Cancer refers to conditions involving the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells.
These cells can form tumors and disrupt the normal functioning of organs.
Cancer cells can spread to surrounding tissues and, in later stages, to other body areas.
Cancer has various causes, including genetic factors, environmental influences, and lifestyle choices.
Early detection and a thorough understanding of cancer is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Causes of cancer
Cancer is a complex disease with multiple origins. The key factors influencing the development of cancer include:
Genetic factors: Inherited genetic mutations can raise the risk of certain cancers.
Environmental exposures: Exposure to substances like tobacco smoke, pollutants, and specific chemicals can potentially play a role in the development of cancer.
Lifestyle choices: Poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking, and a lack of exercise can all increase the risk of cancer.
Infections: Some infections, such as certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis, are associated with an increased risk of various malignancies.
Age: Cancer risk normally increases with age due to genetic changes that accumulate throughout time.
Immunosuppression: Weak immune systems, which are common in HIV/AIDS and post-transplant patients, can increase susceptibility to cancer.
Hormones: Factors like hormonal replacement therapy and reproductive factors can impact the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers.
Symptoms of cancer
Cancer symptoms can vary based on the specific type and stage of the disease. However, there are some general signs that you may want to look out for:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic pain
- Skin changes, such as yellowing or darkening
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Persistent coughing or hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
Anti-cancer medications play a pivotal role in the treatment of cancer.
They are intended to target and restrict the development of cancer cells, limiting their ability to multiply and spread.
Our Anti-Cancer category covers a wide range of medicines, each adapted to specific types of cancer and individual patient requirements.
Chemotherapy uses medicines to kill or decrease the growth of cancer cells. These medicines are taken orally, intravenously, or through injections.
Common chemotherapy medicines include Paclitaxel (Taxol) for breast, ovarian, and lung cancers and Cisplatin for various tumors, including testicular and bladder cancers.
Immunotherapy enhances the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
It includes monoclonal antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors, and adoptive cell transfer.
Some common immunotherapy medications include Pembrolizumab and Rituximab.
Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) targets the PD-1 protein for melanoma, lung, and head and neck cancers.
Rituximab (Rituxan) helps treat certain lymphomas and leukemia by targeting CD20 on B cells.
Targeted therapy (such as Imatinib and Trastuzumab) focuses on specific molecules involved in cancer cell growth.
It aims to disrupt signaling pathways that support cancer cell survival.
Imatinib (Gleevec) is effective against Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) and Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GISTs).
Trastuzumab (Herceptin), on the other hand, targets HER2-positive breast cancers.
This treatment helps modify hormone levels to stop the growth of hormone-sensitive cancers.
Commonly used in prostate and breast cancers, it involves the use of medicines like Tamoxifen and Enzalutamide.
Tamoxifen is used for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, while Enzalutamide (Xtandi) targets androgen receptors, used in prostate cancer.
Questions and Answers about Cancer
Are there side effects of cancer medicines?
Yes, side effects vary but may include fatigue, nausea, hair loss, and immune system suppression.
Can lifestyle changes complement cancer treatment?
Yes, leading a healthy lifestyle can improve general health and the effectiveness of cancer therapy.
How are cancer medicines administered?
They can be administered orally (pills), intravenously (IV), topically, or through injections, depending on the medication and type of cancer.
Can cancer medicines cure all types of cancer?
That is not necessarily true; effectiveness depends on the type and stage of cancer. Some cancers may require a combination of treatments.
Is there a difference between generic and name-brand cancer medicines?
Generic medications contain the same active components as brand-name medications but are usually less expensive.