Cancer – Prevention & Treatment
Cancer is a disease in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth. This growth invades and intrudes and destroys tissues adjacent to these cancer cells. The cancer cells becomes tumor cells and spread to other locations in the body through blood stream or through lymph. Cancer cells which grow uncontrollably affects many organs such as brain, bone, liver, or other organs.
Cancer has been divided into two groups owing to its causes, those with an environmental cause, and those with a hereditary genetic cause. Cancer is primarily an environmental disease, though genetics influence the risk of some cancers. Some of the common environmental causes for cancer include: tobacco use, over weight (obesity), poor diet, exposure to radiation, sedentary life style, pollutants, exposure to suns harmful ultraviolet rays and other environmental pollutants. These environmental factors cause or enhance abnormalities in the genetic material of cells. Cell reproduction is an extremely complex process that is normally tightly regulated by several classes of genes, including oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. The presence of cancer can be found through clinical signs and symptoms, or through medical imaging and further with diagnosis of cancer, and microscopic examination of a biopsy specimen.
Treatment of cancers are primarily through chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. The prognosis in cancer is greatly influenced by the type and location of the cancer and the extent of disease. Cancer affects people of all ages, and a few types of cancer are more common in children than in adults, the overall risk of developing cancer generally increases with age.
Prevention of Cancer
Most cancers can be prevented, by having a healthy diet, avoid smoking (active and passive), avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation. Maintaining a strong immune system and particularly an abundant supply of dietary antioxidants are equally important.
A healthy diet is one that contains an abundance of fresh, preferably organically-grown fruits and vegetables. The daily diet should be rich in fiber and low in fat. Protein intake should be moderate and red meat consumption should be limited. Sugar, alcohol, margarine and pickled, smoked, salted, and barbecued foods should be avoided.
Few types of cancer are; breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosisLack of physical activity has recently been implicated in the development of both breast and colon cancer. A lack of sunlight has also been implicated in the development of breast and colon cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, leukemia, throat cancer etc.
It is important to get at least one half hour of unprotected sunlight every day and remember – sunscreens block the formation of vital vitamin D and do not protect against melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma.
Getting daily exercise and avoiding excessive psychological stress are also important preventive measures.
Raffles Hospital, in Singapore has been serving cancer patients with its various departments of oncology and hematology.