Among all the malignancies that children are confronted with Brain Tumor is the most common one.15% to 20% of the children are affected with this disease.
Cancer is treated in many ways, and Chemotherapy is one of them.
To treat a cancer patient through Chemo, some special drugs are used to kill the cancer cells that have grown in the body. Certain cancers can be treated only with Chemotherapy, and certain cancers are treated with Chemo combined with Radiation Therapy and Surgery.
Chemotherapy and Appetite:
Patients who are undergoing Chemotherapy, the intake of food is also important as they may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation.
Patient need not be on a special diet while undergoing chemo. But they need to have a nutritious and a well-balanced diet so that the patient can withstand the side effects of the treatment, stop weight loss, reduce the risk of infections and it also helps the patient recover fast. These days there are a variety of dietary supplements and anti-cancer diets, but nothing like a well-balanced diet-home made food.
Generally, it is very common during chemotherapy to lose appetite. The digestive system, from mouth, throat, stomach and intestines can get affected, causing the loss of appetite. Sometimes due to depression, also one may lose appetite. But still, this will not stay forever. After treatment, the patient will get back his appetite.
Weight loss with Chemotherapy:
- As a result of chemotherapy treatment, there may be a weight loss.
- This decreases strength, causes weakness & tiredness, and can also reduce the interest in performing daily activities.
The Side Effects of Weight Loss are
a) loss of appetite.
b) smell and taste changes.
c) Dry or sore mouth
d) nausea, vomiting
e) constipation or diarrhoea
An oncologist can help the patient with these side effects and advice the patient how to manage the diet.
Eating Well With Chemotherapy:
Eating well means taking a diet –variety and well-balanced one which provides all the calories and nutrients needed like-protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Three meals every day, that should include foods that the patient enjoys.
Energy-rich foods are carbohydrates like-bread, rice, pasta, yam, potatoes, chapattis and cereals for each meal.
Protein-rich foods are—meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, beans, yoghurt, tofu or lentils at least twice a day.
Food with minerals and vitamins include fruits and vegetables that should be included in every meal like carrots, cucumber, apples, plums, pears, oranges and peaches.
Fluids like-apart from water, tea, coffee, fruit juice, soups, milky drinks and smoothies at least six to eight cups, can squeeze a lime, add a fruit juice to water for better taste.
Avoid consuming alcohol totally during chemo treatment as chemotherapy is taxing on the liver.
Kidneys need plenty of fluid to excrete chemotherapy medicines.
Some patients may gain excess weight during chemotherapy. There are a few reasons for this-
- a) physical activity decreased,
- b) overeating,
- c) stress, boredom,
Immediately this may not be a concern, but in the long run gaining weight will be a problem.
Here again the treating doctor’s advice helps.
Food Safety And Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy can cause the skin to break down and reduce the white blood cells in the body. So food safety becomes a must while chemo treatment is going on to reduce the risk of food safety.
The first and foremost of food safety is to cook the food properly to reduce the germs.
Store food at the right temperature to reduce the growth of germs.
Must avoid contamination of food after cooking.
The other ways of ensuring food safety are:
- Always check the expiry date on food labels.
- Avoid buying damaged vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid buying damaged or broken packaging.
- Chilled and frozen food should be brought home as early as it is bought.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk and milk products.
- Avoid smoked fish, raw sprouts, raw beef, raw eggs.
Duration To Get Back Appetite After Chemotherapy
- Generally it takes two to three weeks once chemotherapy stops to get back the appetite.
- If it does not, consult the treating doctor.
- It also depends on the kind of chemotherapy medicine that was given.
- you can also eat food that smells and tastes good.
- go for a 30 minute walk before eating, it will help;
- eat small meals and snacks each day after the chemo treatment.
- set the table, play your favorite music, watch TV or eat with someone, so that you will eat well, after the treatment stops.
Eating Out During Chemo:
Eat freshly prepared food, ask for it.
- served food should be very hot, and cooked thoroughly.
- always avoid buying food from bars, outside vendors, ice cream vans and buffets- the food might be stale.
Food Preparation During And After Chemotherapy
- Hands should be washed thoroughly.
- If you touch any raw food such as eggs, fish, meat, poultry, vegetables and fruits, wash hands thoroughly.
- Surface where the food is to be prepared, should also be clean.
- Cooked food should not come into contact with raw foods, even the utensils and clothes should not be kept near cooked food.
- Keep a separate chopping board for cutting raw food and ready to eat food.
- Wash fruits, vegetables and salads thoroughly before eating.
Awareness About Chemotherapy And Appetite:
Many patients are not aware that appetite plays a major role before, during and after chemotherapy. They need to schedule the type of food, precautions to be taken and to eat a well balanced diet. To also take small meals, keep snacks handy and juices to take at regular intervals will help to recover fast.
It is always important to discuss with the doctor about the minerals, dietary supplements and herbs if you take before the chemotherapy begins and the advice is very helpful. This awareness is also a must. Awareness about your diet, exercise, talking to others and joining a support group also helps to talk about and listen to the diet plans of others, to cope with the treatment.
Cancer is deep inside the body. Even if it shrinks or grows, the patient won’t be able to see or feel it. So after the diagnoses of the cancer, the doctor generally will choose the treatments that can cure the cancer. Based on the location of the cancer in the body, the size, and the test results the doctor will decide whether to continue with the treatment that has been started or shift to another treatment.
WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT RESPONSE MEAN?
The terms used by the doctor to check how the treatment is working are:
- A partial response or remission: this means the tumor has shrunk by 50%, and it is still there.
- A complete response or remission: means the cancer can’t be measured, and the cancer too small to find through any tests.
- Stable: The state of the cancer is the same it has not got worse or improved.
- Progression: means has grown or spread. The treatment needs to be changed to control it.
TESTS TO CHECK THE TREATMENT RESPONSE:
The treating doctor may call you a number of times after treatment to check if the cancer has come back or spread. The doctor also monitors for the side-effects of the treatment. A few tests will be conducted, like the ones done earlier to the treatment to see if the cancer treatment is working. The tests are:
- BLOOD TEST: Certain enzymes or proteins are released by the cancer cells or the organs when the tumor grows, so the blood tests help to check the levels of these in the blood.
- TUMOR MARKERS: The doctor tests the blood, urine or tissues to see if the proteins, enzymes and other chemicals which are released by the tumor have progressed.
- X-RAY: To check where the cancer cells are in the body and if the cancer has spread to the bones.
- The other tests are CT scan, MRI and PET to check the location in the body and if the treatment is working.
- MAMMOGRAM: This test helps to look for cancer in the breasts.
The type of test and how often it is taken depends on the type of cancer and treatment given.
SYMPTOMS THAT CANCER HAS COME BACK OR SPREAD AFTER TREATMENT:
- A new growth or lump under the skin.
- Continuous pain in the bones, joints, or bones broken.
- Headaches, dizziness, changes in the vision, if the cancer has spread to the brain.
- Cough, trouble breathing, this means cancer has spread to the lungs.
- Belly pain, itching eyes or skin turn yellow, this indicates cancer has spread to the liver.
- Nausea, vomiting and fever.
These symptoms can also be the side effects of the cancer treatment, better to see the treating doctor immediately.
CANCER AND CHEMOTHERAPY
When cells in the body grow uncontrollably it leads to cancer. The deaths that are caused by cancer is second only to that from cardiovascular disease. Great improvements have been made in the treatment of cancer in the past 50 years. As it is a major health concern, efforts have been made to find new therapeutic approaches. In the past the treatments were surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Through these treatments the growth of the tumor was stopped and cured also.
Chemotherapy, was started in 1940s, before that is was only surgery. The combination of treatment started in 1960s. One advantage in chemotherapy was that it targeted a specific difference between tumors and normal tissue.
Chemotherapy drugs are used to treat a variety of cancers. Chemotherapy is a drug treatment where powerful chemicals are used to kill the fast growing cells in the body.
- Chemotherapy can be used as a sole treatment for cancer.
- After surgery if any cancer cells are left in the body, chemotherapy is used to kill the remaining cancer cells.
- Chemo is also used to shrink the cancer tumor. Chemotherapy is used to ease signs and symptoms of cancer by killing some of the cells.
SIDE EFFECTS OF CHEMOTHERAPY DRUGS
Not every chemotherapy drug has side effects; each drug has a different effect. The common side effects are:
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, loss of appetite, tiredness, fever, pain, mouth sores, constipation, fever and bleeding.
There is no need to worry as most of these side effects can be prevented or treated, and once the treatment is over the side effects subside.
How often a patient should receive chemotherapy the doctor decides based on the drug that would be given. Chemotherapy can be received in a doctor’s clinic, in an outpatient chemotherapy unit or at home if pills are given. The doctor meets the patient often during the chemotherapy treatment to check for side effects, response to the treatment so that the treatment can be adjusted accordingly.
REASONS FOR THE FAILURE OF CHEMOTHERAPY
There are a number of reasons for the failure of chemotherapy:
- Cancer becomes resistant to many drugs.
- So some cancer cells survive and grow again.
- The tumor cells can arise from stem cells.
CHEMOTHERAPY DOES NOT WORK. WHAT NEXT?
The doctor might suggest new treatments with different combinations of chemotherapy drugs.
The Oncologist along with the patient will consider whether with more treatment the health will improve.
Whether it is better to stop chemo and start another treatment, this is called a second-line of treatment. Stopping the treatment does not mean care is stopped, another course of treatment starts which is best for the patient.
It is also better to take the opinion of your treating doctor, other members of the treatment team and family members.
SUCCESS RATE OF CHEMOTHERAPY:
Chemotherapy is a powerful treatment, where with drugs damaged cancerous cells are treated. The main goal of this treatment is to see that the cancer cells don’t grow or multiply.
It has been seen five years after the treatment 47% of the patients have survived, based on the grade and stage of the cancer and the type of treatment.
educating the family, friends and coworkers that after the last chemotherapy it would take 6,9 or even 12 months for improvement.
A perfect clean house and doing things that enjoy the patient can increase the survival rate.
Do not over do things and feel tired for a few more days.
AWARENESS OF TREATING CANCER WITH CHEMOTHERAPY:
Patients think that chemotherapy kills every single cancer cell in the body during the first treatment itself. They need to be educated that chemotherapy treatments are given in repeating cycles. The length depends on the drugs being given and that there is a gap between the treatments. Sometimes chemotherapy alone can’t cure the cancer, it has to be combined with other treatments. This awareness must be brought about especially among the educated public.
Diabetes is a disease, in which there is a defect in insulin secretion, insulin action or both. Diabetes can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.
