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Breast Cancer

Breast tissue is the place from where breast cancer originates. Breast cancer is classified on the basis of its place of origination. Cancers arising from milk ducts are classified as ductal carcinomas

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Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer occurs from the cells, which originates in cervix uteri. Lower portion of the uterus is known as the Cervix, and it open to the vagina. This type of cancer occur when cells that are abnormal

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Ovarian Cancer

Cancerous growth in the ovary is known as ovarian cancer. There are two ovaries in women and they are located on either side of uterus. Producing eggs and hormones like testosterone, progesterone

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Head & Neck Cancer

A cluster of biologically identical cancers, which begins in nasal cavity, oral cavity, the lip, pharynx, paranasal sinuses, and in the larynx are known as head and neck cancer. Majority of the head and neck cancers originate in squamous cells

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Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a condition when a number of mutations cause normal lung cells to grow without any control. This abnormal growth can extend beyond the lung and can affect other body parts as well

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Colorectal Cancer

Uncontrolled growth of cells in rectum or colon (large intestine) is known as colorectal cancer. This is also called bowel cancer or colon cancer. It can also originate in the appendix. This kind of cancer usually initiates in the form of tiny polyps

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BREAST CANCER

OVERVIEW

Breast tissue is the place from where breast cancer originates. Breast cancer is classified on the basis of its place of origination. Cancers arising from milk ducts are classified as ductal carcinomas and those arising from lobules are classified as lobular carcinomas. In a few very rare cases, this type of cancer originates from other areas of breast. These are also classified as Invasive cancer or non-invasive cancer. Invasive cancers spread to other tissues from milk duct, whereas non-invasive ones are those, which have yet not affected other tissues of the breast.

Ductal cancers are generally non-invasive, but these can invade other tissues if left untreated. Lobular cancers, on the other hand, have more risk of being invasive cancer.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, which affects women. However, there are chances that it can also affect men, but unfortunately the results in such cases are not very positive due to delay in diagnosis. The treatment and survival rate of such cancer also depends on the type of the cancer and the rate of its advancement at the same time. In a number of cases, breast cancer has been detected to be sensitive towards estrogen hormone, as it results into growth of the cancer tumor. Even after being one of the common cancers affecting women, the death rate from this type of cancer have dropped in the last few years. Thanks, to the medical advancements in this field, now these cancers can be detected at an early stage, and can be treated accordingly. In fact, after extensive research, now there is better understanding of this disease, which helps in increasing the survival rate of patients affected with breast cancer.

SYMPTOMS

All kinds of breast cancers are not same, and similarly the symptoms also differ with the kind of cancer. There are almost no signs or symptoms on some cases of breast cancer, but in most of the other cases a lump in the breast is one of the first symptoms of this type of cancer. Lumps located in the lymph nodes in armpits can also be a symptom of breast cancer. Apart from a lump other symptoms include:

  • Thickening or swelling that differs from other breast tissues
  • Change in the shape of size of the breast, for instance one breast becoming lower or larger
  • Change in the position of the nipple, change in its shape or nipple becoming inverted
  • Dimpling or irritation in the skin
  • Pain in breast or nipple
  • Redness of nipple
  • Fluid oozing out of the nipple, which can be clear, yellowish, greenish, or even include blood

As it has been proved that men can also suffer from breast cancer, so some of the symptoms, which they can experience are as follows:

  • Pain in the bones
  • Skin ulcers
  • Discomfort
  • Swelling in armpit (especially in the area adjacent to the breast that has been diagnosed with cancer)
  • Weight loss is also a symptom of breast cancer in men

The point to remember here is that some of these symptoms are not always an indication of presence of malignancy. An infection or cyst in the breast can also show such symptoms. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that one should jump to any kind of conclusion when experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms. You should make any decision only after proper diagnosis.

DIAGNOSIS

Due to fact that many women are affected by breast cancer, now many opt for diagnostic tests, even if they are not experiencing any of the symptoms. Women who have attended the age of 40 are at a higher risk of developing cancer, so experts recommend self-exams, mammography, and other clinical tests for women belonging to this age group. These tests helps in early detection of breast cancer, and the early the detection, the better the treatment and its results as well. Screening tests also aids in confirming or disproving diagnosis. The key tests include:

Mammogram: This is an x-ray and if a screening mammogram reveals any abnormality, then a diagnostic mammogram is done for further evaluation.
Biopsy: Breast cell samples are sent or a laboratory test, where the nature of the cells are determined. If cancerous cells are detected, then a biopsy also helps in examining the kind of cells.

Ultrasound: A breast ultrasound can be very helpful in differentiating fluid-filled cysts from solid mass. Biopsy can be done through various methods like open, stereotactic, needle aspiration, or ultrasound guided.

MRI: This is another imaging test like ultrasound which provide internal images of the affected area and helps in diagnosing a probable mass in the breast.MRI make use of radio waves for creating these images and a dye injection is given to the patient before conducting an MRI.

Tests used for determining the stage of the cancer: Once breast cancer is detected, tests like blood test, bone scan, CT scan, and PET scan is also done to determine the cancer’s stage, as it is important to know the stage of the cancer before moving ahead with any treatment plan. In fact, mammogram of other breast is also done to detect any abnormality in it.

It is not always necessary for everyone to go through these tests, as a physician might prescribe any of the tests based on the condition of the patient and other circumstances.

TREATMENT

Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type of the cancer, the stage, the grade and other factors like health of the patient, patient preferences, and whether the cells are sensitive to any hormone. There are a number of treatment options for breast cancer, so one should consult a specialist of breast cancer to find out the best treatment option.

