Cancer begins with a genetic defect. Genes are located within cell structures called chromosomes. They may change (mutate) if the cell's regulatory system fails. A single genetic fault is not usually enough to cause cancer. Instead, cancer develops when mutations take place in genes that play a crucial role in regulating cell growth and differentiation.
There are two kinds of cancer genes:
Sometimes referred to as "chemo, "Chemotherapy is often used to describe drugs that directly kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is cancer-specific and is used:
As with most drugs, chemotherapy drugs do have side effects. These are undesirable effects that are a direct result of taking chemotherapeutic drugs.
Chemotherapeutic drugs may have varied short term and long-term side effects. Most commonly affected parts of the body are: the mouth, skin, intestines, hair and the bone marrow.
Although most anti-cancer drugs have side effects, not everyone will experience them. Occurrence of side-effects and its severity depends on many factors. Some of these factors are the duration of course of treatment, general health of the patient, the dosage of the drug and other drugs that may be given in combination.
Some commonly observed side effects are:
Chemotherapy drugs are powerful medications and, unfortunately, attack also the other normal growing cells in your body — including those in your hair roots.
Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely than others to cause hair loss, from a mere thinning to complete baldness. Chemotherapy may cause hair loss all over your body — not just on your scalp. Sometimes your eyelash, eyebrow, armpit, pubic and other body hair also falls out.
Fortunately, most of the time, hair loss from Chemotherapy is temporary. You can expect to regrow your hair three to six months after your treatment ends, though your hair may temporarily be a different shade or texture.
The main goal is to try to keep your weight constant. Though you may not feel well or may not feel like eating, proper attention to nutrition can assist in an easy recovery.
To minimize weight changes and maintain energy levels, you should try to eat a wide variety of high-calorie and high-protein foods, such as:
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a treatment for cancer that uses high doses of Radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy does not kill cancer cells right away. It takes days or weeks of treatment before DNA is damaged enough for cancer cells to die. Then, cancer cells keep dying for weeks or months after radiation therapy ends.
Radiation Therapy is categorized as External Beam and Internal Beam.
External beam radiation therapy aims at giving Radiation from outside the body to the cancerous tumour.
Internal radiation therapy is the type of radiotherapy in which a source of Radiation is put close to or inside the tumour temporarily to deliver a high dose of radiation precisely in a very short period of time.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS): Radiation treatment of a tumor that is applied in a single fraction or 2-3 fractions with a high dose of Radiation. Benign brain tumors like arteriovenous malformations (AVM), Acoustic schwanommas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas can be treated very effectively with SRS without surgery. Brain metastasis can also be treated successfully with SRS.
SRS for functional radiosurgery: It is widely used in treatment of Trigeminal neuralgia and intractable epilepsy. A relatively new indication is in the treatment of ventricular tachycardia which does not respond to medications.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT): Radiation treatment that uses real-time x-ray and CT imaging to deliver precisely focused high-energy Radiation to a tumor.
Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D-CRT): A set of CT images is used to identify both the tumour and the normal tissue structures that need to be avoided. Then, radiation beams of varying shapes are designed to enter the patient from multiple angles, and the tumour while avoiding nearby healthy tissues.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): It is a high precision radiotherapy technique and can result in better sparing of normal structures than 3D Conformal radiotherapy. It is possible to vary the doses within the tumor in this technique maximizing radiation to the tumour and minimizing radiation to the surrounding normal tissue.
Rapid Arc: It is a more advanced form of IMRT. The treatment delivery is faster and delivers a more conformal dose of radiotherapy and decrease the normal tissue radiation.
Stereotatic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): It is one of the most advanced forms of radiotherapy. High doses of radiotherapy can be delivered within a very short period of time (3-5 days). It is mostly used in early prostate cancer, lung cancer, pancreas & early hepatocellular cancer as a curative modality. It can also be used in lung and liver metastasis as a palliative measure.
Side effects depend on the area of the body that has received Radiation Therapy, such as:
It is important to know that while these signs and symptoms could be indicators, they do not necessarily mean that you have cancer:
A PET CT or a PET scan, as it is commonly known, is an imaging test that allows the doctor to check for diseases. This scan uses radioactive tracers which accumulate in the areas of the body where there is an increase in chemical activity which is characteristic of only certain type of cells and tissues in the body. It can measure the blood flow, amount of oxygen and sugar used, as well as other factors which are indicative of cancerous growth.
Cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate than noncancerous cells, because of this high level of chemical activity, cancer cells show up as bright spots on PET scans. PET scans are useful both for:
However, these scans should be interpreted carefully by your doctor, as it's possible for non-cancerous conditions to look like cancer on a scan.
Both men and women are vulnerable to any form of cancer, but each gender is vulnerable to certain types of cancer than the other. Listed below are the most commonly occurring cancers in men, as per the national cancer statistics (ref: cancerindia.org.in)
Both men and women are vulnerable to any form of cancer. Still, each gender is more vulnerable to certain types of cancer more than the other. Listed below are the most commonly occurring cancers in women, as per the national cancer statistics (ref: cancerindia.org.in)
Cancer treatment options include: