Cancer has a major impact on society across the world. Cancer statistics describe what happens in large groups of people and provide a picture in time of the burden of cancer on society. Cancer has become one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Each year so many people die of cancer either because they could not survive the chemotherapy treatments given to them or due to lack of money they could not afford the treatment. The most common Cancers(listed according to estimated new cases in 2020) are Breast cancer, Non- Hodgkin Lymphoma, Kidney and Renal Pelvis cancer, Endometrial cancer, Leukemia, Pancreatic cancer, Thyroid cancer, Liver cancer.
Prostate, lung and colorectal cancers account for an estimated 43% of all cancers diagnosed in men. For Women, the three most common cancers are Breast, lung, colorectal and they account for an estimated 50%.
WHAT IS CANCER?
Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Benign tumors do not spread to all parts of the body whereas Malignant tumors spread to the different parts and grow where ever they get accumulated. Cancerous cells have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissues.
Signs and symptoms caused by cancer vary depending upon the part of body getting infected. Some of the general signs and symptoms associated with the same are:-
- lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin.
- weight changes, including unintended loss or gain.
- skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of skin, sores that won’t heal or changes to existing moles.
- changes in bowel or bladder habits.
- persistent cough or trouble breathing.
- difficulty in swallowing.
- persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating.
- persistent muscle or joint pain.
- persistent fever/night sweats/bleeding.
CAUSES OF CANCER
Factors causing cancer include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiations, mutations in genes and environmental pollutants. Cancer is caused by changes(mutations) to the DNA within the cells(in majority of cases). The DNA inside a cell is packaged into a large number of individual genes, each of which contains a set of instructions telling the cell what functions to perform as well as how to grow and divide. A gene mutation can instruct a healthy cell to:-
- allow rapid growth– a gene mutation can tell a cell to grow and divide more rapidly. This creates many new cells that all have that same mutation.
- fail to stop uncontrolled cell growth– normal cells know when to stop growing but cancerous cells lose the control(tumor suppressor genes) that tell them when to stop growing. A mutation in tumor suppressor gene allows cancer cells to continue growing and accumulating.
- make mistakes when repairing DNA errors– DNA repair genes look for errors in a cell’s DNA and make corrections. A mutation in DNA repair gene means that other errors aren’t corrected.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure- harmful UV rays from the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Exercise most days of a week.
- Maintain a healthy weight- being overweight or obese may increase the risk of cancer.