The main treatments available for breast cancer include:
Surgery: Surgery option for breast cancer include lumpectomy, where the tumor is removed along with some adjacent healthy tissues, mastectomy, where all of the breast tissues are removed, sentinel node biopsy, where lymph nodes are removed for determining whether the cancer has spread to the lymph node or not, and axillary dissection of lymph nodes, where added lymph nodes are removed from the armpit if cancer is detected in sentinel nodes.

Chemotherapy: drugs are used for destroying cancerous cells, and it also helps in minimizing the chances of its reoccurrence and spreading to other areas. Those detected with larger tumors might also be administered with chemotherapy, so that the size of the tumor can be decreased.

Radiation Therapy: Powerful energy beams are used in radiation therapy for killing the cancer cells. This is either done through a machine or by injecting radioactive materials within the body. External radiation therapy is generally used for cancers at an early stage following lumpectomy and even after mastectomy of large cancers. There are some side effects of radiation therapy as well. These include rashes, redness of the skin, fatigue, swelling or firmness in the breast tissues, etc.

Hormone Therapy: Cancers, which are sensitive towards some hormones, are treated through hormone therapy. This therapy can be used following a surgery or any other treatment. This helps in minimizing the chances of reoccurrence of cancer as well. In fact, for cancers that have spread to other areas, this therapy can actually help in shrinking it and controlling it.

Drug Treatment: This including using different kinds of drugs for attacking particular kind of abnormalities with breast cancer cells. Some of the drugs used in the therapy include Trastuzumab, Lapatinib, Pertuzumab, Kadcyla, etc.

PREVENTION

In case of breast cancer, changes in lifestyle can help in avoiding the risk of developing such cancer. Regular screening can also help in early detection, which can help in better treatment. One also use self exam for checking any unusual signs or lumps. Women who have crossed the age of 35 are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, so it is recommended that they should go for routine checkup for diagnosing any risk of breast cancer. Other tips for prevention include:

  • One should drink less alcohol or should stop drinking, if they are at a risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Healthy diet and regular exercise is another way of preventing conditions like breast cancer, because being active is one of the best ways of staying healthy.
  • Women who have a family history of breast cancer are at higher risk of being affected by it, so such women should consult with a specialist to get preventive medication or therapy,which can help in reducing the risk of breast cancer. There are medications that help in blocking estrogen and thus reduce the risk of breast cancer. Certain side effects also accompany these kinds of medications. High risk patients can also opt for preventive surgery, where they can get their breasts removed even before the occurrence of breast cancer. However, it is important to consult your doctor, before going for any of these preventive measures, as they would recommend the best for you.

VIDEO HINDI / ENGLISH

Hindi | English

Disclaimer: This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only and is NOT to be regarded as a substitute of the advice of your doctor. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your loved one, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Please review the Terms of Use before using this site. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.


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CERVICAL CANCER

OVERVIEW

Cervical Cancer occurs from the cells, which originates in cervix uteri. Lower portion of the uterus is known as the Cervix, and it open to the vagina. This type of cancer occur when cells that are abnormal becomes uncontrollable and start growing at a very fast pace. In majority of the cases of cervical cancer, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is one of the major factors causing the development of cervical cancer. Women with a good immune system are able to fight the virus, and can stop it from doing any harm. However, in some women, this virus stays for a longer period and can turn healthy cells into cancerous cells over the time. Now there are vaccines available, which help in fighting with cervical cancer, but these vaccines are effective in stopping only a few of the HPV viruses.

Majority of the cervical cancers are classified as squamous cell carcinomas, which arise in squamous or flattened epithelial cells lining the cervix area. Only a few cervical cancers arise in glandular epithelial cells. These are the next common kind of cancers after the squamous cell cancers. It is very rare that cervical cancer originates in any other cells other the two mentioned above. Many patients are affected with HPV, but it is diagnosed after a number of years. The virus stays in the body and can develop cancer after many years. Other than HPV infection, sexual practices and patterns of women enhance the risk of developing cervical cancer. Having many sexual partners and other risky sexual activities increases the risk of cervical cancer manifold.

SYMPTOMS

There might not be any kind of symptoms or signs at an early stage of cervical cancer. Symptoms might crop up as the cancer progresses towards advanced stages. It is important to look for early symptoms as this helps in detecting the cancer at an early stage and also helps in proper treatment of the cancer. Key symptoms include:

  • Vaginal bleeding, which is not normal. This can happen after menopause, intercourse or amid two periods as well.
  • Abnormal discharge with mucus or with blood stains. Discharge might also not stop and can be watery and pale with foul smell.
  • Longer and heavier periods with a change in the menstrual cycle
  • Pain during intercourse

At advanced stages, cervical cancer can spread to lungs, intestine, bladder, and even the liver. At such an advanced stage, one might experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the back or pain in the bones. Pain can be ongoing for a long time.
  • Bone can also get fractured, but this happens rarely
  • Swollen legs and pain in the legs
  • Fatigue
  • Urine leakage due to blockage in ureter or kidney. Stool or urine can also leak into the vagina due to an unusual opening amid the bladder and the vagina.
  • Feces can also leak from vagina
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding

Other symptoms include Pelvic pain, appetite loss, loss of weight, and single swollen leg.

