Breast cancer affects one in eight women during their lives. No one knows why some women get breast cancer, but there are many risk factors. Risks that you cannot change include:
Age - the risk rises as you get older
Genes - two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, greatly increase the risk. Women who have family members with breast or ovarian cancer may wish to be tested for the genes.
Personal factors - beginning periods before age 12 or going through menopause after age 55 Other risks include obesity, using hormone replacement therapy (also called menopausal hormone therapy), taking birth control pills, drinking alcohol, not having children or having your first child after age 35, and having dense breasts.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in size or shape of the breast, and discharge from a nipple. Breast self-exams and mammography can help find breast cancer early, when it is most treatable. One possible treatment is surgery. It could be a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Other treatments include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.
Men can have breast cancer, too, but it is rare.
Brain cancer can have a wide variety of symptoms including seizures, sleepiness, confusion, and behavioral changes. Not all brain tumors are cancerous, and benign tumors can result in similar symptoms.
Signs and symptoms
Not all brain tumors cause symptoms, and some (such as tumors of the pituitary gland) are often not found unless a CT scan or MRI is done for another reason. The symptoms of brain cancer are numerous and not specific to brain tumors, meaning they can be caused by many other illnesses. The only way to know for sure what is causing the symptoms is to undergo diagnostic testing. Symptoms can be caused by:
A tumor pressing on or encroaching on other parts of the brain and keeping them from functioning normally.Swelling in the brain caused by the tumor or surrounding inflammation.The symptoms of primary and metastatic brain cancers are similar.
The following symptoms are most common:
- Difficulty walking
Other nonspecific symptoms and signs include the following:
- Altered mental status -- changes in concentration, memory, attention, or alertness
- Nausea, vomiting
- Abnormalities in vision
- Difficulty with speech
- Gradual changes in intellectual capacity or emotional response
Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. It starts in the bone marrow, the soft tissue inside most bones. Bone marrow is where blood cells are made.
- White blood cells help your body fight infection.
- Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of your body.
- Platelets help your blood clot.
When you have leukemia, the bone marrow starts to make a lot of abnormal white blood cells, called leukemia cells. They don't do the work of normal white blood cells. They grow faster than normal cells, and they don't stop growing when they should.
Over time, leukemia cells can crowd out the normal blood cells. This can lead to serious problems such as anemia, bleeding, and infections. Leukemia cells can also spread to the lymph nodes or other organs and cause swelling or pain.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may depend on what type of leukemia you have, but common symptoms include:
- A new lump or swollen gland in your neck, under your arm, or in your groin.
- Frequent nosebleeds, bleeding from the gums or rectum, more frequent bruising, or very heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Frequent fevers.
- Night sweats.
- Bone pain.
- Unexplained appetite loss or recent weight loss.
- Feeling tired a lot without a known reason.
- Swelling and pain on the left side of the belly.
4- Colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer or rectal cancer, is any cancer (a growth, lump, tumor) of the colon and the rectum. The World Health Organization and CDC say it is the second most common cancer worldwide, after lung cancer.
The American Cancer Society suggests that about 1 in 20 people in the US will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime, with the risk being slightly higher for men than for women. Due to advances in screening techniques and improvements in treatments, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for over 20 years.
A colorectal cancer may be benign or malignant. Benign means the tumor will not spread, while a malignant tumor consists of cells that can spread to other parts of the body and damage them.
The colon and rectum
The colon and rectum belong to our body's digestive system - together they are also known as the large bowel.
The colon reabsorbs large quantities of water and nutrients from undigested food products as they pass along it.
The rectum is at the end of the colon and stores feces (stools, waste material) before being expelled from the body.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer
- Going to the toilet more often
- A feeling that the bowel does not empty properly after a bowel movement.
- Blood in feces (stools).
- Pains in the abdomen.
- Bloating in the abdomen.
- A feeling of fullness in the abdomen (maybe even after not eating for a while).
- Fatigue (tiredness).
- Inexplicable weight loss.
- A lump in the tummy or a lump in the back passage felt by your doctor.
- Unexplained iron deficiency in men, or in women after the menopause.
