A2Z of Cancer: From Detection to Treatment

Cancer, a silent and deadly disease, claims millions of lives across the globe each year. However, once an unchanging death-sentence, cancer is now very much treatable if diagnosed in the earlier stages.

Medical advancement in treating advanced stages of cancer has started showing promising results as well. From CRISPR to targeted drugs like Trastuzumab & Dabrafenib, medical science will probably cure cancer in the coming decades.

However, as far as traditional and effective cancer therapies go – they are equally effective in restoring the quality of the life for the patient. Especially, if the treatment is taken care of by a centre of medical excellence like AIMS India.

In this blog, we will discover about cancer, its diagnoses and treatment for the best possible chance of full recovery.

Let us get going!

What is Cancer?

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of unusual cells anywhere in a body. These abnormal are termed cancer cells, malignant cells, or tumor cells., malignant cells, or tumor cells. malignant cells, or tumour cells. These cells can infiltrate normal body tissues. Many cancers and the abnormal cells that compose the cancer tissue are further identified by the tissue’s name that the abnormal cells originated from (for example, breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer).

Such damaged cells, due to the mutation in the DNA, refuse to die via a natural process called apoptosis. They undergo rapid division and growth to form masses of damaged cells that refuse to die – called a cancerous tumour.

Cancer cells can also break away from this original mass of cells, move through the blood and lymph systems, and lodge in other organs where they can again replicate the uncontrolled growth cycle. This process of cancer cells leaving an area and growing in another part of the body is called metastasis.

Early Symptoms of Cancer: Signs to look out for

Cancer may develop in a patient’s body without any noticeable symptoms. Also, since there are too many types of cancers (more than 200), pinpointing a symptom for cancerous development in the body seems improbable.

However, there are some generic signs you must keep an eye on. If you experience or witness someone else undergoing the following symptoms, consult a qualified cancer specialist at the earliest;

  • Unexplained rapid weight loss
  • Blood in cough and spit
  • Blood in urine
  • Fever, sleeplessness and unexplainable body ache
  • Constant fatigue
  • Lumps that won’t go away

If you experience any of the above symptoms for a week or more, contact AIMS immediately.


How is Cancer Diagnosed?

An Oncologist may use physical examination, lab tests, and imaging tests to perform initial diagnoses. However, a biopsy is often the only way to confirm if a growing lump in your body is cancerous or normal.

Typically, the following diagnoses approaches are taken to determine whether a patient is suffering from cancer or not.

Laboratory tests – Laboratory tests, such as urine and blood tests, may help your oncologist identify abnormalities that can be caused by cancer. For instance, in people with leukemia, a standard blood test called complete blood count may reveal an unusual number or type of white blood cells.
Imaging tests – Imaging tests allow your physician to examine your bones and internal organs in a non-invasive way. Imaging tests used in diagnosing cancer may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, ultrasound, X-ray, etc.
Biopsy – During a biopsy, your physician collects a sample of cells for testing in the laboratory. There are several ways of collecting a sample. Which biopsy method is right for you depends on your type of cancer and its location.
Highly capable centres for cancer treatment like AIMS may also use a Gamma Camera and Mammography to diagnose cancer.

What is the course of treating a cancer patient?

Once cancer is diagnosed, your Oncologist will determine the stage (or severity) of your cancer. Your treatment options will depend upon the cancer stage which will be either I, II, III or IV. The bigger the stage, the more difficult the cancer is.
Staging tests and procedures may include imaging tests, such as bone scans or X-rays, to see if cancer has reached other parts of the body.
Once your oncologist has ascertained everything that needs to be done to cure it, he/she may take either of the following 3 routes;

  • Medical (Chemotherapy) – Destroying cancer with targeted drugs
  • Surgical Oncology – Removing a mass or cancerous tumour with the surgical procedure to prevent metastasis or further spread
  • Radiation Oncology – Targeting the cancerous tissue with high-powered radiation to destroy all the harmful cells
    When it comes to treating cancer and ensuring quality healthcare, trust only the experts. Keep an eye on the symptoms and maintain a healthy lifestyle!
    To your good health 🙂
    Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors