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Uncontrollable and abnormal growth of cells that are capable to invade other body tissues is termed as Cancer. The cancer cells can spread to the different body parts by the means of lymph systems and blood. There are more than 100 types of cancers are there that are named after the type of cell or organ from where they start.
The types of cancer can be categorized into different groups.
The disruption of DNA is the initial phase from where the cancer starts to begin. This disruption is due to many reasons that include use of certain chemicals, diet, reproductive history, sun exposure and tobacco. Also few cells will also come into precancerous phase that is called as dysplasia. The rest left cells will advance into carcinoma in situ state where cancer cells are limited to a microscopic site. A tumor takes about 30 years to grow and produce sufficient symptoms. It has also been seen that not all tumors are cancerous; they are either malignant or benign.
There are typically four stages of cancer -
Stage 0: This stage explains cancer in situ that means 'in place'. These cancers do not spread to other parts of the body and are located at their place from where they have started. In this stage, the cancer is possible to cure by completely removing the tumor with the help of a surgery.
Stage I: In this early stage, the cancer is usually small and the tumor has not developed into the surrounding tissues. These types of cancers do not spread to different parts of the body or to the lymph nodes.
Stage II and III: These two stages define the large size of the tumors. These have grown deep inside the surrounding tissues and have spread only to lymph nodes and not to the different parts of the body.
Stage IV: This stage indicates that the cancer or tumor has spread to different parts of the body. This stage is also known as metastatic or advanced cancer.
A number of options are available for treating cancer. These treatments depend on location, stage, type and extent of the cancer. The different therapies include -
Radiation Therapy: Here Cancer is treated with the help of ionizing radiation. The cells and their genetic material are destroyed by ionizing radiation in the designated area. This therapy makes it impossible for these cells to grow further.
Hormone Therapy: In this therapy, the hormones are used for changing the way these hormones grow in the body that helps cancers to develop.
Chemotherapy: Anti-cancer drug cells are used in chemotherapy. These drugs help in destroying the cancer cells by stopping multiplication or growth. These drugs are given by injecting into a muscle, applied to the skin, by mouth (orally) or into the vein (intravenously). This depends on the drug and also on the cancer type.
Biological Therapy (Immunotherapy): This therapy indirectly or directly uses the immune system of the body in order to fight cancer.
Surgery: Here, surgical removal of the tumor is done. Also lymph nodes and nearby tissue are also removed by the means of surgery. This surgical procedure can either use laser or conventional instruments.
The return of the cancer after its treatment and after a time period is known as cancer recurrence. The same cancer can come back again from where it has started to develop and it can also develop from a different part of the body. The reason of this recurrence is due to few cancer cells that have been left in the body and the treatment was unable to get completely rid of them.
After the cancer treatment, it is essential to drink clean water, minimize stress and eat right food and regular check-ups with your doctor. Aftercare also involves the review of physical exam and medical history of a patient that include endoscopy, imaging procedures and blood work. This aftercare is very important as it helps in determining the changes in health of a patient. Plus it also checks psychosocial and physical effects that may have developed after the completion of the treatment.