Diabetes is of two types- TYPE I—Insulin deficiency, resulting in Hyperglycemia.
TYPE 2—It is associated with liver disorders like liver enzymes,
Fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and acute liver failure.
The patients who have diabetes are at a higher risk of getting cancers like Pancreatic, Liver, Breast, Gastric and Female Reproductive Cancers. Both diabetes and cancer are prevalent diseases in the world. In recent times people dying of cancer has increased among those who have diabetes than those without diabetes. Detecting cancer at an early and properly treating diabetic patients can improve the patients’ condition.
TYPES OF CANCERS IN DIABETIC PATIENTS:
The highest risk in a diabetic patient is liver cancer. This risk is present in both men and women.
Liver steatosis, hepatitis and cirrhosis are common in diabetic patients and are risk factors for Hepatocellular Carcinomas (HCC ).
The patients who have type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk of developing HCC, the most common type of liver cancer.
The medicines diabetes patients take to control their blood sugar are a risk of getting liver cancer.
a)The treatment is FIRST LINE TREATMENT—a drug known as METFORMIN is given.
b) SECOND LINE TREATMENT: Insulin and Sulfonylureas are given.
c) THIRD LINE TREATMENT: Glitazones are given.
- Type 2 diabetes is the risk factor for PANCREATIC Cancer.
- Pancreatic Cancer can also cause diabetes.
- Almost half of the patients with pancreatic cancer have high blood sugar levels.
- This cancer develops when cancerous cells grow, divide and spread in the pancreas.
- The 6-inch long, spongy tube, located in the back of the abdomen, behind the stomach is the pancreas.
- Most of the pancreatic cancers are not diagnosed early as the symptoms are only back pain and indigestion.
- So it is better to check for pancreatic cancer first, for those who are above 50 years.
- Doctors conduct a few tests for it like CT and MRI scans, only on those patients who have diabetes as its costly and try to diagnose pancreatic cancer.
- Those people who have diabetes must often check the blood sugar levels, eat right, be active and take proper medicines to avoid major problems from occurring.
- Sometimes after surgery automatically, diabetes becomes normal.
FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE CANCERS
If a patient has diabetes for a long time, it affects the blood vessels and nerves of the female genitals and leads to cancer.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease and a risk factor for many Endometrial, Cervical, Ovarian and Vulvar Cancers in women. It is mainly on account of insulin resistance, chronic inflammation and high ovarian steroid hormones.
Obesity is a common factor of diabetes, which causes hormonal imbalance in the body, and that causes endometrial cancer.
Type 2 diabetes in women leads to breast cancer and mainly among women in their postmenopausal period. Breast cancer is mostly among well do families because of their lifestyle and socioeconomic status, sedentary life diet high in carbohydrates, sugars and consumption of animal fats.
Cervical cancer is one of the most common gynaecological cancers in women globally, and those having diabetes are prone to it. Ovarian cancer is diagnosed among women 65 years and who are already in the menopause stage.
DIABETES-DNA DAMAGE and CANCER
DNA is a chemical found in the nucleus cells that makes up chromosomes. It is important for all cells and organisms. An organism in a human body can do nothing without a DNA.
Diabetes can cause DNA damage, and it causes mutations, cancer, free fatty acids, high glucose, and hypoglycemia.
- Patients with type 2 diabetes have increased levels of DNA damage.
- DNA damage leads to various types of mutations to cause cancer cells changes and increase cancer risk.
- If a person lives long enough, at least one of his cells will gather a set of mutations sufficient for cancer to develop.
- DNA can also be a biological link between diabetes and cancer.
- If DNA damage occurs in a gene, errors build up in other genes, and cancer occurs.
- Obesity can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer.
- Ultraviolet and other types of radiation can damage DNA.
DIABETES AND CANCER TREATMENT AND DIET
8% TO 18% of cancer patients have diabetes, a chronic condition where it becomes difficult to regulate blood sugar levels. When cancer sets in, diabetes treatment takes backstage. But managing blood sugar levels can help the patient’s health to improve faster.
- Radiation therapy, steroids and a few types of chemotherapy can play upon the blood sugar levels.
- If blood sugar levels are not controlled, the side effects of chemotherapy can lead to dehydration and affect other organs also.
- So during treatment, blood sugar levels must be controlled to stay hydrated and to feel better.
- Type 2 Diabetes can also be managed with a healthy DIET.
- A well-balanced diet throughout the day like eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and eating low in fat and adequate calories helps the blood sugar levels under control.
- If the patient has energy light, exercise also helps, moderate to vigorous exercise as days go by helps.
- Alcohol is also high in calories and sugar and can damage the cells, which lead to cancer. So women can have one drink per day and men two drinks per day.
- During and after cancer treatment, blood sugar levels must be under control.
AWARENESS THAT DIABETES CAN LEAD TO CANCER
Many people urban or living in rural areas, educated or uneducated are not aware of the symptoms, risk factors and lifestyle choices are commonly associated with diabetes and can also lead to cancer. In future, these realities of the dangerous diseases must be made known to people at the earliest, so that if diagnosed, can be treated early for better living.
Super Car owners’ donning T- shirts & cars sporting stickers of “I AM and I WILL” spread the message of early detection & prevention of Cancer
A teenager or teen is a person who falls within the ages of 13 to 19 years old. A teenager is also addressed as an adolescent. WHO also considers ages between 10 and 21 as teenagers, as the brain develops in the 20s. After 20, a person is no longer a teenager. Adolescence is a transition period from childhood to adulthood.
