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Cancer

Cancer can strike anyone, at any age. This is why it's important for everyone to understand its risks, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Learn all you need to know, here.

FAQs

What is cancer?

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"Cancer is a disease that happens when abnormal cells invade and destroy normal body tissue. These cells grow uncontrollably and can spread to different tissues in other parts of the body, a process called metastasizing."

Who can get cancer?

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"The short answer: Anyone can get cancer. That said, there are certain factors that increase the risk of getting cancer. These include age, genetics, and for certain types of cancer, exposure to certain triggers. Almost 9 out of 10 cancer cases are diagnosed in people aged 50 and above. Meanwhile, between 5 to 10 percent of cancers are linked to genes inherited from parents. Lifestyle choices and environmental exposure can also increase your risk of getting cancer: Spending too much time under the sun without UV protection can lead to skin cancer. Additionally, using tobacco can cause cancer of the lungs, mouth, throat, and other organs."

Is there a cure for cancer?

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"There is no cure for cancer just yet. But people undergo treatment of certain cancers and many of them go into remission – meaning they no longer experience any cancer symptoms. Some survivors in remission are lucky to have their symptoms gone for good. But for others, remission does not always last – cancer cells may grow in another organ and form a new tumor, forcing patients to undergo another round of treatment."

Can I prevent myself from getting cancer?

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"While there is no sure way to prevent yourself from getting cancer, there are certain steps you can take to reduce your risk for certain types of cancer. Maintaining a nutrient-rich diet while cutting down on red meat and sweets, staying away from tobacco and alcohol, and staying out of the sun can lower your chances of getting cancer. New vaccines and diagnostic tools also help reduce cancer risk. The HPV vaccine can prevent HPV (human papillomavirus) infection, which is linked to six cancer types. Meanwhile, coming in for regular cancer screening tests can help detect cancer before it causes symptoms, making it easier to treat successfully and greatly improving chances of recovery."

What are the available treatments for cancer?

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"There are 3 common treatments for cancer: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. A person with cancer may undergo any of these treatments; some patients may have all of them. Deciding on the treatment plan will depend on factors such as the type of cancer, what stage it is in, as well as other considerations like the person’s overall health and possible side effects. That said, there are new breakthroughs continuously being made in cancer research, offering more ways to treat people with cancer. Some of the newer yet likely costlier treatments include stem cell transplant, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy – the latter usually done in combination with other treatments such as chemo."

Is cancer contagious?

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No, cancer is not contagious. Whether it is being in close contact with someone who has cancer, sharing food, or kissing, this will not spread cancer. If you have a loved one who has cancer, don’t be afraid to pay them a visit or spend time with them. They will need your support especially if they are undergoing treatment.

What is a tumor?

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A tumor is a lump or mass of tissue that forms when cells divide and grow excessively. A tumor can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

What are the stages of cancer?

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"Once healthcare providers detect a cancerous growth, doctors will run a series of tests to determine how large the cancer is, and whether it has spread to different organs. This is important to identify the proper course of treatment and chances of recovery. Most cancer types have four stages. Stage I (1) is early-stage cancer, meaning it has not spread to nearby body tissues; Stage II and III (2 and 3) are still low-stage cancers that may have grown deeper in nearby tissues, but have not yet spread to other body organs; Stage IV (4) is advanced or metastatic cancer, meaning the cancer has spread to different parts of the body."

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