Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the body. The symptoms are dependent upon the type of cancer. Some cancers show no symptoms at all and there are many cancers of which the cause remains unknown.
There are a range of tests used to diagnose cancer. Most cancers are diagnosed through biopsies. Treatment depends upon the type of cancer and the stage the cancer is in. The stage of any cancer is determined by how much the tumor has grown and whether it has spread.
A diagnosis of cancer causes much anxiety for both the patient and loved ones. There are support groups across the country to help cope with this terrible disease. A patient’s prognosis depends on the type of cancer. Even with the same type of cancer, the outcomes vary depending on the stage of the tumor and how early the diagnosis was made.
Grady, D. (2008, August 2). Cancer patients, lost in a maze of uneven care. New York Times , http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/cancer/overview.html.
# 1 What is Cancer?
The human body is made up of many living cells. Normal cells grow, divide, and die. Cancer is a disease of the cells; it often begins when abnormal cells divide without control. They then can invade tissues and even spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems called metastasis.
# 1 What is Cancer? (continued)
Cells can become cancerous because of damage to the cell’s DNA (DNA directs all of the cells’ actions). In cancer cells damaged DNA is not repaired, and the cell will go on making new cells with the damaged DNA. These mutations in the DNA may promote cell growth, interfere with growth restraint, or prevent cell death. Cancer can often arise slowly developing over several decades. The abnormal mass of cells is called a tumor.
Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer; they have different characteristics, occur in different locations of the body, take different courses, and require different treatments.
Works Cited -What is Cancer? National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/what-is-cancer. Updated 5/11/09 -Whiney, E. a. (2008). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth. -What is Cancer? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_1x_What_Is_Cancer.asp . Updated 2010
# 2 Cancer Prevention
There are many things that affect your risk of getting cancer. Some of those things are within your power to control such as what you consume, your activity level and other life style behaviors. Let’s look at seven simple things to do to prevent increasing your risk of cancer.
1. Don’t smoke. Smoking is one of the most preventable causes of death in our nation.
2. Keep a healthy weight. Obesity has been determined to be a risk factor in contracting colon, breast, endometrial, kidney and esophageal cancers.(Whitney, 2008)
3. Exercise for 45 minutes a day. People with a vigorous lifestyle have been shown to have a reduced risk of colon cancer (Whitney, 2008)
4. Eat less red meat and more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Saturated and trans-fat have been connected to a higher risk of
cancer while fruits, vegetables and whole grains have a protective effect.
#2 Cancer Prevention (continued)
5. Limit alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day for women, or two for men. Alcohol use has been linked to increased risk mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, breast, colon and rectum and the
risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. 6. Practice safe sex. Both HPV, the most common STD, and Hepatitis B can cause cancer. 7. Protect your skin from sun exposure .
The sun's UV rays cause the vast majority of skin cancers includi.ng melanoma,
which can be life-threatening. Sun screen alone is not a good enough
preventative measure. One needs to wear protective clothing or seek
shade as well.
Works Cited Greviskes, A. (April 15, 2010). The cancer blog: Develop a cancer prevention program, http://www.thecancerblog.com/ . Whiney, E. a. (2008). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.
# 3 Treatments
There are several types of treatments that can help to reduce and eliminate cancer cells: chemo therapy, radiation therapy, biologic therapy, surgery and bone marrow transplant. There are also some natural types of treatments such as herbs and vitamins to help boost the immune system. There are many factors that go into deciding which treatment is the best option. Factors include the type of cancer, location, whether or not the cancer has spread and the patient’s general health as well as other things. (Denton, 2010)
Chemotherapy The use of chemical agents to stop cancer cells from growing. (Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, 2010)
Radiation Radiation damages the DNA of cells with high energy x-ray which kills them or at least slows their reproduction. Radiation also damages regular cells but because they grow more slowly than the cancer cells, they can more easily repair themselves. (Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, 2010)
Biologic Therapy This therapy may encourage your body to produce more of its natural defenses, or the therapy may be a man-made version of a naturally occurring substance itself. There are also therapies that use cells which have been removed from the patient's body and altered in a laboratory and then returned back into the patient’s body. (Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, 2010)
#3 Treatments (continued)
Surgery This is the oldest form of cancer treatment. It usually involves the removal of cancerous tumors. It could be to remove the cancer all together, to allow easier access to other tumors or as pain management if the tumor is pressing on a nerve or bone. (Mayo Staff, 2009)
Bone Marrow Transplant Usually a patient first receives radiation or chemotherapy to destroy the cancer cells within the bone. The marrow is harvested either from the patient themselves or a donor and then transplanted with the hopes that the new young cells will go into the now open spaces and regenerate healthy cells. (Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, 2010)
Natural Alternatives Vitamin E is recommended for prostate cancer. Acupuncture can help alleviate vomiting and nausea. Massage is recommended to also alleviate nausea as well as stress and lymph drainage for lymphoma. (Whitney, 2008)
Works Cited Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. (2010). Cancer treatment information . Retrieved April 27, 2010, from Oncolink: http://www.oncolink.org/treatment/ Denton, L. (2010, April 27). Blog Be a cancer survivor– Advice about successful treatment met. Retrieved April 27, 2010, from Cancer Help Center: http://www.cancer-helpcenter.com/be-a-cancer-survivor-advice-about-successful-treatment-met/ Mayo Staff (2009, August 22). Cancer surgery: Physically removing cancer. Retrieved April 27, 2010, from Cancer: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-surgery/CA00033 Whiney, E. a. (2008). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.