Teenagers, these days get stressed out easily. They are very sensitive and vulnerable. They face unique medical, psychosocial and supportive care needs. The quality of life that should be led is lost before they are adults, so they face a number of medical problems, and Cancer is one of them.
Cancers in teenagers are different than in those found in adults and are more likely related to genetic and exposure to risk factors in early life. Though cancer is a common disease these days, teenagers getting it is rare. Less than 1% of cancer patients are teenagers.
Causes of Cancer In Teenagers:
- In adults the risk factors that have caused cancer is because the people have faced those risks for a long time, like lifestyle, smoking, too much consumption of alcohol exposure to pollution and so on
- Some teenagers inherit gene mutations from parents and are prone to some cancers.
- Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun
- Tanning beds increase the risk of Melanoma
- If treated with Chemotherapy and Radiation in childhood, cancer can increase the chances of getting a second cancer for a teenager, like leukemia
- Infection with HIV can get Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and other cancers.
Symptoms of Cancer in teenagers
- Generally, in teens, the symptoms are not seen immediately as they can overlap with other illnesses or injuries.
- Teenagers may feel run-down, get sick, have bumps or bruises but may not be cancer.
- The common symptoms of cancer can be:
- A lump or swelling in the neck, belly, testicle or in any other part of the body.
- Tiredness or loss of energy.
- Bruises and abnormal bleeding
- Fever that remains and pain in one part of the body
- Headache, vomiting
- Changes in the vision
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- A new mole or spot on the skin that changes color, size and shape
Seeing a Doctor:
If these symptoms are there, it’s better to see a doctor without any delay. Then medical history is seen, and a physical exam is done. Special tests and exams are taken, like blood test, X-rays, CT scans. If the doctor thinks that in these tests there are signs of cancer then the teenager will be referred to a specialist. The specialist will go in for biopsies depending on the location of the tumor or lump.
Things that Don't Cause Cancer
Kissing, getting killed in the balls, sitting on the toilet seats if public places, overeating ketchup, mobile phones, keeping the phone in the bra, cancer causes hair fall and so on.
Types of cancers in Teenagers:
Lymphomas that starts in the immune system cells known as lymphocytes. It starts in the lymph nodes or lymph tissue like tonsils or thymus.
Leukemia Cancers of the bone marrow and blood. This cancer is fast growing in teenagers, so they need to be treated as soon as diagnosed.
Thyroid Cancer. This is common in young women than in young men. A lump is found in the front part of the neck. The patient can experience pain or swelling in the neck. Problem in breathing, swallowing or there may be a change in the voice.
Brain and spinal cord tumors. In teenagers tumors may be found in lower or upper part of the brain. They may experience numbness, weakness, problems in the coordination of the arms and legs and bladder or bowel problems.
Testicular cancer. A lump is found on the testicle or it is swollen or becomes larger in size. They may or not be a pain. Most of these cancers are cured.
Sarcoma bone or soft tissue cancer. Patient can have pain and swelling around the bone area. The common places for this cancer is the hip, the chest wall—ribs and shoulders. While the soft tissue Sarcoma can occur in any part of the body, generally arms or legs.
Melanoma, if this runs in the family than teenagers can get it. A new spot on the skin can appear that changes the color, size and shape. It can be treated if diagnosed early.
Ovarian cancer. In young women this cancer is known as Germ Cell tumors. Bloating, belly pain or urinary symptoms are seen.
Late Effects of Cancer in Teenagers
Even after surviving, teenagers continue to go through physical, psychological and social risks.
When compared with older survivors, teenagers have psychosocial difficulties, pulmonary complications and the fear of a second malignancy.
Discontinue of education, employment and marital status also face problems.
The treating doctor can always be a guide and his involvement during the follow up stage can remove and solve some of these psychological problems and fear from the patient and family.
A good diet and exercise will help.
The patient must also follow the instructions given by the health care team how to prevent and manage late effects of cancer. This is very important.
Causes of late Effects
Any cancer treatment causes late effects. So the teenagers also face late effects for a number of reasons:
- The type of cancer and its location in the body.
- The area in the body, where it was treated.
- Age and type of treatment.
- Genetics and family history.
- General health of the patient before the treatment and after the treatment.
Awareness and knowledge of cancer Among Teenagers
Most of them may not believe that they have cancer, because of their age and the feeling that they have a good health. So a new approach is needed to convince them and assured that they can be treated as they are young. Interacting with them, group discussions, and their serious participation will help. If a close relative participates in the discussion also helps. Information on sex and fertility, social physical environments during treatment and psychosocial support after treatment helps to a large extent.
Cancer is one of the many diseases that affect humans. But this disease of cancer is very dreadful. Cancer is a disease in which a single normal body cell undergoes a genetic transformation into a cancer cell. This grows into a number of cells and forms into a tumour, and these tumours produce the symptoms of Cancer. Cancer can spread throughout a person’s body.
Cancer can affect anyone from children to women and men and at any age. Cancer can affect a person as he gets older, in people 45 and above. It’s because as years pass by cells turn faulty or mutate and grow into cancer. This means as we age, we are more exposed to sunlight, cigarette smoke, chemicals and other cancer-causing agents for a long time.