DIAGNOSIS

For early detection of cervical cancer, a pap test is done. This helps in finding abnormal cells in the cervix. Some physicians also call for HPV DNA lab test to detect the type of HPV virus that have affected the patient and has resulted into cervical cancer. This test also comprises of collection of cells from cervix and then a lab test is done.
After the screening test cervical cancer is diagnosed through tests, which are following:

  • Biopsy: Confirmation of cervical cancer is done through a biopsy. This is done through different methods, including:

Colposcopy: This is done to find out whether cancer cells are located on the cervix surface and where they are located. In this method the doctor examines the cervix using magnification. After this, some tissues are removed surgically and are sent for lab tests.
LEEP or cone biopsy: In this inner lining of cervix is taken away for pathological examination. This is primarily done when cervical intraepithelial neoplasia is confirmed from earlier tests.
Endocervical biopsy: this is done to diagnose whether affected cells are located in cervical canal or not.
Diagnostic tests conducted for finding out the stage of the includes:

  • Imaging tests: These tests include CT scans, x-rays, and MRI. These help in determining the spread of the cancer, especially beyond the cervix.
  • Visual tests by the doctor: The physician might make use of special scopes to look inside the rectum and bladder. This helps in diagnosing whether the cancer has extended to the patient’s urinary system. Visual tests include cystoscopy, proctoscopy, and intravenous pyelogram. In cystoscopy, the doctor looks at the large intestine’s lower part, whereas in proctoscopy, examination of the lower portion of large intestine is done, and finally intravenous pyelogram is done to detect any kind of blockage in the kidney.

TREATMENT

Treatment differs greatly when it comes to cervical cancer. The main reason behind this is the variances found in the cases across the globe. The treatment option for cervical cancer also varies with the stage and spread of the cancer as well as women’s age and her wish to have children. Major treatment choices include:

  • Surgery: Need for surgery is based on the spread of the cancer and also its location. If cervical cancer is detected at an early stage, then cancerous tissues can be removed through surgical options like:

LEEP (Loop electrosurgical excision procedure): In this surgical procedure the abnormal tissues are removed.
Laser therapy or cryotherapy: This can also be done at an early stage for burning all abnormal tissues.
Hysterectomy: If the cervical cancer is microinvasive, then it can be treated through hysterectomy. If the cancer is on IA2 stage, then lymph nodes are also removed. This procedure can also be used for women, who have already gone through multiple LEEP procedures. The ovaries are not removed in this procedure.

  • Radiation therapy: This is mainly used for large tumors in early stage. This treatment utilizes high dosage of implants or x-rays in vaginal cavity for destroying the cancer cells. This is also used with surgery for treating cancer, which has extended beyond cervix. At an early stage, this therapy can prove to be very effective. It can also be also used with chemotherapy prior to a surgery to minimize the size of the tumor.
  • Chemotherapy: In this treatment option, medicines are used for killing cancer cells. Chemotherapy might follow a hysterectomy. This can also be combined with radiation therapy. Drugs used in chemotherapy include carboplatin, cisplatin, 5-FU, cyclophosphamide, paclitaxel, etc.

Treatment for cervical cancer, which has reached an advanced stage include radical hysterectomy, where the uterus is removed along with some surrounding tissues. This includes upper portion of vagina as well as the lymph nodes. Another treatment is pelvic exenteration, which is a very extreme surgery, in which all pelvis organs are removed including the rectum and bladder.

PREVENTION

Nowadays, people are very much aware of cervical screening also known as Pap smear test. This test has helped in minimizing the mortality rate and the incidence of cervical cancer in many developed countries. If women go for a Pap smear screening in every three to five years along with proper follow up, then this can reduce the risk of cervical cancer to almost eighty percent. With proper screening one can get preventive treatment on time. When detected early, cervical cancer can be treated noninvasively, but there can be a bit of fertility impairment in such treatment.
Other preventive measures which one can take include:

  • Vaccination: Two vaccines are now available, which helps in reducing the risk of precancerous changes or cancerous changes of cervix by almost 93 percent. These vaccines work only if they are given prior to the occurrence of the infection. This is normally given to females, who belong to the age group of 11 years to 26 years. Nothing much is known about the duration for which the vaccine will be effective and about the need of a booster. Although, the cost of these vaccines is a matter of concern for many.
  • Safe intercourse: To prevent sexually transmitted infections, one should indulge in safer sex and should take appropriate preventive measures like condoms to lessen the risk of catching HPV infection. This can also help to prevent genital warts, which are antecedents of cervical cancer.
  • Quit smoking: Those who smoke or even come in contact with secondhand smoke are at a greater risk of changes in cervical cells, which can result into cervical cancer. Therefore, one should quit smoking if they want to stay away from cervical cancer.
  • Intake of nutrition: Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, vitamin E, vitamin C and even beta-carotene helps in reducing the risk of such cancers.

VIDEO HINDI / ENGLISH

Hindi | English

Disclaimer: This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only and is NOT to be regarded as a substitute of the advice of your doctor. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your loved one, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Please review the Terms of Use before using this site. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.


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OVARIAN CANCER TREATMENT

OVERVIEW

Cancerous growth in the ovary is known as ovarian cancer. There are two ovaries in women and they are located on either side of uterus. Producing eggs and hormones like testosterone, progesterone and estrogen is the main function of the ovaries. Majority of the ovarian cancers categorized as epithelial, and it is believed that they originate from the ovary’s surface, which is called the epithelium. However, a number of evidences now hint that some of the ovarian cancers can also originate from the fallopian tube. The reason behind this is the proximity between these tubes and the ovaries, so many think that the tubes can take off ovarian cancer. This kind of cancer falls in the category of Gynecologic cancer. In most of the cases, ovarian cancer is hard to detect until it extends beyond the ovaries and spread to the abdomen and the pelvis. Treatment at such a later stage is very difficult and is a lot fatal than earlier stages. According to reports ovarian cancer stands on the fifth position among common cancers affecting women. This type of cancer is behind more deaths as compared to other categories of reproductive cancer in females. The exact cause of ovarian cancer is yet not known. However, some factors that lead to the risk of developing this cancer have been listed. These include:

  • Woman having children in later stage of her life
  • Gene problems are also behind a few of the ovarian cancers
  • Women consuming estrogen replacement without progesterone for almost five years or over five years

Older women are also found to be at a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer as in most of the cases more number of deaths has been reported in women who have crossed the age of 55.

