • Bone narrow transplant. Also called stem cell transplantation, this treatment replaces damaged stem cells with healthy ones. Prior to transplantation, you will undergo chemotherapy to prepare your body for the process.

As usual, we remind you to take your Memo Plus Gold daily. It will help to keep you alert and mentally sharp.

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