Types of Cancer in Women
Cancers that affect women are:
- BREAST CANCER
- COLORECTAL CANCER
- OVARIAN CANCERS.
To save the lives of women and help them lead a healthy life, the only way is diagnosing cancer as early as possible.
This cancer can start at any age, and the risk goes up as one grows older. Every woman should know about the dangers of breast cancer and what they can do to lower the risk of this cancer.
- The most trustworthy way to find out about breast cancer is to do the screening test regularly.
- MAMMOGRAM is a screening test done by taking the x-ray of the breast. From the age of 40 and above the mammogram test should be done at least once in two years.
- All the women should know what the mammogram test can and cannot do. Every woman should know how their breast looks and feels, and in case they find any changes must consult a doctor.
This cancer starts in the colon or rectum.
- Less of physical activity
- A diet high in red and processed meat
- Consumption of alcohol
- Personal or family history
To check colorectal cancer, one needs to :
- Regularly get a screening test of the colon.
- A small growth on the lining of the rectum is seen.
- Through screening, if the growth is small, it can be removed before it turns into cancer.
- From the age of 45 through 75 years, a regular screening test can be done.
- If there is a family history before 45 also a screening test can be done.
- It is the cancer of the inner lining of the uterus( endometrium ).
- The risk of getting this cancer increases with age.
- If the hormones are affected when a woman takes medicines for being treated for breast cancer, this cancer starts.
- If menstrual periods start early in age, menopause is late, history of infertility or not having children can increase the risk of getting this cancer.
- Personal or family history or being obese can also get this cancer.
- Women who must have had breast cancer or ovarian cancer can also get endometrial cancer.
There is no particular screening or symptoms of endometrial cancer. Any unusual discharge, spotting, or bleeding from the vagina during periods or after menopause should be reported.
Women who have had colorectal cancer at 35 years must go in for an endometrial biopsy every year. A regular pelvic exam can also help to diagnose endometrial cancer.
- Smoking or passive smoking can be the cause of this cancer
- Long duration of exposure to chemicals and other particles in the air.
- To escape from lung cancer- if a person is not a smoker do not start, avoid breathing the smoke if other people are smoking.
- Generally from 55 to 75 years of age are prone to lung cancer.
- A CT scan can help to diagnose lung cancer.
- HPV( human papillomavirus ) is the common risk factor of cervical cancer.
- HPV one can get through the skin to skin contact like having vaginal, anal or oral sex if that person has this virus.
- A woman can also get if she is a smoker, has a weak immune system, is obese or even if exposed to hormone treatments.
CAN AVOID CERVICAL CANCER BY:
- HPV vaccine can be taken by boys and girls from the age of 12 through 26.
- Avoid smoking.
- Use a condom to protect yourself
- People between 27 and 45 can take the advice of a doctor if the HPV vaccine is needed and every 5 years HPV tests can be taken
- Regular screening tests will help to find changes in the cervix and if treated early, can avoid getting cancer.
- People above 65 years of age and if they had a cervical cancer test in the past 10 years and were normal need not get any further tests.
- Women who have got their uterus and cervix removed through hysterectomy can stop the cervical cancer test.
- This cancer can occur at any age, but older women are more likely to get it.
- Childless women and who have children after 35 can get ovarian cancer.
- Women with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or breast cancer can get ovarian cancer.
- Women who did not have any other cancer can still get ovarian cancer
- No screening tests or pap test can detect ovarian cancer, but a pelvic test can help to diagnose ovarian cancer.
Symptoms for Ovarian Cancer
- Abdominal swelling and weight loss.
- loss of appetite, bloating of the stomach.
- pain in the pelvic or in the abdomen
- urge to urinate all the time.
Reduce the Risk by
- Stop smoking totally.
- Regular exercise
- Stay healthy
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains.
- Best for women is to stay away from alcohol or not take more than one peg per day.
Can a Women Have a Baby After Cancer Treatment
After cancer treatment, both husband and wife doubt if they can have a baby, a difficult decision to take.
Some may suggest waiting for six months after chemo as the damaged cells will leave the body.
Some times, the patient may be asked to wait for two to five years as there may be a chance for cancer to come back.
Children of cancer survivors do not have a risk of the disease, but a few cancers are passed from the genes.
It’s always safe to go according to the doctor’s advice, as the doctor needs to check certain organs and see that the pregnancy is safe. The patient might be referred to an obstetrician, who will take care.
During cancer treatment, if a woman gets pregnant, certain tests are a must like—x-ray, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, biopsy, pap test and so on.
A team of doctors will carefully monitor the pregnancy and will look for a safe delivery.
Breastfeeding can also be done as cancer cells won’t pass from the patient mother to the baby. For some treatments like chemo, breastfeeding can be stopped.
Treatment for a pregnant woman and a non-pregnant woman is the same.
Awareness of Cancer in Women
Though most of the women are aware of breast cancer alone, they do not have much knowledge of other cancers and even about the symptoms of breast cancer.
So in a few companies, they discuss cancer by wearing coloured ribbons and request everyone to participate in the discussion.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Creating awareness of cancers among women will have a positive impact on people across the nation and the world.
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues and organs. This network together helps the body to fight infections and any other diseases. When germs like bacteria or viruses attack, invade and multiply, it is known as infection, and this makes a person sick. Our immune system protects us from the disease by fighting the germs that attack our body. Hence we must protect and keep our immune system healthy.
