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From time in memorial, we used to think that contracting cancer is mainly because of sheer bad luck, mere fate or just passed down through genes or genarations. But, have we taken the time to ponder how is it that even in these modern times, scientists are yet to find a legitimate solution in treating cancer? Can we say that cancer may just be the silent killer lurking within ourselves? In Malaysia, cancer is the fourth leading cause of death which contributes to 12.6% of all deaths in government hospitals and 26.7% in private hospitals nationwide. Therefore, it is vital that the youth of this generation understand the effects of cancer in our body by knowing the various types of cancers, how they affect the human body as well as ways we can take to mitigate the risk of being diagnosed with cancer.
How does cancer grow and spread in a human body?
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In layman terms, cancer arises when large abnormal cells begin to mutate due to concurrent diseases in the human body. It begins by uncontrollable growth and forms a mass called a tumor. As the tumor begins to grow, the bloodstream or lymphatic system may carry cancer cells to other parts of the body. This causes the mutated cells to invade other parts of the body by creating an abnormal growth in size of other cells through the process called metastasis. Normally, it is never a good sign when your doctor claims your cancer has metastasized as this means you’re in an advanced stage of cancer or better known as “stage 4 cancer”. The lymph nodes, a tiny bean-shaped organ that helps fight infection, is one of the primary areas cancer often spreads to. Due to the fact that cancer spreads so rapidly in the human body, it is safe to say that every part of the body will become vulnerable with the bone, liver and lungs as the common risk areas.
What are the symptoms of cancer and how can it be diagnosed?
During the early stages in the process of metastasis, the human body doesn’t always show symptoms of a metastatic cancer. A metastatic cancer can be defined as a cancer that has spread to another area within the body. Based on the size and location of the tumor, it may show some common symptoms which should be treated seriously and immediately when it occurs. These are some of the common signs of a metastatic cancer:
Brain - headache, seizures, or dizziness
Lung – shortness of breath
Liver - jaundice or swelling in the bell
What are the different types of cancer that may occur in the human body?
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Cancer comes in multiple forms and affects the body in many different ways. With its ability to cause an abnormal growth in such a short span of time, it is always better if we can detect it from its early stages in order to identify what type of cancer it may be. By doing so, the doctors will have a clearer picture on the severity of the cancer and can quickly work to minimize the rate of the cancer spread to other parts of the body. Some of the more common types of cancer include bladder cancer, breast cancer for both men and women, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, melanoma cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and thyroid cancer. Hence, it is always important that we take care of our bodies from a very young age as even the healthiest of human beings can be diagnosed with cancer due to its unpredictability.
Is there a cure for cancer and are there ways we can mitigate it?
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By now, most of us would have heard multiple different reports in regards to cancer prevention to the point where one may contradict or be advised against the latter. Some even believe that cancer may be one of the few diseases that might just not have a cure. Till today, modern day scientists are unable to provide a legitimate solution in curing cancer growth in our human body. Although they are extremely optimistic that there are vaccines and personalized medicines that will help reduce the risk of getting cancer, the most recommended way to mitigate it is through self-prevention by leading a healthy lifestyle. Here are some measures we can take from a young age to mitigate the risk of getting cancer:
Cut down the usage of tobacco
Maintain a healthy diet
Limit yourself from drinking alcohol
Constantly keep yourself active by exercising
Maintain a healthy weight limit
Get regular cancer screening checks
Protect yourself from the sun
In summary, it is all about how we decide to take care of our bodies as nothing should be taken for granted. Cancer is the living proof of a silent killer within ourselves as it does not discriminate and is a real threat to our loved ones regardless of family or friends. Nevertheless, it is crucial that people especially the youth take this very seriously as prevention is better than finding a cure. Why suffer and ask for redemption when you can take the necessary precautions to minimize the chances of it from ever happening? Let us know what you think about this topic as it’s for the youth, by the youth and about the youth.
By: Kishan Sivaswamy