Cancer is uncontrolled proliferation of transformed cells in any part of the body. Neoplasm or tumor are used variably to describe any swelling or new growth. Benign growths don’t have potential to spread to other organs or parts of the body while malignancy or malignant growths have uncontrolled proliferation and metastatic potential.

Transformation is multi-step process with genetic alterations by which normal cells acquire malignant potential, uncontrolled proliferation capacity and capacity to spread to other parts of the body (metastasis)

Worldwide cancer is responsible for 1 in 8 deaths. Most Common cancers are:

            Men                                                            Women

     Oral Cavity (in India)                                   Breast

     Prostate                                                        Cervix and Endometrium

     Lung                                                              Lung


What Causes Cancer? 

Cancer is usually multifactorial

  1. Age- more in age group >60 yrs compared to younger age group
  2. Obesity- Body mass index >30
  3. Tobacco- Cigarette, Cigar,Bidi, Hookah, Smokeless tobacco like gutka, zarda etc. There is no safe form of tobacco.
  4. Pan masala and supari
  5. Alcohol
  6. Ultraviolet rays exposure
  7. Radiation Exposure
  8. Genetic factors
  9. Others- pollution, certain chemicals, infections 

Prevention of Cancer:

  1. Stay away from tobacco products and alcohol
  2. Eat healthy and daily physical activity- fresh fruits and vegetable are good, maintain optimal body weight
  3. Be safe in sun
  4. Cancer awareness and early detection: alarming signs are:

  • Change in bowel or bladder habits
  • A sore that will not heal
  • Unusual discharge or bleeding
  • Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles or elsewhere
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • Obvious change in a wart or mole
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness
Cancer Screening: 
Screening is for healthy individuals with education. Rather than going for unnecessary blind tests, program for screening should be planned in consultation with your oncologist as requirements are different for different cancers and differs as per age groups and gender.  Also screening is not effective in all cancers. Cancer education and awareness is has due importance. Some cancers in which screening has been shown to be effective includes breast, coclon, rectum, cervix, prostate, lung in high risk groups but as mentioned earlier it  is planned with participation of both individual and oncologist.

Types of Cancer Treatment: 
Cancer treatment is now a multidisciplinary management in which different surgical, medical and radiation oncologist plan treatment protocol for best possible chances of cure. Advancement in all these fields and their contribution in comprehensive management results in 25-30% improvement in cure rate over previous decades.

  • Surgery: Involves surgical principles to remove tumor with adequate margins and possible draining lymph nodes regions. Improvements and understanding of surgical principles even make resection of distant disease or cure of stage IV disease in some  selected cases.
  • Chemotherapy: Cytotoxic drugs are given either in injectable or oral forms which acts on uncontrolled cancer cells. Advances in this fields results in drugs with better efficacy and less side effect profile and at same time resulting in better cancer control. Targeted therapy acts on specific pathways of cancer growth. Hormone therapy targets specific hormone receptors for controlling the cancer. 
  • Radiation Therapy: is delivery of radiation generated by radioactive source over the region of cancer. More and more advances in radiation technologists are emerging like IMRT, SBRT to focus radiation over the specific location so as to avoid toxic effect over surrounding area.