SYMPTOMS

As far as the symptoms of ovarian cancer are concerned, most of them do not show up in the early stage of ovarian cancer. Majority of the cases of ovarian cancer reports symptoms, which continues for a longer period before actually being identified and further diagnosed. Another problem with the common symptoms of ovarian cancer is that they are not specific symptoms of this condition, as they are similar to conditions other than cancer as well. This is one of the main reasons behind the late diagnosis of ovarian cancer and till the time the cancer is diagnosed, it spreads to areas beyond the ovaries. The symptoms and signs of ovarian cancer include:

  • Bloating more than often
  • Abdominal pressure or swelling
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Urinary symptoms are also possible like urinating frequently or feeling urgent need of urinating
  • Alternations in bladder habits
  • Continual gas, nausea, or bowel habits
  • Difficulty in eating or feeling full very quickly
  • More abdominal girth
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Fatigue and lack of energy more than often

Other symptoms that are associated with ovarian cancer include tiredness and constipation, and there are several non-specific symptoms that patients can experience over time. Some of the specifics signs of ovarian cancer include unexpected weight loss and vaginal bleeding. In ovarian cancer, build-up fluids in abdominal cavity can also be present. This type of cancer is also associated with rectal bleeding, abdominal distension, anemia, appetite loss, and postmenopausal bleeding as well. Those, who have a history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer in their family, should immediately consult a doctor if they experience any of the abovementioned signs or symptoms. Physicians might ask a patient to consult a genetic counselor for discussing about tests of gene mutations, which can enhance the risk of ovarian cancer.

DIAGNOSIS

  • Physical Examination: Normally diagnosis of ovarian cancer begins with physical examination, which comprise of a pelvic test. In a pelvic examination, a physician checks the part of the genitals that are exposed, and then put in two fingers into the vagina and presses it with the other hand at the same time for feeling the ovaries and uterus. A device named speculum is also inserted in the vagina to check it along with the cervix to detect any kind of abnormalities.
  • Biopsy: This is done to confirm the presence of ovarian cancer in women. This procedure is usually combined with laparotomy by making an incision in the patient’s belly.
  • Ultrasound: This helps in providing a clear image of the ovaries to the physician and also helps in diagnosing the shape and size of the ovaries.
  • Removing tissue samples: This is normally done through a surgery for confirming ovarian cancer. In this an incision is made in the abdomen for examining the abdominal cavity and sometimes more than one incision is also made. A robotic surgery might also be done to do this test. Abdominal fluid samples are collected and an ovary might also be removed for pathological tests.
  • Blood Test: CA 125 blood test is also carried out for diagnosing ovarian cancer. Plane of the cancerous cells contains a protein named CA 125 and women, who have ovarian cancer, are diagnosed with high levels of this protein. However, there are some other conditions other than ovarian cancer that can increase the level of this protein in the blood.

If diagnostic possibilities include an ovarian malignancy, then only a few lab tests are required. These include a serum electrolyte test and CBC (complete blood count). A CT scan is done for determining the stage of the cancer or the extent of its spread in the body.

TREATMENT

Surgery, together with chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the main treatment options available for ovarian cancer.

  • Surgery: Surgery is opted for malignant cancers, which are restricted to the ovary and is distinct. For ovarian cancer, surgery includes extensive operation. Both the ovaries might be surgically removed along with the uterus and the fallopian tubes. When both the ovaries are removed, it is called bilateral oophorectomy. Sometimes, lymph nodes in the nearby areas are also removed with the ‘omentum’, fatty abdominal tissue from where the cancer spreads. When ovarian cancer is detected at an early stage, surgery might not be very extensive. For the first stage of ovarian cancer, only one ovary is removed with the fallopian tube. Removal of one ovary is known as unilateral oophorectomy and removal of fallopian tubes is called salpingectomy. This helps in preserving the fertility, so that a woman can have babies in future. The spread of the cancer and the stage at which it is diagnosed are the factors that determine the kind of surgery essential for treating the ovarian cancer. For surgery, it is important to consult a specialist, who has experience in the field of gynecologic oncology. Precise staging of the tumor also helps in improving the result of the surgery for ovarian cancer. Surgery is also important in such cases to collect tissue specimens for diagnosis through histology.
  • Radiation therapy: This therapy is used very rarely for treating ovarian cancer, as this is not much effective for treating cancers at an advanced stage. A high dosage cannot be administered when primary organs come in the way of the radiation field. This is the reason why is not a prevalent treatment options.
  • Chemotherapy:The protocols of chemotherapy for treating ovarian cancer vary greatly. This is mainly used following a surgery for treating any disease that is left after the surgery. Histology is done to determine whether chemotherapy is necessary. This is important as a few of the tumors are not sensitive to this treatment.

PREVENTION

  • Proper screening is one of the best ways of preventing cancers, but in the case of ovarian cancer no screening has been recommended as a standard test for detecting ovarian cancer, as tests like CA-125 or ultrasound might not be effective in detecting ovarian cancer. However, BRCA gene examination might be done for those patients, who are at a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Tubal ligation seems to minimize the risk of developing ovarian cancer, especially in women carrying BRCA1 gene. Some studies shows that using birth control pills for a period of five years helps in decreasing the risk of developing ovarian cancer in later stages almost by half. However, some risk accompanies contraceptive pills as well. Therefore, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of such pills with your doctor, before going for them.
  • Ask for a doctor’s advice if there is a family history of ovarian cancer or breast cancer, as it is important to discuss the complications with a physician. A doctor can help in determining whether you are at the risk of developing this kind of cancer or not. This can also help in finding out whether a woman is affected with gene mutation. Surgery is used for removing ovaries in such cases to prevent the cancer. Women who have issues with BRCA1 and BRCA2 get the ovaries removed surgically as this aids in cutting down the risk of being affected by ovarian cancer. However, ovarian cancer might still crop up in other pelvic areas

VIDEO HINDI / ENGLISH

Hindi | English

Disclaimer: This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only and is NOT to be regarded as a substitute of the advice of your doctor. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your loved one, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Please review the Terms of Use before using this site. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.


