Our body is a beautiful design of god. Every single cell in our body has a specific mechanism of growing, dividing and then eventually dying. This whole process is regulated by the DNA present in our cells and it starts right after we are conceived in our mother’s womb and continues as we grow. After we become adults, our body cells do not cease to multiply; rather they continue the process and replace the worn-out cells or used in repairing injuries. But when these cells grow uncontrollably, they become cancerous and rather than perishing like normal cells, continue to multiply and grow more and more abnormal cells which can also attack other tissues and form malignant tumors.
There are millions of people worldwide who are fighting with cancer or had it. It has become quite common these days and statistics show that half of all men and one third of all women will develop cancer during their lifetime. There are several types of cancers depending on the organs they affect like lung, skin, kidney, etc. Survival of an individual suffering from cancer depends on the overall health of the individual and the type of cancer he or she is suffering with. People suffering from cancer, not only endure immense physical pain but also undergo mental trauma. One can understand the plight of little girls having leukaemia and losing their hair because of the chemotherapy that they have to undergo for its treatment. There is no absolute cure available for cancer. Let’s look at the top 10 most common cancer types.
10. Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is the tenth most common cancer type and involves abnormal growth of cells in the tissues of the ovary, a female reproductive organ where the eggs are made. This includes ovarian epithelial carcinomas and malignant germ cell tumours. It is a type of cancer that is though not very common than other cancers but causes more death than any other cancers in females. Its early detection is not very easy. There is a better chance of recovery if it is detected in its earlier stages. Its symptoms include bloating, pelvic and abdominal pain, abnormal periods, bleeding in the vagina, etc. Infertile women or older women who haven’t given birth are at greater risks to develop ovarian cancer. Genetic mutations can also be a possible risk factor.
9. Kidney Cancer
It is a type of cancer occurring in the cells of kidney which is responsible for cleaning the blood in the body, remove waste products and formation of urine. This cancer includes renal cell carcinoma, renal pelvis carcinoma and Wilms tumour. Timely diagnosis and treatment can help in curing kidney cancer. The risk factors associated with kidney cancer are smoking, hypertension, obesity, family history, regular use of ibuprofen and naproxen, etc. Symptoms include blood in urine, swelling in abdomen, unexplained weight loss, fever, etc.
8. Skin Cancer
Skin cancers are the cancers originating in the skin tissue and can be of several types, e.g. melanoma which is the cancer in the cells that form pigments, basal cell carcinoma that forms in the lower part of the epidermis, squamous cell carcinoma and neuroendocrine carcinoma. Out of these melanoma is the most dangerous and aggressive one, though less common than basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Symptoms include ulcering and discolouration in skin and changes in the appearance of a mole, etc.
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
The non Hodgkin lymphoma are a group of blood cancers that include cancer types derived from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, found in lymph tissues e.g. spleen. It is said that this type of cancer develops in people having a weak immune system. Thus people suffering from HIV are a t a greater risk of developing NHL than the normal population. Its symptoms include fever and chills that come and go, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes and weight loss. Treatment depends on the type and stage of lymphoma and the age of the patient.
6. Urinary Bladder Cancer
This type of cancer is associated with the malignancy in the epithelial lining of the urinary bladder, which is the organ that stores urine in our body. The main contributor towards bladder cancer is tobacco smoking. Smokers are at two times greater risk than those who do not smoke. Other risk factors include exposure to organic chemicals like aromatic amines, diet involving too much fried foods, age, male sex, personal history or birth defects. Symptoms of bladder cancer are blood in the urine called hematuria, pain or burning during urination, etc.
5. Uterine Cancer
Uterine cancer is the cancer of the womb and is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, but fortunately it is curable. Uterine cancer includes several types of cancers that affect the uterus like uterine sarcomas, endometrial cancer, cervical cancer and gestational trophoblastic disease. Abnormal overgrowth of the endometrium with symptoms including heavy menstrual periods, bleeding between periods or after menopause, obesity, personal or family history are the primary risk factors of the cancer of uterus. Common symptoms include bleeding, pelvic pain, weight loss and swelling of abdomen area, etc.
4. Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is the cancer of colon and rectum and is the fourth most common cancer among men and women in the world. This type of cancer is usually related to the lifestyle of individual rather than the genetic history and age is the primary risk factor and is more common in people over the age of 50. Screening for colorectal cancer is a must for those experiencing symptoms like blood in stool, worsening constipation, changes in bowel habit, loss of appetite etc. Colorectal cancer can be treated by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and vaccine therapy.
Colorectal cancer was responsible for over 9 % cancer related deaths in 2012.
3. Lung Cancer
Lung Cancer is the most common cause of death in men and women all over the world. As the name suggests, it is formed in the tissues of lung, usually in the cells lying in the air passages called the epithelial cells. Lung Cancer is usually caused due to exposure to carcinogens i.e. cancer causing substances. It is of two types namely, small cell lung carcinoma SCLC and non-small cell lung carcinoma NSCLC. The most common causes of lung cancer are smoking, exposure to asbestos fibres, radon gas or genetic susceptibility to develop cancer, prior history of lung cancer or pollution. Even passive smoking can increase your risk of developing lung cancer to more than 24%. So, if you are reluctant to stop smoking then at least care not to cause suffering to others in your vicinity. There are no early symptoms for the detection of lung cancer except by discovering tumours during X ray and CT scans. Symptoms of later stage cancer include cough, shortness of breath or wheezing, chest pain, coughing up blood or unexplained weight loss or fatigue.
2. Breast Cancer
The second most common cancer type is the Breast cancer, originating in the breasts tissue usually in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple and in lobules which are the glands that make milk. Breast cancer is mostly seen in women who are 100 times more likely to develop breast cancer than men. But since men also have breasts tissue so they also can develop breast cancer, though the cases are rare. About 230,480 new cases have been estimated in a year among women and about 2000 cases among men. Noticeable symptoms include lumps, skin dimpling, change in the appearance of the nipple, change in the texture and colour of the skin, constant pain in the area below the armpits or breasts or discharge from nipples. The primary risk factors are female sex, old age, lack of child bearing or breast feeding, etc.
Recently Angelina Jolie, the Hollywood actress, had a double mastectomy i.e. complete removal of both breasts, to avoid the possibility of breast cancer. Only two weeks after this, Jolie’s aunt Debbie Martin died of breast cancer.
1. Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer types all over the world and is the sixth leading cause of cancer related deaths. It is a cancer that develops in the prostate which is a gland in the male reproductive system. Just as all other types of cancers, prostate cancers occur when cells in the prostate gland start growing out of control. This type of cancer develops in men over the age of fifty, thus primary risk factors include age and also obesity and family history. There are no symptoms for early prostate cancer but PSA screening and Digital Rectal Exams (DRE) can help in early detection. After the prostate gland swells up because of the tumour, patients show symptoms including frequent urination, weak urinary stream, painful or burning sensation while urinating or ejaculation, etc. The treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, cryotherapy, hormonal therapy and radiation.