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Cancer Treatment

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a medical term used to refer any one of a large number of diseases, characterized by the development of abnormal cells. Diseased cells grow and divide uncontrollably. With the ability to spread throughout the body via lymph systems & blood, they infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue.

Cancer is not just one disease but is made up of plethora of diseases.

There are more than 100 types of cancer and they are named after the type of cell originate. Some of the major categories are:

  • Carcinoma: It is referred to a category of cancer originating in the human body tissues, in the skin or the tissue of internal organs. It can be further categorized into different subtypes that include basal cell carcinoma, transitional carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Sarcoma: This category of cancer begins in fat, blood vessels, cartilage, bone, muscle or any other supportive or connective tissue, in cells outside the bone marrow.
  • Leukemia: This category of cancer originates in blood-forming tissue, which also includes bone marrow.
  • Myeloma and Lymphoma This type of cancers starts from the cells of the immune system.
  • Germ cell tumor: This refers to cancers derived from pluripotent cells, most often presenting in the testicle or the ovary.
  • Blastoma This category of cancers are derived from immature "predecessor" cells or embryonic tissue. Blastomas are more common in children than in older adults.
Breast and Prostate Cancer Treatment



Signs and symptoms caused by cancer will vary depending on what part of the body is affected. Some general signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to, cancer include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin.
  • Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
  • Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won't heal, or changes to existing moles
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habit
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty swallowin.
  • Hoarseness
  • Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
  • Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain

Risk factors


While doctors have an idea of what may increase your risk of cancer, the majority of cancers occur in people who don't have any known risk factors. Factors known to increase your risk of cancer include:

Your Age

Cancer can take decades to develop. That's why most people diagnosed with cancer are 65 or older. While it's more common in older adults, cancer isn't exclusively an adult disease — cancer can be diagnosed at any age

Your Habits

Smoking, drinking more than one drink a day (for women of all ages and everyone older than age 65) or two drinks a day (for men age 65 and younger), excessive exposure to the sun or frequent sweltering sunburns, being obese, and having unsafe sex can contribute to cancer

Your Family History

Only a small portion of cancers are due to an inherited condition. If cancer is common in your family, it's possible that mutations are being passed from one generation to the next. You might be a candidate for genetic testing to see whether you have inherited mutations that might increase your risk of certain cancers. Keep in mind that having an inherited genetic mutation doesn't necessarily mean you'll get cancer.

Your Health Condiotions

Some chronic health conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, can markedly increase your risk of developing certain cancers. Talk to your doctor about your risk.

Your Environment

The environment around you may contain harmful chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer. Even if you don't smoke, you might inhale secondhand smoke if you go where people are smoking or you live with someone who smokes. Chemicals in your home or workplace, such as asbestos and benzene, also are associated with an increased risk of cancer

Cancer and its treatment can cause several complications, including:


While doctors have an idea of what may increase your risk of cancer, the majority of cancers occur in people who don't have any known risk factors. Factors known to increase your risk of cancer include:

  • Pain: Pain can be caused by cancer or by cancer treatment, though not all cancer is painful. Medications and other approaches can effectively treat cancer-related pain.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue in people with cancer has many causes, but it can often be managed. Fatigue associated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments is common, but it's usually temporary.
  • Difficulty breathin: Cancer or cancer treatment may cause a feeling of being short of breath. Treatments may bring relief.
  • Nausea: Certain cancers and cancer treatments can cause nausea. Your doctor can sometimes predict if your treatment is likely to cause nausea. Medications and other treatments may help you prevent or cope with nausea.
  • Diarrhea or constipation: Cancer and cancer treatment can affect your bowels and cause diarrhea or constipation.
  • Weight loss: Cancer and cancer treatment may cause weight loss.
  • Chemical changes in your body: Cancer can upset the normal chemical balance in your body and increase your risk of serious complications. Signs and symptoms of chemical imbalances might include excessive thirst, frequent urination, constipation and confusion.
  • Brain and nervous system problem: Cancer can press on nearby nerves and cause pain and loss of function of one part of your body. Cancer that involves the brain can cause headaches and stroke-like signs and symptoms, such as weakness on one side of your body.
  • Unusual immune system reactions to cance: In some cases the body's immune system may react to the presence of cancer by attacking healthy cells. Called paraneoplastic syndromes, these very rare reactions can lead to a variety of signs and symptoms, such as difficulty walking and seizures.

Side Effects of Cancer Treatment


Cancer treatments and cancer can cause side effects. Side effects are problems that occur when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Speak up about any side effects you have, or changes you notice, so your health care team can treat or help you to reduce these side effects.

  • Anemia
  • Appetite Loss
  • Bleeding and Bruising (Thrombocytopenia)
  • Constipation
  • Delirium
  • Diarrhea
  • Edema (Swelling)
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility Issues in Boys and Men
  • Fertility Issues in Girls and Women
  • Hair Loss (Alopecia)
  • Infection and Neutropeni
  • Lymphedema
  • Memory or Concentration Problem
  • Mouth and Throat Problems
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Nerve Problems (Peripheral Neuropathy)
  • Pain
  • Sexual Health Issues in Men
  • Sexual Health Issues in Women
  • Skin and Nail Changes
  • Sleep Problems
  • Urinary and Bladder Problems

Types of Cancer

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Medical Services of India,G-8/B sector 39, E Block, Sector 40, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201301


Skin cancer is an anomalous growth of skin cells most often because of unrepaired DNA damage. This triggers mutation in skin cells causing them to multiply in an uncontrolled manner, resulting in malignant tumors. Primarily, skin cancer develops in areas that are exposed to sunlight. It affects all sorts of individuals, although people with light colored skin are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer (as they can sunburn easily). Compared with the compound incidence of breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers, there are more new cases of skin cancer registered every year.