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HEAD & NECK CANCER TREATMENT

OVERVIEW

A cluster of biologically identical cancers, which begins in nasal cavity, oral cavity, the lip, pharynx, paranasal sinuses, and in the larynx are known as head and neck cancer. Majority of the head and neck cancers originate in squamous cells, which contours the mucosal surfaces within the neck and head area. Head and neck cancer originating from the salivary gland is comparatively rare than other forms of this cancer. In majority of the cases these kinds of cancers extend to the neck’s lymph nodes.

Head and neck cancers are classified according to the area where they originate. The areas include the following:

  • Oral cavity: Oral cavity is a common area for origination of squamous cell cancers. This encompasses the tongue, inner lip, gingivae, mouth’s floor, and the hard palate, which is the hard upper side of the mouth. Cancer of this region is primarily related to excessive use of tobacco.
  • Larynx: Also called the Voice Box, Larynx is the area from where Laryngeal cancer begins. Cancer can either crop up on tissues over and beneath the true cords or on vocal folds. Larynx covers the vocal cords and the epiglottis.
  • Pharynx: This is a 5-inches long hollow tube that connects the nose to the esophagus. This includes three parts namely the oropharynx, the nasopharynx, and the hypopharynx. Nsaopharyngeal cancers have distinct biology, epidemiology, clinical behavior, and treatment. Oropharynx is in the center of the throat, and it encompasses the tonsils, soft palate and the bottom of the tongue. The hypopharynx consist of the postcricoid area, posterior pharyngeal wall, and the pyriform sinuses.
  • Salivary Gland: This gland produces saliva and is found close to the jaw bone in the base of the mouth. Tumors originating in the salivary glands are different from the common cancers of the neck and head. The key difference includes etiology, clinical presentation, therapy, and histopathology.
  • Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinuses: These are the hollow spaces in the head’s bones, which encircle the nose. The space within the nose is the nasal cavity.

SYMPTOMS

Mainly, people suffering from cancers of the head and neck might experience a sore or a lump in the neck or throat. However, in case of cancer, this might not go away or heal overtime and can cause difficulty in swallowing or speaking. Some might also suffer from face muscle paralysis, but this symptom is not very common. Other symptoms include:

  • White or red patches in the mouth
  • Swollen jaw
  • Pain or bleeding in the mouth
  • A lump or mass in the neck or head area
  • Four odor from the mouth
  • Nasal congestion or difficulty in breathing
  • Frequent headaches or trouble in hearing
  • Pain in the ear
  • Blood in phlegm or saliva
  • Numbness around the neck or head area
  • Numbness in mouth
  • Sore tongue
  • Horse voice or sore throat persisting over six weeks
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Upper teeth ache
  • Difficulty with dentures
  • Swelling beneath the chin
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Excessive fatigue

At times, patients do not show any of the above mentioned symptoms, or such symptoms might be the result of other medical problems. Therefore, it is important to consult your physician, if you notice any of these symptoms.

DIAGNOSIS

Usually, patients complain of the common symptoms of the cancers of head and neck. However, physicians normally examine the patient’s medical history, and might carry out a number of tests based on the symptoms that the patient complain of. Tests are done to diagnose the cancer and to detect whether it has metastasized, which means the extent to which it has spread. Biopsy is usually done to determine the presence of cancer and imaging tests are carried out to detect its spread. The kind of cancer, medical condition of the patient, age, result of previous tests, and severity of symptoms, are the key factors affecting the diagnosis of head and neck cancers.
Here are the main tests, which are used for diagnosing cancers of the head and neck.

  • Physical examination along with urine and blood test:This examination is used by the doctor to detect any kind of lumps on the cheeks, gums, lips, or neck area. The same is done for finding out lumps in throat, mouth, nose and tongue. Doctors might also se mirror and light for a better and clear view. Urine and blood tests are carried out for diagnosing cancer.
  • Biopsy: In this test, some tissues are removed for examining them under the microscope. This is the only test, which can provide distinct result. This normally analyzed by a pathologist.
  • X-ray: When patients suffer from swallowing difficulties, a specific kind of barium swallow, also known as modified barium swallow is required for evaluating such swallowing difficulties. X-rays of the maxilla, mandible, and teeth might also be taken for diagnosis.
  • Endoscopy: a flexible, light, and thin tube called the endoscope is used in this test to look inside the body. The test has different names based on the area, which is being diagnosed. For instance, laryngiscopy for larynx, nasopharyngoscopy for nasopharyx and pharyngoscopic for pharynx.
  • CT scan: It creates a 3D image of the body, and then a computer is used for combining the images into a cross-sectional and detailed view, which helps in detecting tumors or other abnormalities.
  • PET scan: Images of tissues and organs within the body are created after injecting a bit of radioactive substance. Later, a scanner is used for detecting substances, which absorbs the radioactive substance and produce pictures of the body from inside.
  • MRI: In this test a powerful magnet connected to a computer takes detailed images of the areas of neck and head from within.