# 4 Side Effects and Symptoms
ANEMIA -can be caused by radiation or chemotherapy, making red blood cell count drop. -get plenty of rest and conserve energy -do daily exercise such as walking -be sure to eat -sit and stand slowly -follow your doctors advice and keep them up informed of your symptoms
FATIGUE -can be cause by cancer type and treatment, and is usually worse just after treatment -can be caused by anemia, malnutrition due to suppressed appetite, or depression -remember to eat healthy foods -keep your doctor informed -engage in moderate exercise -plan a rest regimen with 15-20 minute naps throughout the day -massage, acupuncture, and relaxation therapies may be helpful
HAIR LOSS -caused when chemotherapy and radiation kill fast growing cells -not all treatments cause hair loss -use baby shampoo, or other protein based shampoos and conditioners -use satin or silk pillow cases -avoid daily washing, braids, driers, straighteners, other processing, or dyes. -in cases of hair loss, remember to use sunblock -insurance may cover the cost of a wig
# 4 Side Effects and Symptoms (continued )
CONSTIPATION -can be caused by a decrease in activity and fluids, and an increase in medication -drink 8-10 glasses of decaffeinated beverages daily -eat foods containing fiber -use laxatives and stool softeners with the advice of your doctor
LYMPHEDEMA -accumulation of lymphatic fluids that can cause abnormal body swelling -can occur after cancer treatment -can induce bacterial infections -take caution with personal hygiene and follow doctors orders -lymphedema can occur up to 15 years after surgery
CHEMOTHERAPY INDUCED DIARRHEA -you may use immodium, stopping only once all signs of diarrhea are gone for 12 hours -stay hydrated with at least 6-8 glasses of non-caffeinated fluid per day -drink a little at a time as often as you can using water, clear soups, or gatorade -do not drink milk, coffee, alcohol, very hot or very cold beverages. -do not eat fatty, spicy or high fiber foods, raw fruits or vegetables, beans, popcorn, nuts, or chocolate Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Symptom Management. http://www.dana-farber.org/can/symptom-management/ Visited 4/26/10.
CLICK HERE FOR A YOUTUBE VIDEO ON SYMPTON MANAGEMENT
Cancer patients should eat small meals frequently and rotate between drinking and eating. Patients should also avoid lying down after meals. Vitamins and minerals may help manage symptoms and enhance treatment, but should only be taken under the advice of a doctor.
Cathcart, David. Chemotherapy Cancer Treatments and Side Effects: Nutrition for Chemotherapy Side Effects. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEqhDOOCKKU. Visited 4/26/10
# 5 Screening and Testing
Cancer screening refers to processes by which cancer can be detected before symptoms occur. This often increases chances for recovery. TYPES OF TESTS
There are over 200 different types of cancer, and many different methods of testing. The following are basic categories of screening for cancer. 1.) Physical Examination and History: -A doctor examines the body for lumps, changes, and any other abnormalities. The doctor also considers age and personal history. This is the primary and least invasive of all screening methods. 2.) Laboratory Tests: -Samples of blood, urine, tissue biopsies, or other bodily substances are used to detect cancer. 3.) Imaging Procedures: - Images of the internal body systems can be obtained and analyzed
through X-ray, MRI, CT Scans, Colonoscopy, Endoscopy, Mammography etc. 4.) Genetic Tests: -Tests that screen for mutations in DNA which can cause cancer.
# 5 Screening and Testing (continued)
FACTS ABOUT SCREENING AND TESTING -Screening tests have risks which should be discussed with your doctor -Screening tests, particularly exploratory procedures, can cause trauma to internal organs -False positive and false negative results are possible.
-Follow ups are important. -Detecting certain cancers may not improve health. Some cancers do not cause symptoms and are not life threatening, but if detected, treatment may cause harmful side-effects. National Cancer Institute. Cancer Screening Overview. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/overview/patient. Visited 4/28/10.