In the beginning, skin cell cancer can be painful, and they may appear as a pain that bleeds and oozes or otherwise something that does not heals. Even a minor trauma may result in bleeding of that bump. The skin bump has a central ulceration along with raised edges. The skin cancer symptoms include:

  • Red, pink or translucent bump(s) on the skin
  • Growth of raised border around the lesion
  • Reddish skin patch with a crust or itch which may be painful
  • A scar resembled by white or yellow waxy area with imperfectly determined border
  • An open lesion present for weeks
  • Wart-like development on the ski

We often see that moles develop on the skin, but they are mostly harmless. Rarely a mole turns into skin cancer. If a mole does turn cancerous then it is melanoma. Individuals should take care and look out for any signs of differences in the mole’s color, symmetry or any other evolving changes. Therefore, it is obligatory to visit a physician or a dermatologist and get the abnormality examined.


Most of the skin cancers are naturally modulated by the immune system or by mutational repair mechanisms. When the immune system is compromised or there is a faulty mutation repair gene, it results in the development of malignant cells that eventually grow into a tumor. Some of the most common risk factors involved in skin cancer are:

  • Exposure to UV light through sun or even tanning beds
  • Persistently suppressed immune system
  • Exposure to X-rays or chemicals such as arsenic which is a known precursor to cancer
  • Elderly individuals are at higher risk of developing skin cancer


Predominantly, there are three types of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

  • Basal cell carcinoma: Basal cell carcinoma arises when skin’s basal cells grow in an abnormal and uncontrolled manner. Basal cells are those that line the outermost layer of the skin.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: Uncontrolled growth of abnormal squamous cells (composing most of the epidermis) result in squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Melanoma Termed as one of the deadliest skin cancers, melanoma is where the malignant tumor growth occurs because of an unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggering mutation.
  • Merkel cell carcinoma: It is one of the rarest and an aggressive type of skin cancer with a high recurrence and metastasizing rate. Individuals above 50 years of age are more prone to Merkel cell carcinoma.

Actinic keratosis is also called as precancer because if left untreated may develop into a skin cancer. It is often a crusty and scaly growth which occurs due to prolonged UV exposure. Atypical moles or dysplastic nevi are benign moles which resemble like melanoma. Individuals with higher number of moles are at risk of developing melanoma in the future.


Many productive measures are present for treating skin cancer, but the choice of treatment chiefly depends on the size and location of the tumor. Treatment options can be broadly divided into medications and procedures. Medication includes several topical therapies and drugs which are injected or taken orally. Procedures comprise surgeries, radiation therapy, and laser and light-based treatments.

  • Medication: Few gels and creams are now used in superficial basal cell carcinomas which include imiquimod that works by invigorating the immune system through the production of interferon which eventually attacks the cancerous cells. Drugs are also used in combination of topical solutions.Targeted therapies are a kind of novel drug combination where drugs such as cobimetinib and vemurafenib are taken orally along with advanced immunotherapies. Such therapies are currently gaining much attention in the treatment of advanced melanoma.


  • Chemical peel: Trichloroacetic acid is applied to repair superficial skin damage which peels the top skin layer. In general, normal skin regrows in a few weeks.
  • Cryosurgery: Liquid nitrogen is topically applied to the tumor growth causing the lesions to freeze. Later the lesion falls off naturally causing a temporary swelling and redness.
  • Curettage and Electrodesiccation: : Curette, a small sharp ring-shaped instrument is used to scrape off the lesion and then cauterized using electrodesiccation. The applied heat destroys any residual lesion.
  • Excisional surgery: In this surgery, the physician removes the entire tumor along with some surrounding healthy tissue. Only after the lab confirms whether the tumor is present or not in the tissue beyond the safety margin, the physician declares the patient fit.
  • Laser surgery: Ablative lasers are used to remove the tissue without causing it to bleed. The laser gives the physician a better control in tissue removal.
  • Mohs Micrographic surgery: This technique is chiefly employed when preservation of unaffected tissue is vital. It is also employed when the tumor is poorly defined or after a recurrence of previously treated lesions. The very first layer of the tumor is removed and immediately assessed. The region demonstrating any residual microscopic tumor is then re-excised and re-evaluated. This procedure is further repeated till no tumor is seen.
  • Photodynamic therapy: A light-sensitizing agent is applied to the tumor and allowed to get absorbed in the skin. Then the physician uses a strong red or blue laser which selectively destroys the lesions by activating the medicated region.
  • Radiation therapy: Tumors are directly subjected to X-ray beams to treat cancerous lesions. It is employed when the tumors are hard to be removed or with immunosuppressed patients.


After a successful skin cancer treatment, a patient is full of hope and happiness. But all are never the same. Few patients are concerned with cancer recurrence. This brings worries and fear which at times may be quite intense for some survivors. Each patient tries to manage these emotions. Some proportion of depression or worry is quite normal among patients and hence it is essential for patients to receive emotional support. It could be a professional counselor, support groups, religious groups and friends or family.


Close follow-up is vital for skin cancer survivor patients. As recurrence of skin cancer in a different location is possible, physicians keep a close watch on patients. Patients should self-evaluate their skin periodically and look out for any changes at the site of cancer lesions as well as for any new growth at any other site. It is also important for patients to protect themselves from exposure to UV rays whether it is from the sun or tanning beds, as it increases the risk for new skin cancer occurrence.