TREATMENT

Once the diagnosis is done and the extent of the tumor has been determined, the right treatment for the cancer is chosen. This choice is based on a number of variables, which include patient performance, associated health problems, nutritional status of the patient, site of the tumor, morbidity of several treatment options, preference of the patient, logistic and social factors, etc. For planning the treatment, one has to consult specialist surgeons as well as radiation and medical oncologists. If detected at an early stage, many head and neck cancers can be treated successfully. However, main goal of the treatment is not only to cure the cancer, but also to preserve the function of tissues, nerves, and organs close to the affected area. Multidisciplinary teams are often formed for evaluating the patient before the treatment actually begins. This evaluation might also include HPV infection testing, as this affects the choice of the treatment option. Treatment options for head and neck cancers are mentioned below:

  • Surgery: The key types of surgery done for removing cancerous tumors include Excision, Lymph Node Dissection, Reconstructive surgery, and Laser Technology. The main aim of surgery is to do away with the cancerous tumor along with a few healthy tissues surrounding it. However, surgery might affect chewing, swallowing or talking ability of patients. Based on the type of cancer, stage, and location, patients might have to undergo more than a single operation.
  • Radiation Therapy: High-energy x-rays are used for killing the cancer cells. Different types of radiation therapy include intensity-modulated therapy, 3D-conformal therapy, and brachytherapy. This therapy can leave behind unwanted side effects.
  • Chemotherapy: Drugs are used for killing cancer cells and provide an environment that stops the cancer to spread in other body parts. A mix of carboplatin and paclitaxel is the typical agent of chemotherapy. Side effects of this therapy vary with the drug used.
  • Photodynamic therapy: This is used to treat small neck and head tumors.
  • Targeted Therapy: Drugs as well as other substances like monoclonal antibodies are used for identifying and attacking certain cancer cells without any damage to normal cells.

PREVENTION

  • 85 percent of cancers of head and neck are associated with use of tobacco, so avoiding tobacco is one of the ways of preventing such cancers. In fact, people who use both alcohol and tobacco are more likely to develop such cancers.
  • One way to prevent head and neck cancers is to avoid the main factors that can cause such cancers like excessive smoking pipes, longer exposure to sun’s harmful rays, and exposure to harmful chemicals.
  • One should avoid excessive smoking or longer exposure to sun’s rays and chemicals.
  • Another way of preventing occurrence of such cancers is to avoid HPV infection
  • Routine dental examination, especially after the age of 50 helps in identifying pre-cancerous abrasions in oral cavity.
  • When diagnosed at an early stage, the chances of survival increases manifold.
  • HPV vaccines, yet not approved, are available, and are expected to minimize the risk of head and neck cancers induced from HPV infection.
  • Patients who are already diagnosed with head and neck cancers should completely stay away from smoking or drinking to avoid development of a new cancer. Studies have proved that people who continue to drink and smoke are more likely to develop second primary cancer within a period of twenty years from the initial diagnosis.

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LUNG CANCER TREATMENT

OVERVIEW

Lung cancer is a condition when a number of mutations cause normal lung cells to grow without any control. This abnormal growth can extend beyond the lung and can affect other body parts as well. These cancers can occur in the windpipe or the air sacs that borders the lung. This is where the oxygen exchange happens. With the growth of the tumor, ability of the lung in providing oxygen to the bloodstream decreases. Cancers, originating in the lungs are known as primary lung cancer, and those, which occur in other body parts and then make their way to the lung are called Secondary lung cancer.

Categories of lung cancer
Lung cancer is mainly classified into two broad categories: SCLC (small-cell lung carcinoma) and NSCLC (non-small-cell lung carcinoma). NSCLC accounts for 80 percent of cancers of the ling and the remaining twenty percent is the SCLC. SCLCs are also known as oat cell cancer. The treatment option varies with the kind of lung cancer that the patient has developed.

Difference in lung cancer in men and women Lung cancer in men and women differs from each other in a number of ways. The difference includes the causes of cancer, rate of survival in men and women, response to different kinds of treatment, and even the symptoms. Adenocarcinoma is the kind of cancer, which is generally found in women, whereas men are seen to suffer from squamous cell cancer (another form of NSCLC). A distinctive set of symptoms known as paraneoplastic syndrome is commonly found in cancer of the lungs in men.

SYMPTOMS

The location of the cancer, its size, and its spread are some of the main factors, which affect the symptoms of lung cancer. In early stages, there might be no symptoms. Symptoms my crop up in the later stages of the lung cancer. However, it is still important to know about the common symptoms, as rate of survival increases if the cancer is detected at an early stage.

Symptoms of lung cancer are categorized as respiratory symptoms, systematic symptoms, and symptoms that arise because of local compress.

Respiratory symptoms

  • Cough, that stays overtime even after getting some initial treatment.
  • Blood with cough (hemoptysis)
  • Breathing difficulties because of decreased airflow
  • Wheezing due to obstructed airflow

Systematic symptoms

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Clubbing of fingernails
  • Fever

Symptoms because of local compress

  • Pain in the chest, shoulder, or back
  • Pain in bones
  • Difficulties during swallowing

Other symptoms include :

  • Hoarseness
  • Repeated infections in the lung
  • Stridor, which are harsh sounds coming out while breathing
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Color change of mucus

When this kind of cancer spreads some other symptoms also surfaces in the area that the cancer affects. If the cancer moves to the brain, then symptoms like seizures, headaches, vertigo, etc can crop up. Bones and joints can become painful and bones can even break. When it spreads to the adrenal glands, it can affect the hormone level in the patient. Growth of cancer in airway might block the airflow, which can result into breathing problems and this obstruction can result into buildup of secretions and can lead to pneumonia. Symptoms like fatigue, fever, and weight loss are not very specific symptoms. In fact, ten percent of patients do not show symptoms during diagnosis. At times, such cancers are detected during regular chest radiology.