When a person is affected with cancer, he develops a higher risk of infection. At this time, the cancer cells change the immune system cells; actually, the immune system cells protected our body once but now begin to interfere with its function. Cancer cells get into the bone marrow cells in which blood cells are made.
The Main Parts of the Immune System that Fight Infection are:
- White blood cells
- The complement system
- The lymphatic system
- The spleen
- The thymus
- The bone marrow.
Immune System Fights Cancer:
Our immune system protects our body from the harmful effects of the abnormal cells and even from cancer cells. Sometimes the cancer cells escape from getting detected and form tumors. If a tumor is developed the immune system becomes weak, but at times our body’s immune system can fight and destroy cancer from within by re-activating the immune cells. The cancer cells can also protect themselves from being destroyed by the immune system.
Many studies have proved that the best way to fight cancer is to build a robust immune system and allow it to do the work of fighting the cancer. This is known as IMMUNOTHERAPY.
- Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment, our body’s immune system itself fights the disease.
- The treatment is also known as Biological Therapy.
- Our body uses and involves our cells, organs and proteins and fights the illness.
- Immunotherapy works in different ways- some stop or slow the growth of cancer cells.
- Some time our immune system- destroy or stop the growth of cancer cells and also from spreading.
- Immunotherapy can be given separately, or it is combined with other cancer treatments.
- There are many types of immunotherapy and Cancer Vaccines is one of them.
A CANCER VACCINE: exposes the immune system to a foreign protein, called an antigen
- Then the immune system identifies and destroys the antigen.
- There are two types of cancer vaccine prevention and treatment
Cancer Treatment can Increase Infection Risk:
- Specific cancer treatments interfere with the way our immune system works, for example, if a person has spleen cancer and the spleen is removed it can be long term damage as the spleen is a part of the immune system.
- A bone marrow or stem cell transplant treatment high doses are used; this also damages the immune system cells for a long time.
- Any major surgery can weaken the immune system.
- The wound caused by any surgery can cause infection.
- Antibiotics may be given after surgery to protect from infection.
- Chemo is the most common cause of a weakened immune system in cancer patients who go through this treatment.
- Chemo can cause a decrease in the number of white blood cells in the blood; this means that the body cannot fight the infections as it should.
This disadvantage may be because of many reasons, like:
- Which chemo drug is used, the dosage used.
- How often chemo was given.
- The past cancer treatments.
- The type of cancer.
- The person’s age.
- The person’s nutritional status.
- The stage of cancer.
Rebuild Immune System After Chemotherapy
The common ways to take care of the immune system are:
- sufficient rest
- eating a healthy diet
- exercising regularly and reduce stress
- the best way is to follow the doctor’s advice.
- symptoms or signs of infection report to the doctor.
- all this should be followed until the immune system is back to normal.
Apart from these treatments, Radiation therapy, targeted therapy can also affect the immune system. So people with poor nutrition can weaken the immune system. They need sufficient vitamins, minerals, calories and proteins to strengthen their immune system.
Cancers That Can Be Treated With Immunotherapy:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Brain cancer
- Cervical and Ovarian cancers
- Colorectal cancer
- Head and Neck cancer
- Kidney cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer,
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer
The Two Main Parts of the Immune System:
THE INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM:
- People are born with it, and it is active from birth.
- When a cell changes into an abnormal cell, our immune system surrounds it and kills it inside the immune system cell itself. These cells are known as PHAGOCYTES.
THE ADAPTIVE ( ACQUIRED ) IMMUNE SYSTEM:
The acquired immune system, along with the innate immune system, produces cells called antibodies that protect the body from abnormal cells. These antibodies protect the patient’s body from the abnormal cells by forming cells called B Lymphocytes.
Boosting of Immune System by Cancer Patients:
- Intake of protective drugs for infections or to boost the immune system, this treatment helps the growth of blood cells
- Taking flu shots every year or it can be taken two weeks before chemo or in between chemo cycles.
- Eating nutritious food with enough calories and nutrients. Wash thoroughly before eating raw fruits and vegetables and cook meat, egg and dairy products well.
- Regularly wash hands with soap and warm water, after blowing your nose, spending time in public places and using the washroom.
- Do not visit sick people, better to stay away, sharing any items like towels and soap.
- Avoid touching animal waste, cages, pens or otherwise wear gloves while handling and wash your hands well.
- Any sign of infection report to the treating doctor like fever, cough, sore throat, body pain
- Find out dos and don’ts from the doctor.
Diet to Boost the Immuno System
Foods that boost the immune system
- citrus fruits
- red bell peppers
- sunflower seeds
Eating one of these foods is not sufficient to ensure that daily and the required intake is a must. Breakfast eat like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
Today we are living in the electronic age. Electronics dominate every aspect of human life. The human body is capable of receiving electromagnetic radiation to a certain limit. But we are crossing the required limit which is harmful to our immune system of the body.
We are not aware that the loss of the immune system will lead to multi-organ failure. Though there is no escape from this, one way to protect is by exercise can help in the normal functioning of our immune system. Many are aware but do not follow strictly that less stress, proper sleep, diet and exercise can boost our immune system. In general, Immunotherapy is an important approach to find new cancer treatments.
