• Symptoms & Causes
  • Diagnosis & Treatment

Overview

Oncology is a branch of medicine dedicated to diagnosing, treating and researching cancer.

Zivanza brings you access to world-class oncologists that include:

  • Medical oncologists who treat cancer with chemotherapy and other medications.
  • Surgical oncologists who treat cancer with surgery.
  • Radiation oncologists who treat cancer with radiation.

These specialists work as part of a multidisciplinary team which may include a pathologist, radiologist, primary care physician, geneticist, palliative care specialist, oncology nurse, and organ-specific oncologists.

What are the different types of cancer?

Carcinoma – refers to a cancer found in body tissue known as epithelial tissue that covers or lines surfaces of organs, glands or body structures. For example, a cancer of the lining of the stomach is called a carcinoma. Many carcinomas affect organs or glands that are involved with secretion, such as breasts that produce milk. Carcinomas account for 80 percent to 90 percent of all cancer cases.

Sarcoma – refers to a malignant tumor growing from connective tissues, such as cartilage, fat, muscle, tendons and bones. The most common sarcoma, a tumor on the bone, usually occurs in young adults. Examples of sarcoma include osteosarcoma (bone) and chondrosarcoma (cartilage).

Lymphoma – refers to a cancer that originates in the nodes or glands of the lymphatic system — which produces white blood cells and clean body fluids — or in organs such as the brain and breast. Lymphomas are classified into two categories: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Leukemia – also known as blood cancer, is a cancer of the bone marrow that keeps the marrow from producing normal red and white blood cells and platelets. White blood cells are needed to resist infection. Red blood cells are needed to prevent anemia. Platelets keep the body from easily bruising and bleeding. Examples of leukemia include acute myelogenous leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The terms myelogenous and lymphocytic indicate the type of cells that are involved.

Myeloma– grows in the plasma cells of bone marrow. In some cases, the myeloma cells collect in one bone and form a single tumor, called a plasmacytoma. However, in other cases, the myeloma cells collect in many bones, forming many bone tumors — called multiple myeloma.

Symptoms

  • Weight loss - Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be one of the first signs of cancer.
  • Fever - Fevers frequently crop up when a cancer has metastasized. Night sweats often accompany the fevers.
  • Fatigue - Feeling extremely tired can be a symptom of cancer in your body.
  • A lump- A lump or thickening of skin can be an early or late sign of cancer. People with cancers in the breast, lymph nodes, soft tissues, and testicles typically have lumps.
  • Skin changes - Yellowing, darkening, or redness of the skin can signal cancer. Also, sores that don’t heal should be checked out.
  • Pain - Most of the time, pain happens because the cancer has already spread in your body. But pain may be an early symptom of bone cancer or testicular cancer. Back pain is common in people with colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, or ovarian cancer.
  • Bowel or bladder function changes - Constipation, diarrhea, and other bowel issues may be a sign of colorectal cancer. People with bladder cancer and prostate cancer may report pain during urination, blood in the urine, or other bladder-function changes.
  • Cough or hoarseness - A cough that doesn’t go away or a hoarse voice may be a sign of lung cancer, cancer of the larynx, or thyroid cancer.
  • Bleeding - Unusual bleeding is associated with many different cancers. Coughing up blood may signal lung cancer. Bloody stools could be a sign of colon or rectal cancer. Women with cervical or endometrial cancer may experience abnormal vaginal bleeding. Blood in the urine could mean you have bladder or kidney cancer.
  • Changes in your mouth - White patches inside your mouth or on your tongue could be precancers that can turn into oral cancer. Sores, bleeding, or numbness in the mouth may also be a sign of certain cancers.
  • Swollen lymph nodes - Sometimes, enlarged lymph nodes can signal cancer.
  • Anemia - Several cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma, can cause anemia (low red blood cell counts).

Causes

Cancer refers to cells that grow out-of-control and invade other tissues. Cells become cancerous due to the accumulation of defects, or mutations, in their DNA. The same can be caused due to:

  • Inherited genetic defects (for example, BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations),
  • Infections
  • Environmental factors (for example, air pollution), and
  • Poor lifestyle choices -- such as smoking and heavy alcohol use

 

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