DIAGNOSIS

  • The initial step in diagnosis of lung cancer begins with carrying out a chest radiograph. This can reveal a mass, collapse, spreading of the cancer to lymph nodes, pleural effusion, or pneumonia. For gathering more information other advanced imaging techniques are used.
  • Biopsy or Bronchoscopy is normally used for sampling the tumor, required for histopathology. In this method, a tube is inserted in the airways for visualizing and taking a sample. This is mainly used for cancer that originates in large airways.
  • After chest radiography, CT scan is done for evaluating symptoms.
  • For examining the possibility of the cancer, MRI is also used.
  • PET scan is also used to follow up the previous tests
  • Sputum Cytology is another way of confirming the diagnosis. However, it is restricted to the tumors, which spread to the airways. This might not provide accurate results all the time, as it sometimes misses a few cancer cells.
  • A comparatively new technique of diagnosing lung cancer is Endobronchial ultrasound. In this method, doctors utilize an ultrasound prod inside the airway. This aids in checking the lung as well as the area amid the lungs
  • When such cancers affect the parts bordering the lungs Thoracentesis is used. A large needle is placed in the pleural space for removing a little amount of fluid for diagnosis.
  • Mediatinoscopy: This method is carried out in the OT and the patient is administered with general anesthesia. A scope is placed just over the sternum, amid the lungs, for taking samples of tissues from the lymph nodes.
  • Bone scan is also used for testing the involvement of bones like the ribs, hip, or back.

TREATMENT

Treatment of lung cancer depends on the cancer type, stage, health and age of the patient, and a few other factors. Usually, patients have to go through multiple therapies. The major treatment options for lung cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and palliative care. In the recent years, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and gene therapy are also available as treatment options.

Surgery

  • Surgery is usually done for NSCLC at an early stage.
  • Either a part of a lobe, the whole lobe, or even the entire lung might be removed in surgery.
  • Cryosurgery is also used for treating NSCLC.
  • The amount to which the removal is done is based on the location of the tumor, its size, and spread.

Chemotherapy

  • Powerful medicines are used for killing cancer cells
  • This is very effective for treating small-cell lung cancer
  • It aids in controlling the cancer’s spread
  • Common medicines used in chemotherapy include cisplatin, carboplatin, erlotinib, gemcitabine, docetaxel, etoposide, etc.
  • The treatment is carried out in cycles
  • This kind of treatment targets the cells that develops rapidly
  • It is called systematic treatment, as medicines kill original tumor cells along with cancer cells
  • Medicines are given in yearly, monthly, or even weekly basis

Radiation

  • X-rays of high energy are used for killing or shrinking cancer cells.
  • Patients who are not fit for surgery might have to undergo SBRT (stereotactic body radiation therapy)
  • For SCLC cases that can be cured, chest radiotherapy is prescribed along with chemotherapy.
  • In early stages of radiotherapy, severity of side effects can be comparatively more. However, with advancement in technology now beams are targeted precisely.
  • Common side effects include hair loss, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, skin irritation, etc.


PREVENTION

  • Use of tobacco is one of the main causes of lung cancers, so elimination of smoking is the best way to prevent lung cancer
  • Many western countries have applied policy interventions for decreasing passive smoking
  • Even cutting down the frequency in which one smokes can help in reducing the risk of developing lung cancer
  • Nowadays, medicated nicotine inhalers and gums are available for people who are trying to quit smoking
  • Some studies also suggest that people who have a healthy diet comprising of fruits and vegetables in the right proportion are less likely to develop lung cancer
  • Risk of developing lung cancer is increased due to exposure to asbestos, radon, and secondhand smoke, so it is better to avoid the exposure to any of these.
  • In some occupations, people are exposed to harmful chemicals, radioactive dust, and fumes, which can be a cause of lung cancer. Therefore, it is important to take preventive gears while working in such conditions.

VIDEO HINDI / ENGLISH

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Disclaimer: This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only and is NOT to be regarded as a substitute of the advice of your doctor. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your loved one, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Please review the Terms of Use before using this site. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.


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COLORECTAL CANCER TREATMENT

OVERVIEW

Uncontrolled growth of cells in rectum or colon (large intestine) is known as colorectal cancer. This is also called bowel cancer or colon cancer. It can also originate in the appendix. This kind of cancer usually initiates in the form of tiny polyps, which is also known as adenomatous polyps. Majority of the colon polyps remain benign in nature, but a few of them can turn cancerous. Polyps are so small that they generally do not show any symptom of being cancerous or rather show only a few symptoms. This is the reason why it is recommended to go for routine screening for early detection of colorectal cancer.

The major causes of colorectal cancer have been observed to be increasing age and lifestyle. Only a few of the colorectal cancer cases are related to primary genetic disorders. This type of cancer normally begins in the bowel’s lining and if such cancers do not get proper treatment in time, then it can extend to the muscle layer beneath and also stretches through bowel wall. Screening of colorectal cancer is recommended once someone attends the age of fifty and it should be done regularly until the age of 75.

Colorectal cancers, which remain restricted to the colon wall, can be cured with surgical procedures. In fact, colorectal cancer stands in the third place among commonly diagnosed cancers around the globe. From 75 percent to 95 percent of colorectal cancers happens to people who have no or very little genetic risk. Almost ten percent of colorectal cases are associated with reason of insufficient activity. People who suffers from inflammatory bowel disease are more like to develop colorectal cancer and if the longevity and severity of the inflammation is more, then the chances of developing colorectal cancer is also more.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary with the place from where the tumor originates in the bowel. Other factors, which affect the symptoms of colorectal cancer, include its spread to other areas of the body. In a number of cases of colorectal cancer, there are no symptoms in the initial stages. Symptoms also do not occur in treatable stages of colorectal cancer. Symptoms start to come up when the cancer begins to grow in size. Some of the common symptoms of colorectal cancer, which one should keep an eye on include:

  • Worsening of constipation
  • Change in frequency of regular bowel movement
  • Blood in the stool, which might appear very dark or bright red
  • Diarrhea or constipation is also a sign of colorectal cancer, but these are normally persistent in succases of cancer
  • Narrower stool than usual. Long and thin stools are also called pencil stools.
  • Decrease in caliber of the stool
  • Most of the times there can be a feeling that the bowel is not entirely empty
  • Rectal bleeding as well as cramping is another common symptom
  • Bloating with abdominal discomfort, which includes fullness, more than normal gas pains, cramps etc.
  • Vomiting or nausea, especially in those, who have crossed the age of fifty
  • Consistent fatigue
  • Weight loss without any significant reason
  • Anemia and rectal bleeding can be riskier features in those, who are over fifty years of age.