Cancer starts when cells in a person’s body begin to grow out of control. There are many kinds of cancer, but it starts when abnormal cells grow out of control. Cancer is considered to be the second leading cause of death in the world. Today, millions of people are living with this dreadful disease called cancer.
Cancers in young adults have become a common disease these days. Cancer is young adults are different from elders and are related to genetic and lifestyle. People under the age group from 14 to 44 years come under this category. When their potential years of life to lead a healthy life is ahead of them and if they need to suffer, it is matter to think and prevent at the earliest.
Common Cancers in Young Adults are:
Men: –Cancer of mouth, Stomach, Testis, Bone and Penis.
Women:–Mouth, Cervix uterus, Breast, Thyroid, and Stomach.
Finding Cancer in Young Adults is Difficult Because:
- Young adults are generally healthy and do not go to a doctor unless there is a need.
- The priority list is for other things like—college, career, friends, family, no regular doctor.
- Financial issues, no health insurance, so do not want to see a doctor.
- Sometimes even if the symptoms are there, cancer may not be on the list, so a delay in diagnosis.
- Generally, cancer is overlapped with common illness or injuries, bumps or bruises.
- Still, if cancer is detected early, treatment will be successful.
Symptoms of Cancer in Young Adults:
Though it is difficult to diagnose cancer in young adults, still some signs and symptoms are:
- Lump or swelling in the neck, breast, belly or testicle.
- Tiredness or loss of energy that cannot be explained.
- Abnormal bleeding.
- Pain in one part of the body,
- Fever or illness continues for a long time and does not go away.
- Frequent headache with vomiting.
- Vision changes.
- Loss of appetite and so weight loss drastically.
- A new mole or spot on the skin and changes in size, shape and colour.
Common Cancer in Young Adults:
The common cancers in young adults are not unique, but still different from those that affect children and older adults. The most common ones are:
- Breast cancer: though this common in young adults and can be benign, but sometimes it can be cancer, early diagnosis, better chances of survival.
- Lymphomas: it affects the lymph nodes-like tonsils or thymus-organ in front of the heart and can affect the bone marrow and other organs.
- Melanoma: a type of skin cancer, this is the most common cancer in youngsters of 30 years of age, especially if it is the family. Can be cured if detected early.
- Sarcomas: muscles, bones or fat cells
- Cervix and ovary: most in women, the symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- Thyroid cancer: a lump in front of the neck, mostly found in women, can be cured in young adults.
- Testicular cancer: a lump on the testicle swelling or the testicle becomes larger.
- Colorectal cancer: cancers of the colon and rectum, for young adults because of inherited genetic disease.
- Brain and spinal cord tumours.
Causes of Cancers in Young Adults:
Life style like SMOKING, OVERWEIGHT, EATING UNHEALTHY DIET, NO PROPER EXERCISE AND TOO MUCH CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL.
Apart from these, the other causes are – Exposure to ultraviolet light of the sun.
HPV, HIV, treatment with Chemo and Radiation.
Treatment of Cancers in Young Adults:
The treatment for cancers in young adults is the same as in other age groups, it only depends on the type and stage of cancer. The treatments are:
- SURGERY: For young adults have a few advantages when it is surgery because health problems are less than older people and anaesthesia is given young people cope better than children.
- RADIATION THERAPY: High-energy rays are used, may not have many side effects.
- CHEMOTHERAPY AND OTHER DRUGS: It is treated with the usage of drugs, pills that need to be swallowed and generally young adults can withstand higher doses of chemo than older adults.
- TARGETED THERAPY: This is by giving newer targeted therapy drugs along with chemo.
- HORMONE THERAPY: Some hormones grow in the body example breast cancer, so this treatment stops the cancer cells.
- IMMUNOTHERAPY: The drugs given help the cancer cells that attack the body cells.
- STEM CELL TRANSPLANT: It is also known as a bone marrow transplant. This treatment is an option because of its side effects and cost.
Common Questions That Are Asked:
- What problems a young adult face after the treatment for cancer?
Answer: Many of the young adults after treatment get back to normal work and life, but they do face certain physical and psychological problems. So awareness of the disease and to educate the patient to cope and face life normally with frequent visits to the treating doctor can solve the problem.
- Why did I get back my cancer? Will I get back cancer?
Answer: Chances of getting back is rare if the treatment was proper and regular checkups were done and if the doctor’s instructions were followed well. Change is lifestyle is a must, like stop smoking, reduce the consumption of alcohol.
Awareness and Knowledge of Cancers in Young Adults:
Awareness and knowledge of cancers in young adults is a must for them as they have a long life ahead of them. Many of them are aware that smoking causes cancer but they are totally or partially ignorant of most of the cancers that can affect them. The best way is to educate them from an early age by conducting seminars and workshops at the high school and college levels.
Short term courses during summer for youngsters can also help them to gain certain knowledge of the dreadful disease known as cancer. If it can be informed that their lifestyle is one of the causes, it can help them to lead protective young adulthood.
Cancer is considered to be the second deadliest disease in the world. When cells become abnormal, divide uncontrollably, spread to any part of the body and destroy other tissues it becomes cancerous. Due to new methods of treatment the survival rate is also increasing. There is no particular age for cancer to start, children, women and men are liable to be affected with cancer. It’s also true that men are more prone because of certain life styles that they follow, especially as they age.
Men and Cancer
Always remind the men in your life that cancer risk can be minimized if proper health practices are followed and with regular check up.
