A Life risk - Cancer
A Life Risk - Cancer
Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs. Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as metastasis. There are over 200 different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment .
How common is cancer ?
Cancer is a very common condition. More than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. Among, the four most common types of cancer are
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Bowel cancer
Spotting signs of cancer
Changers to your body's normal processes or symptoms that are out of the ordinary can sometimes be an early sign of cancer. For example, a lump that suddenly appears on your body, unexplained bleeding or changes to your bowel habits are all symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor .
In many cases, your symptoms won't be related to cancer and will be caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions. However, it's still important for you to see your GP (doctor) so that they can investigate your symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of cancer
It's important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body, such the sudden appearance of a lump, blood in your urine or a change to your usual bowel habits
These symptoms are often caused by other, non-cancerous illnesses, but to see your GP (doctor) so he/she can investigate. Other potential signs and symptoms of cancer are outlined below.
Lump in your breast
See your GP of you notice a lump in your breast, or if you have a lump that's rapidly increasing in size elsewhere on your body. Your GP(doctor) will refer you to na specialist for teste if they think you may have cancer.
Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness
Visit your GP(doctor) if you've had a cough for more than three weeks. Sypmtoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain may be a sign of an acute (severe) condition, such as pneumonia. See your GP straight away if you experience these types of symptoms.
Changes in bowel habits
See your GP(doctor) if you've experienced one of the changes listed below and it's lasted for more than a few weeks:
- Blood in your stools
- Diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
- A feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
- Pain in your abdomen(stomach) or your anus (back passage)
- Persisten bloating
You should also see your GP(doctor) if you have any unexplained bleeding, such as:
- Blood in your urine
- Bleeding between periods
- Blood from your back passage
- Bood when you cough
- Blood in your vomit
See your GP(doctor) if you have a mole that:
- Has an irregular or asymmetrical shape
- Has an irregular border with jagged edges
- Has more than one colour (it may be flecked with brown, black, red, pink or white)
- Is gigger than 7mm in diameter
- Is itchy, crusting or bleeding
Any of the above changes means there's a chance you have malignant melanoma (skin cancer)
Unexplained weight loss
You should also see your GP(doctor) if you have lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months that can't be explained by changes to your diet, exercise or stress.
Surgery is the primary treatment option for most types of cancer, because solid tumours can usually be surgically removed. Two other commonly used treatment methos are chemotherapy (powerful cancer-killing medication) and radiotherapy ( the controlled use of high-energy X-rays)
Accurately diagnosing cancer can take weeks or months. As cancer often develops slowly, over several years, waiting for a few weeks won't usually impact on the effectiveness of treatment. You should't have to wait more than two weeks to see a specialist if your GP suspects you have cancer and urgently refers you.