Cancer, also called hatred, is an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer, such as breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma, etc. Signs vary depending on the type. Cancer therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
What Is Cancer?
Everywhere our lives, healthy cells in our bodies divide and replace themselves in a controlled method. Cancer starts when a cell is anyhow changed so that it increases out of control. A tumor is a mass made of a bunch of such abnormal cells.
Most cancers form tumors, but not all tumors are cancerous.
Benign, or noncancerous, tumors do not spread to other parts of the body, and do not create new tumors. Malignant or cancerous, tumors push out healthy cells, stop with body functions, and extract nutrients from body tissues.
Cancers continue to grow and spread by direct distance or through a process called metastasis, whereby the cancerous cells travel through the lymphatic or blood vessels — eventually developing new tumors in other parts of the body.
How Is Cancer Diagnosed?
The initial cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of its being cured. Some types of cancer — such as those of the skin, breast, mouth, testicles, prostate, and rectum — may be identified by regular self-exam or other screening tests before the symptoms become dangerous. Most cases of cancer are detected and diagnosed after a tumor can be considered or when other symptoms develop. In a few cases, cancer is diagnosed accidentally as a result of evaluating or treating other medical conditions.
Cancer diagnosis begins with a thorough physical exam and a complete medical history. Laboratory studies of blood, urine, and stool can detect abnormalities that may indicate cancer. When a tumor is suspected, imaging tests such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and fiber-optic endoscopy examinations help doctors determine cancer’s location and size. To confirm the diagnosis of most cancers, a biopsy needs to be performed in which a tissue sample is removed from the suspected tumor and studied under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
If the diagnosis is positive (cancer is present), other tests are performed to provide specific information about cancer. This essential follow-up phase of diagnosis is called staging. The most important thing doctors need to know is whether cancer has spread from one area of the body to another. If the initial diagnosis is negative for cancer and symptoms persist, further tests may be needed. If the biopsy is positive for cancer, be sure to seek a confirming opinion by a doctor who specializes in cancer treatment before any treatment is started.
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