# 5 Tests to Detect Cancer
Bone marrow biopsy
Bone marrow or stem cell transplant
Stool DNA Tests
# 6 Foods That Fight
Unfortunately there is no single food that can prevent and protect you from cancer. There is evidence
that minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals in plant based foods may interact in ways that can boost
anti cancer effects.
What is most important before you have cancer and while you have cancer is essentially the same-
taking in nutrients with a whole foods diet and trying to avoid excess chemicals. Some established dietary guidelines are to eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in fat and rich in high-fiber grains, fruits, and vegetables. Eating a predominantly plant based diet can not only prevent weight gain but can protect against those cancers whose risk is increased by body fat.
Legumes - Contain saponins, protease inhibitors and phytic acid. These phytochemicals appear to protect our cells from damage that can eventually lead to cancer. Beans are rich in fiber and has been proven to decrease the risk of colon cancer .
Berries - are among the most powerful anti-cancer food, they are rich in ellagic acid. This phytochemical acts as an antioxidant and helps the body to destroy specific carcinogens.
Cruciferous and Dark Green Vegetables - are high in both B-complex and D vitamins. Examples of cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. In laboratory studies, these vegetables have been shown to shrink prostrate and colon cancer tumors. Eating them is believed to reduce the development of colon polyps (a precursor to colon cancer), even in those people who are genetically predisposed to them. Dark Green veggies contain carotenoid. Researchers believe that carotenoids prevent cancer by acting as antioxidants (removing free radicals from the body before they can do any harm).
# 6 Foods That Fight (continued)
Garlic- Can boost your immune system and breakdown cancer causing substances. Garlic contains allium compounds these are known to block carcinogens from entering your cells and later developing into cancer. In animal studies, Allium vegetables have slowed the development of cancer in stomach, breast, esophagus, colon and lung cancers.
Flaxseed- is full of antioxidants and high in omega-3 fatty acids. It has shown to protect against breast and colon cancer.
Grapes and Grape Juice- Grapes are rich in resveratrol, a natural phytochemical. Studies suggest that resveratrol possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In lab studies resveratrol demonstrated the ability to slow the growth of cancer cells and inhibit the formation of tumors in lymph, liver, stomach and breast cells.
Green Tea- Black and green teas contains polyphenols and flavonoids which have antioxidant properties. Polyphenols shut down and prevent tumors from growing by cutting off the blood supply. green tea has been shown to slow or completely prevent cancer in colon, liver, breast and prostate cells.
Whole Grain- means that all three parts of the grain kernel (germ, bran and endosperm) are included. Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and hundreds of natural plant compounds. In addition research points to specific substances in whole grains that have been linked to lower cancer risk including antioxidants, phenols, lignans, and saponins.
Works Cited http://health.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/02/08/10-cancer-fighting-foods/ http://www.aicr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=foodsthatfightcancer_home
# 8 Cancer Support Groups
There are several support groups to cancer patients and their families.America Cancer societies, Make A wish foundation, American Lung Associations and several others.
# 9 Mental Health
Cancer patients experience significant physical and psychological stress. Many suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. Cancer treatment programs include a holistic approach to treating cancer which includes treating the body and mind. Among them are Pet therapy, healing hands, art, and music therapy
Studies have shown that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from stress management training that helps them cope with pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
Pet Therapy is the use of certified dogs to visit and comfort cancer patients while hospitalized.
Cancer patients have also reported benefits from Healing hands a type of energetic and spiritual massage therapy.
Hill, P. (2006). Therapy dogs comfort kids in stressful places. Albany Times Union.
# 10 New Developments
CANCER SCREENING IN THE NEWS Cancer screening tests, procedures, and standards of care are constantly being changed and updated. Be sure to keep up with the news and talk to your doctor. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE63Q1QS20100427
This article is from Reuters, April 27th 2010. It explains that HPV tests are proving more effective for cervical cancer screening than the traditional pap smear for women aged 30 and over. This could mean less frequent testing (every 5 years) because cervical cancer is a slow growing cancer.
A new five-minute test, conducted at age 55, could save 3,000 lives a year, the researchers said. The test involves examining the lower bowels with a scope and removing any polyps which could eventually become cancerous. (2010, Smith)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just approved Dendreon's Provenge® (sipuleucel-T) to treat certain men with advanced prostate cancer . This heralds an advance in the development of biological therapy for cancer treatment. Provenge is the first product approved in a new therapeutic class known as active cellular immunotherapies.
For more on Cancer Research check out http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/
Kellen, Kate. HPV tests better for cervical screening - experts. Reuters. April 27, 2010. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE63Q1QS20100427
Kilbert, A. FDA Approval of new Prostate Treatment Shows Promise of Cancer Immunotherapy. PRWeb. April 29, 2010.