About Cancer

Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Incidence of Cancer is increasing as more people live to an old age and as lifestyle changes occur in the developing world.

Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, nonhealing ulcer, difficulty in swallowing, difficulty in breathing, change in voice, abnormal bleeding, change in size and colour of mole, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss and a change in bowel movements. Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths. Another 10% is due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity and drinking alcohol. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation and environmental pollutants. In the developing world nearly 20% of cancers are due to infections such as Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and Human Papilloma virus (HPV). Approximately 5–10% of cancers are due to inherited genetic defects from a person's parents.

Many cancers can be prevented by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking too much alcohol, eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, vaccination against certain infectious diseases, not eating too much processed and red meat, and avoiding too much sunlight exposure. Early detection through screening is useful for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer. Cancer is often treated with some combination of radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Pain and symptom management are an important part of care. Palliative care is particularly important in people with advanced disease. The chance of survival depends on the type of cancer and extent of disease at the start of treatment.

The most common types of cancer in males in India are Mouth and Throat Cancer, lung cancer, Esophagus/Stomach Cancer, prostate cancer. In females, the most common types are breast cancer, Cervix (lower end of uterus), Mouth and Throat Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and colorectal cancer. In children, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Blood Cancer) and brain tumors are most common.