Help Your Patients Understand Cancer
To improve the quality of life, it is important for your patients to have knowledge of various diseases and how they can take good care of themselves. Below are the series of questions that can help your patients understand CANCER better.
- What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease which occurs when changes take place in a normal group of cells that lead to abnormal uncontrolled growth of these cells resulting in the formation of a lump or a tumour. This is true for all types of cancer except leukaemia (blood cancer).
If not treated timely or left untreated, these tumours can grow and spread to other parts of the body. This can affect your body function on the whole.
- What are the types of tumours?
There are three types of tumours that are seen. These include:
Benign: These are not cancerous and rarely cause any serious harm
Malignant: These are fast growing and spread rapidly to other parts of the body.
Precancerous: This describes a condition involving abnormal cells which may potentially develop into cancer.
3. What are the different types of cancers?
There are five main types of cancer depending on the type of cell they start from. These are:
Lymphoma and Myeloma
Brain and Spinal cord Cancer
4. What are the risk factors for cancer?
The risk factors to cancer can be classified as modifiable and non-modifiable.
The modifiable risk factors include:
Bad dietary habits
Lack of physical activity
Exposure to ionising radiation
The non-modifiable risk factors to cancer include:
Carcinogens (cancer-causing substances)
Weakened immune system
5. What are the common symptoms of cancer?
There are a variety of cancers and symptoms experienced may vary accordingly. In general, the following are key symptoms of cancer:
Lumps or swelling
Changes in bowel movements
Sudden weight loss
Complications while urinating
Abnormal changes in the breast
Loss of appetite
Excessive night sweats
6. How is cancer usually diagnosed?
The diagnosis of cancer is made based on your presenting symptoms along with a series of other tests. These commonly include:
Urine cytology, etc
7. What can I do to prevent cancer?
One-third of all cancers can be prevented by minimizing your exposure to factors such as tobacco, alcohol, obesity, physical inactivity, infections, environmental pollution, occupational carcinogens, and radiation.
Why is the early detection of cancer important?
Early detection helps greatly in effectively treating cancer. It improves the chances of successful treatment outcomes often at lower costs and fewer side-effects to patients.
What are the stages of cancer?
The TNM classification is a common staging system used by oncologists. It focuses on the anatomical extent of the spread of a tumour. It is assessed as follows:
T: Indicates the size of the main tumour
N: Explains if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes present nearby
M: Indicates whether cancer has metastasized
Does cancer happen in childhood?
Yes, childhood cancer is very prevalent. According to the currently limited statistics, it is estimated that one child dies of cancer every three minutes.
Is childhood cancer curable?
More than 70% of childhood cancer is completely curable with the help of modern therapy. This is nothing short of a ‘miracle’ in health circles.
What are the different types of therapies used to treat cancer?
Along with surgery, there are several other treatments that help manage and treat cancer. These include:
13. What all does survivorship deal with?
It primarily focuses on health and the physical, psychological, social and economic problems that affect individuals:
After the end of primary cancer treatment
Who have no disease after finishing treatment
Who continue to receive treatment to reduce the risk of cancer coming back
With a well-controlled disease and few symptoms, who receive treatment to manage cancer as a chronic disease
14. What is palliative care?
Palliative care runs through the entire course of a patient’s journey, from diagnosis to cure or end of life. It is designed to improve the overall quality of a patient’s life by relieving troubling symptoms and minimizing the side effects of cancer treatments.