DIAGNOSIS

For those who have attended the age of fifty, there are a number of tools or diagnostic tests for detecting colorectal cancer at an early stage. These tests can help in recognizing pre-cancerous conditions. These tests include:

  • FOBT (Fetal occult blood test): This is used for checking blood that is hidden in the stool.
  • Colonoscopy: This test checks the entire colon and the rectum with the help of a colonoscope. This is one of the well-known examinations of colorectal cancer.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: This examines the lower colon and the rectum with the aid of lighted equipment known as the sigmoidoscope.
  • Virtual colonoscopy: This is almost similar to a standard colonoscopy. However, an external machine is used for scanning in place of a device, which is placed inside the colon. In this method, there is no need of inflating the colon with gas to get proper scanning results.
  • DRE (digital rectal exam): This is another screening test for colorectal cancer, where the physician insert a gloved and lubricated finger inside the rectum for feeling any kind of abnormal area.
  • Genetic Testing: Normally physicians no rely on genetic testing for diagnosing colorectal cancer at an early stage, but in some cases this can be appropriate. This might be used for determining the risk of developing genetic forms of cancer.

Other tests done to diagnose and confirm the presence of colorectal cancer include:

  • X-rays and dyes: A doctor might use barium enema for evaluating the whole of the colon with the help of an x-ray. The bariums coats and fills the bowel lining and create clear outlines of the rectum and the colon.
  • CT scan: CT scans can be combined with virtual colonoscopy for getting detailed images of the colon from within. CT scan of the pelvis, abdomen, and chest is done to determine the extent of the cancer. Virtual colonoscopy is recommended when standard colonoscopy is not possible.
  • Biopsy: Tumor biopsy is normally done while sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy is done and this diagnostic test also depend on the cancer’s location.

Staging test is mainly done through CT scans.

TREATMENT

Palliation or Curation can be two main aims of treatment for colorectal cancer. The choice of treatment depends on a number of factors. These include the preferences and health of the patient along with stage of the tumor. If colorectal cancer is detected at an early stage, then treatment can be curative. For cancers that have progressed beyond a level the main aim of treatment is palliation. The primary options for treatment include:

  • Surgery: For localized and small cancer that is at an advanced stage, colonoscopy can be used for removing the polyp completely. A few of the larger polyps are removed with the help of laparoscopic surgery. In such a Surgery, surgeons make multiple incisions in the abdominal wall. Then they insert instruments that have cameras attached to them to take pictures of the colon. Samples from the lymph nodes are also taken from the location of the cancer. For cancers that have extended through the colon, partial colectomy is surgery is used for removing the part of the colon together with some of the normal tissues surrounding the cancer. For very advanced colorectal cancers, physicians might go for an operation for relieving any blockage in the colon. Chemotherapy might be used prior to this type of surgery. This kind of surgery is primarily done to improve signs of cancer and not to cure it.
  • Chemotherapy: In this procedure drugs are used for killing the cancer cells, to relive several symptoms, and also to control the growth of the tumor. When colorectal cancer extends beyond the colon wall and make its way to lymph nodes, then doctors can also recommend chemotherapy.
  • Targeted Drug Therapy: In this method drugs are administered for targeting particular defects, which enable the cancerous cells to propagate. This option is primarily available for patients suffering from advanced colon cancer.Drugs mainly used in this procedure include cetuximab, bevacizumab, panitumumab, etc.
  • Radiation Therapy: Powerful sources of energy are used in radiation therapy. This includes x-rays for killing cancer cells or to decrease the size of the tumor before going for a surgery. If the size of the tumor is reduced, then removing it with a surgery becomes easier as well. This also helps in relieving many symptoms of rectal and colon cancer. This therapy is hardly used in treatment of colorectal cancers at an early stage. However, when rectal cancer penetrates through the colon wall, then this procedure is used. Radiation therapy is also used together with chemotherapy and is also used following a surgery for minimizing the risk of the cancer spreading to other areas of rectum.

PREVENTION

Close observation, proper medication, and better lifestyles are some of the ways that can help in preventing colorectal cancer. The main changes that can help in prevention of colorectal cancer include:

  • Screening: Majority of the colorectal cancers start from adenomatous polyps, which makes it acquiescent to screening. If colorectal cancer is screened properly, then it can help in bringing down the mortality rate by almost sixty percent.
  • Lifestyle: Presently doctors recommend increased consumption of fruits, Vegetables, and whole grains to avoid the occurrence of colorectal cancer. Decrease in red meat intake is also recommended by experts. However, there is not enough evidence in support of consumption of fruits, vegetables, or fiber.
  • Medication: Celecoxib and Aspirin are said to be helpful in reducing the risk of developing colorectal cancer. This is mainly for those, who are at a greater risk of colorectal cancer. Intake of vitamin D along with blood levels are related to lesser risk of developing colon cancer.

VIDEO HINDI / ENGLISH

Hindi | English

Disclaimer: This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only and is NOT to be regarded as a substitute of the advice of your doctor. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your loved one, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Please review the Terms of Use before using this site. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.


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