Cancer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: June 29, 2015 at 11:51 pm

Cancer i, also known as a malignant tumor or malignant neoplasm, is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.[1][2] Not all tumors are cancerous; benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.[2] Possible signs and symptoms include: a new lump, abnormal bleeding, a prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowel movements among others.[3] While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they may also occur due to other issues.[3] There are over 100 different known cancers that affect humans.[2]

Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths.[1] Another 10% is due to obesity, a poor diet, lack of physical activity, and consumption of ethanol (alcohol).[1] Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation, and environmental pollutants.[4] In the developing world nearly 20% of cancers are due to infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human papillomavirus.[1] These factors act, at least partly, by changing the genes of a cell.[5] Typically many such genetic changes are required before cancer develops.[5] Approximately 510% of cancers are due to genetic defects inherited from a person's parents.[6] Cancer can be detected by certain signs and symptoms or screening tests.[1] It is then typically further investigated by medical imaging and confirmed by biopsy.[7]

Many cancers can be prevented by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking too much alcohol, eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, being vaccinated against certain infectious diseases, not eating too much red meat, and avoiding too much exposure to sunlight.[8][9] Early detection through screening is useful for cervical and colorectal cancer.[10] The benefits of screening in breast cancer are controversial.[10][11] Cancer is often treated with some combination of radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.[1][12] Pain and symptom management are an important part of care. Palliative care is particularly important in those with advanced disease.[1] The chance of survival depends on the type of cancer and extent of disease at the start of treatment.[5] In children under 15 at diagnosis the five year survival rate in the developed world is on average 80%.[13] For cancer in the United States the average five year survival rate is 66%.[14]

In 2012 about 14.1 million new cases of cancer occurred globally (not including skin cancer other than melanoma).[5] It caused about 8.2 million deaths or 14.6% of all human deaths.[5][15] The most common types of cancer in males are lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and stomach cancer, and in females, the most common types are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and cervical cancer.[5] If skin cancer other than melanoma were included in total new cancers each year it would account for around 40% of cases.[16][17] In children, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and brain tumors are most common except in Africa where non-Hodgkin lymphoma occurs more often.[13] In 2012, about 165,000 children under 15 years of age were diagnosed with cancer. The risk of cancer increases significantly with age and many cancers occur more commonly in developed countries.[5] Rates are increasing as more people live to an old age and as lifestyle changes occur in the developing world.[18] The financial costs of cancer have been estimated at $1.16 trillion US dollars per year as of 2010.[19]

Cancers are a large family of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.[1][2] They form a subset of neoplasms. A neoplasm or tumor is a group of cells that have undergone unregulated growth, and will often form a mass or lump, but may be distributed diffusely.[20][21]

Six characteristics of cancer have been proposed:

The progression from normal cells to cells that can form a discernible mass to outright cancer involves multiple steps known as malignant progression.[22][23]

When cancer begins, it invariably produces no symptoms. Signs and symptoms only appear as the mass continues to grow or ulcerates. The findings that result depend on the type and location of the cancer. Few symptoms are specific, with many of them also frequently occurring in individuals who have other conditions. Cancer is the new "great imitator". Thus, it is not uncommon for people diagnosed with cancer to have been treated for other diseases, which were assumed to be causing their symptoms.[24]

Local symptoms may occur due to the mass of the tumor or its ulceration. For example, mass effects from lung cancer can cause blockage of the bronchus resulting in cough or pneumonia; esophageal cancer can cause narrowing of the esophagus, making it difficult or painful to swallow; and colorectal cancer may lead to narrowing or blockages in the bowel, resulting in changes in bowel habits. Masses in breasts or testicles may be easily felt. Ulceration can cause bleeding that, if it occurs in the lung, will lead to coughing up blood, in the bowels to anemia or rectal bleeding, in the bladder to blood in the urine, and in the uterus to vaginal bleeding. Although localized pain may occur in advanced cancer, the initial swelling is usually painless. Some cancers can cause a buildup of fluid within the chest or abdomen.[24]

General symptoms occur due to distant effects of the cancer that are not related to direct or metastatic spread. These may include: unintentional weight loss, fever, being excessively tired, and changes to the skin.[25]Hodgkin disease, leukemias, and cancers of the liver or kidney can cause a persistent fever of unknown origin.[24]

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Cancer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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