Five Most Common Cancers in Men are
- Prostate Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Bladder Cancer.
- Melanoma ( Skin Cancer).
Prostate Cancer is detected in men above 65 years of age. Generally if there is a history of Prostate cancer in the family, from the age of 40 if an annual screening test can be done for early detection and treatment to reduce the risk factor.
Some cells the prostate gland become abnormal and begin to divide to grow, divide and live then causes cancer. It is a small walnut shaped gland that produces seminal fluid in the sperm. If diagnosed early it can be treated.
- The force in the stream of urine decreases, problem while urinating.
- Blood is seen in semen.
- There is discomfort in the pelvic region.
- Bone pain.
- Healthy diet like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid fatty-foods.
- Foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Exercise regularly, keep a check on your weight.
- Talk to a doctor about the risk factor of prostate cancer.
This cancer is mainly diagnosed in men 65 years and above, very rarely in younger men of 45 years of age.
When a tumor is formed in the lungs and grows uncontrollably.
- Age is another cause-65 to 70 years.
- Family history, if any immediate family had lung cancer, is also prone to get.
- Smoking, is the main cause. Even passive smokers can get the disease. Heavy smokers and those who started smoking from a young age.
- Exposure to asbestos( miners, mill workers) and other chemical(niclel, chromium, arsenic, dieselexhaust and air pollution)..
- Exposure to a colourless, scent-less radioactive gas(Radon), found in houses.
Surgery Wedge resection: removal of a small section of the lung.
Segmental resection: removal of a large portion of the lung.
Lobectomy: removing of the entire lobe of one lung.
Pnemonectomy: remove the entire lung.
In spite of a number of campaigns and public awareness programmes are taken up still people take the risk of smoking extensively.
- Those who quit smoking for 15 years, 80% to 90% of risk is reduced to get lung cancer. Medication and counseling will help to quit smoking and determination.
- Eating plenty of fruit, speaking to a health care provider, before changing the diet.
- Regular exercise.
- Certain medication
- But still none have been proven to stop from being effected.
Colorectal Cancer, is the third most common cancer in men worldwide and the second largest deaths that occur due to cancer is this disease. This is also the cause of death in gastrointestinal cancer. 90% of the people suffering with this disease are above 60 years of age. This cancer develops in the colon or rectum.
Causes for Colorectal Cancer
- Age is a common factor.
- Modern diet
- No physical exercise
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in bowels habits.
- Bright or dark blood in stools.
- Abdominal discomfort, pain, bloating.
If all this continues for then two weeks, a doctor must be consulted.
These treatments are administered alone or together. But there is no guarantee that it will be cured completely. So, new treatments have come up, like
- Targeted therapies.
- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor(VEGF) Targeted Therapies.
- Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Targeted Therapies.
Prevention of Colorectal Cancers
- Managing diet,decrease red and processed meat. Increase fiber- fruits, vegetables,whole grains.
- Stay healthy & exercise.
- Physical activity, reduce sitting and lying down frequently.
- Reduce intake of alcohol or stop completely.
- Quit smoking totally.
Bladder Cancer is more common in men than in women, especially in older men, from the age of 55 to 73 years of age. Even now the reason is unknown why men are more prone to this disease than women.
- Bladder Cancer develops, when a change takes place inside the DNA of certain cells, which grows uncontrollably and form tumors.
- Smoking and usage of tobacco products.
- Exposed to toxins- paint, metal, dyes, petroleum products and dangerous chemicals.
- Blood in urine, painful urination.
- Frequent urination
- Urinate a number of times at night.
- Feeling to urinate but do not pass.
- Lower back pain on one side of the body.
- Targeted therapy.
- Radiation therapy.
Melanoma ( Skin cancer)
Melanoma, is more common in men because they do not protect themselves from the sun, as women since they apply sunscreen lotions and make up. The age to get affected with this disease is from 50 to 80 years. Men also do not know much about skin cancer.
- Men have thick skin with less fat, so more likely to be damaged by ultraviolet rays of the sun.
- Men’s skin reacts more to UV rays.
- Presence of more moles.
- Brown birth mark-
- Pale skin, that easily gets tanned.
- Family history,
- A previous organ transplant.
- Skin changes- anew spot or mole or existing ones color, shape or size changes,
- A spot or sore- if becomes painful, itchy and soft or bleeds.
- A lump that looks shiny, smooth or pale.
- A flat red spot which is dry, rough or scaly.
- Surgery- lesion, if melanoma covers a large area- skin grafting.
- Radiation therapy.
- Targeted therapy.
- Put on a broad rimmed hat and sunglasses’
- Stay in the shade, avoiding sunburns..
- Wear long sleeved shirts and full pants when possible.
- When it is very hot, stay away from the sun.
- Apply sunscreen lotion.
The Rarest Cancer Among Men
Unbelievable, but true. The rearest cancer in men is BREAST CANCER. It is a painless lump or there is a thickening in the breast tissue. There are changes in the skin covering the breast, like scaling, puckering, redness or dimpling. The nipple turns inward and the color also changes to red and scaling occurs. Sometimes it is common in older men.
Treatment, is the breast tissue is removed. According to the situation Chemotherapy or Radiation therapy is recommended by the doctors.
Awareness of these five common cancers and other cancers which aged men are prone to is less. If diagnosed early and treated results would be better. Generally June month is assigned to spread the awareness of cancers among aged men.