February 4th is recognized as World Cancer Day. Cancer is still one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Last year, it was estimated that there will be over 1 million new cases of cancer and over 600,000 deaths from it.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a name given to a collection of related diseases. It occurs when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working. So, instead of old cells dying, they grow out of control, giving way to the development of new, abnormal cells.
Unlike normal cells, cancer cells ignore signals that normally tell the cells to stop dividing. So, they grow out of control and become invasive. Cancer cells can also influence normal cells and evade the immune system and other cells of the body that protect it from infection and other conditions.
What causes cancer?
Cancer can develop as a result of mutations or changes of the DNA within the cells. There are several factors that can lead to these gene mutations. They can be a result of heredity, lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, or exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of cancer vary, depending on the affected site. But generally, cancer can cause any of the following:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Presence of lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
- Skin changes
- Changes in bowel movement or bladder habits
- Persistent cough
- Unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Unexplained or persistent fever
- Difficulty swallowing
Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer
There is better prognosis or outcome when cancer is diagnosed at its early stages. To diagnose cancer, a physician may use a variety of approaches. It is commonly a combination of physical exam, laboratory tests, imaging tests, and biopsy.
Treatment options for cancer will depend on several factors, such as the type and stage of cancer, a person’s general health and personal preference.
Some cancer treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted drug therapy, and stem cell transplant.
Premier Surgical Oncologists
If you’re experiencing unusual signs and symptoms that lead you to believe you may have cancer, you should schedule an appointment for the problem to be assessed immediately.
The experienced surgical oncologists at Premier Surgical in Knoxville, Tennessee can assess your condition and provide you with the most suitable surgical treatment options if you are diagnosed with cancer. We understand that a cancer diagnosis brings stress and worry in the lives of the patient and their loved ones. We are equipped to provide patients with the best options for comprehensive, state-of-the-art care. Visit our website to learn more about our surgical oncology services.