What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease where cells divide uncontrollably. When they do not die properly, they start to multiply out of control. As a result, the body stops functioning normally and causes serious damage to various organs. There are many types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, brain cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, bone cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
The cause of cancer is still unknown. However, some factors have been identified as possible risk factors. These include genetics, age, family history, lifestyle, diet, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, sun exposure, radiation, chemicals, viruses, alcohol, and drugs.
As per the research of Fortis Memorial Research Institute Hospital, some people may develop certain cancers at a younger age than others. For example, children who receive chemotherapy treatments for cancer are at greater risk of developing heart disease later in life.
Causes of Cancer
1. Tobacco smoke
Tobacco smoke contains over 60 carcinogens, which are known to cause cancer. According to the World Health Organization, about 6 million people die each year due to smoking-related illnesses, accounting for nearly 10% of deaths worldwide. Smoking causes several types of cancer, including lung cancer, oral cavity cancer, throat cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreas cancer, kidney cancer, urinary tract cancer, liver cancer, and cervix cancer.
Alcohol is a depressant drug that affects the central nervous system. It is a toxin that damages organs and increases the risk of developing certain forms of cancer. Studies show that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer, pharynx cancer, and rectal cancer. Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Dietary factors contribute to approximately 90% of cases of cancer. Certain diets increase the risk of specific cancers. These diets include those high in red meat, processed meats, fried foods, high-fat dairy products, refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Reducing these dietary factors decreases the risk of cancer.
Radiation exposure is caused by radioactive materials that emit radiation. Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as x-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays, increases the risk of cancer. People who live near nuclear power plants, uranium mines, and nuclear weapons facilities are at higher risk of exposure to radiation than the general public. Nuclear reactors produce low levels of radiation, but some studies suggest that radiation may still increase the risk of cancer. Other sources of radiation include medical imaging devices, mobile phones, and computer monitors.
Chemical carcinogens are any substance or mixture of substances that cause cancer. Many chemicals are manufactured and released into the environment. These chemicals include asbestos, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, chromium, nickel, diesel exhaust fumes, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT, and pesticides. In addition, environmental pollutants such as air pollution, heavy metals, and industrial chemicals can cause cancer.
6. Genetic mutations
Genetic mutations occur when DNA changes and becomes damaged. When this happens, the genetic code is altered, causing abnormal cellular activity. Mutations can lead to cancer. Commonly occurring genes associated with cancer include p53, BRCA1, and BRCA2.
Symptoms of Cancer
1. Weight Loss
If you notice weight loss in your pet then he may have cancer. You should take him to the vet immediately and get him checked out. There are many different types of cancers that can cause weight loss in pets. The first thing you need to do is make sure that his diet is not causing weight loss. If it is then you should change his food. If the weight loss continues even after changing his diet then you should bring him to the vet for further testing.
Lumps in pets are often caused by tumors. Tumors are masses of abnormal cells that can occur anywhere in the body. Your dog may have lumps in his mouth, neck, armpits, groin, paws, under his tail, or elsewhere. Neoplasms are malignant (cancerous) tumors.
Sores in pets can be caused by infections such as yeast infections, ringworm, staph infections, etc. These sores can appear on any area of the skin including the face, ears, nose, eyes, feet, legs, genitals, and anus.
4. Changes in Behavior
Changes in behavior in pets can be caused due to illness, injury, or emotional issues. Sometimes changes in behavior are normal and only last for a short period of time. However, if these changes continue for longer than a few days then they could be symptoms of something else. Make sure you know what normal behavior looks like before you think about taking your pet to the vet.
5. Difficulty Breathing
Obstructions are blockages in the throat or trachea. When the trachea becomes blocked, the air cannot flow freely. The result is difficulty breathing. Lung disease occurs when the lungs become damaged. Pets with lung disease will cough frequently.
6. Abnormal Movement
Abnormal movement in pets can be caused by physical problems, neurological disorders, or emotional issues. Physical problems that cause abnormal movements include paralysis, seizures, muscle spasms, and bone fractures. Neurological disorders can cause tremors, head tilts, and twitches. Emotional disorders can cause aggression, anxiety, fearfulness, depression, and hyperactivity.
Bleeding in pets can be caused by many things such as bleeding gums, gastrointestinal bleeding, blood in stool, or excessive bleeding from cuts or wounds. Gums that bleed easily are known as gingivitis. Gingivitis causes inflammation and swelling in the gum line. Other causes of bleeding in pets include ulcers, colitis, kidney failure, liver failure, and hemangioma.
Cancer Treatment Options
Following are the cancer treatment options:
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment modality that involves administering drugs to kill malignant cells. Chemotherapeutic agents have been developed based on their effect on dividing cells, including both bacteria and human cancers. These agents may be natural products produced by microorganisms or synthetic compounds designed to mimic the action of naturally occurring substances such as hormones. Chemotherapeutic drugs act by interfering with DNA replication, RNA synthesis, protein synthesis, cellular respiration, or mitosis (cell division). Inhibition of any of these processes ultimately results in the programmed death of the targeted cell.
2. Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy particles to damage specific parts of the body. A radiation beam is aimed at the tumor using specialized equipment called a linear accelerator. Radiation beams vary in size, shape, and intensity; they are categorized according to the type of particle being used and its range. Common types of radiation beams include X-rays, gamma rays, protons, neutrons, electrons, and alpha particles.
Immunotherapy is a treatment method in which the immune system of the patient’s body is stimulated to attack cancerous cells. There are two major categories of immunotherapy treatments: passive immunotherapy and active immunotherapy. Passive immunotherapy consists of injecting antibodies into the patient to stimulate the immune system. Active immunotherapy stimulates the immune system directly by introducing genes encoding for antigens that promote immune responses into the patient’s own cells.
Surgery is a medical procedure where diseased or damaged tissue is removed and/or replaced with healthy tissue. Surgical procedures may be performed to remove tumors, cure infections, repair defects, or correct congenital abnormalities. Examples of surgical procedures include biopsy, amputation, bone grafting, corneal transplantation, cryosurgery, excision, fracture reduction, implant insertion, intubation, laser surgery, mastectomy, neurosurgery, organ transplantation, ovariotomy, phlebotomy, plastic surgery, prosthetic fitting, resection, suture removal, venipuncture, vasectomy, and vertebroplasty.
5. Targeted Cancer Therapies
Targeted therapies are therapies that specifically target a particular abnormality or malfunction associated with cancer cells. These therapies are often highly effective at treating certain forms of cancer, such as breast cancer and melanoma. However, they are not always successful.
6. Hormonal Therapy
Hormone therapy is a type of cancer treatment that is use various hormones to treat the disease. The goal of hormone therapy is to slow down the progression of a disease, prevent symptoms, or reduce the side effects of the disease.
7. Monoclonal Antibody Therapy
This therapy is a cancer treatment method involving the introduction of monoclonal antibodies into a person’s bloodstream to combat cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are single molecules of a type of white blood cell known as B lymphocytes that specifically bind to antigens present on cancer cells. This therapy targets abnormal proteins on the surface of cancer cells. By attaching to these proteins, monoclonal antibodies cause the cancer cells to die.
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