As most of these symptoms may also indicate other possible conditions, it is important that the patient sees a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Anybody who experiences some of these symptoms for four weeks should see their doctor.
Causes of colorectal cancer
Experts say we are not completely sure why colorectal cancer develops in some people and not in others. However, several risk factors have been identified over the years - a risk factor is something which may increase a person's chances of developing a disease or condition.
The possible risk factors for colorectal factors are:
- Being elderly - the older you are the higher the risk is.
- A diet that is very high in animal protein.
- A diet that is very high in saturated fats.
- A diet that is very low in dietary fiber.
- A diet that is very high in calories.
- A diet that is very high in alcohol consumption.
- Women who have had breast, ovary and uterus cancers.
- A family history of colorectal cancer.
- Patients with ulcerative colitis.
- Being overweight/obese.
- Being physically inactive.
- Presence of polyps in the colon/rectum. Untreated polyps may eventually become cancerous.
- Having Crohn's disease or Irritable Bowel Disease have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Most colon cancers develop within polyps (adenoma). These are often found inside the bowel wall.
5- Prostate cancer
The prostate is a walnut-sized exocrine gland. This means that its fluids and secretions are intended for use outside of the body.
The prostate produces the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm on their journey to fuse with a female ovum, or egg, and produce human life. The prostate contracts and forces these fluids out during orgasm.
The protein excreted by the prostate, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), helps semen retain its liquid state. An excess of this protein in the blood is one of the first signs of prostate cancer.
The urethra is tube through which sperm and urine exit the body. It also passes through the prostate. As such, the prostate is also responsible for urine control. It can tighten and restrict the flow of urine through the urethra using thousands of tiny muscle fibers.
How does it start?
It usually starts in the glandular cells. This is known as adenocarcinoma. Tiny changes occur in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells, known as prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). This tends to happen slowly and does not show symptoms until further into the progression.
Nearly 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 years have PIN. High-grade PIN is considered pre-cancerous, and it requires further investigation. Low-grade PIN is not a cause for concern.
Prostate cancer can be successfully treated if it is diagnosed before metastasis, but if it spreads, it is more dangerous. It most commonly spreads to the bones.
There are usually no symptoms during the early stages of prostate cancer.
If symptoms appear, they usually involve one or more of the following:
- frequent urges to urinate, including at night
- difficulty commencing and maintaining urination
- blood in the urine
- painful urination and, less commonly, ejaculation
- difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection may be difficult
Advanced prostate cancer can involve the following symptoms:
- bone pain, often in the spine, femur, pelvis, or ribs
- bone fractures
- leg weakness
- urinary incontinence
- fecal incontinence
Risk factorsThe exact cause of prostate cancer is unclear, but there are many possible risk factors.
AgeProstate cancer is rare among men under the age of 45 years, but more common after the age of 50 years.
GeographyProstate cancer occurs most frequently in North America, northwestern Europe, on the Caribbean islands, and in Australia. The reasons remain unclear.
Genetic factorsCertain genetic and ethnic groups have an increased risk of prostate cancer.In the U.S., prostate cancer is at least 60 percent more common and 2 to 3 times more deadly among black men than non-Hispanic white men.
A man also has a much higher risk of developing cancer if his identical twin has it, and a man whose brother or father had prostate cancer has twice the risk of developing it compared to other men. Having a brother who has or has had prostate cancer is more of a genetic risk than having a father with the disease.
Studies have suggested that a diet high in red meat or high-fat dairy products may increase a person's chances of developing prostate cancer, but the link is neither confirmed nor clear.
Some research has suggested that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Others have linked NSAID use with a higher risk of death from the disease. This is a controversial area, and results have not been confirmed.
There has also been some investigation into whether statins might slow the progression of prostate cancer. One 2016 study concluded that results were "weak and inconsistent.
It is often believed that obesity is linked to the development of prostate cancer, but the American Cancer Society maintains that there is no clear link.
Some studies have found that obesity increases the risk of death in advanced cancers. Studies have also concluded that obesity decreases the risk that a cancer will be low-grade if it does occur.
Exposure to Agent Orange, a chemical weapon used in the Vietnam war, may possibly be linked to the development of more aggressive types of cancer, but the extent of this has not been confirmed.