Cancer is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. This abnormal cell growth can damage normal cells around it and in other parts of the body.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death worldwide. Cancer often causes death, because this disease generally does not cause symptoms in its early development. As a result, this condition is only detected and treated after it reaches an advanced stage.

Therefore, do regular screening or health checks so that cancer can be detected early. Meanwhile, to prevent it, live a healthy lifestyle, namely by eating a balanced nutritious diet, exercising diligently , not smoking, and not consuming alcoholic beverages.

Causes of Cancer

The main cause of cancer is a genetic change (mutation) in cells so that the cells grow abnormally. Actually, the body has its own mechanism to destroy these abnormal cells. However, if this mechanism fails, abnormal cells will grow uncontrollably.

Factors that can trigger the growth of cancer cells vary, depending on the type of cancer. However, there is no specific type of cancer that is only triggered by one factor.

Factors that are thought to be at risk of causing genetic mutations in normal cells and the body's failure to repair them include:

  • History of cancer in the family
  • Age over 65 years, although some types of cancer are more common in children
  • smoking habit
  • Exposure to radiation, chemicals (such as asbestos or benzene ), or sunlight
  • Viral infections, such as hepatitis B , hepatitis C, and HPV
  • Exposure to high or long-term hormone levels
  • Obesity
  • Not moving much and not exercising regularly
  • Diseases that cause long-term inflammation, such as ulcerative colitis .
  • Decreased immune system, for example due to suffering from HIV / AIDS

Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms that arise from cancer also vary, depending on the type of cancer and the organs affected. Some of the complaints that are often experienced by cancer sufferers are:

  • A lump appears
  • Pain in one part of the body
  • Pale, limp, and tired quickly
  • Weight loss drastically
  • Defecation or urination disorders
  • Chronic cough
  • Spontaneous bruising and bleeding
  • Recurring fever

When to see a doctor

Get regular screening and checkups with your doctor if you have risk factors for cancer, for example having a family that has had cancer, or frequently having multiple sexual partners without using a condom.

You also need to see a doctor if you experience symptoms of cancer, such as the appearance of a lump in your body, sudden weight loss, or chronic cough. Early detection of cancer can improve treatment success.

Cancer sufferers need to undergo treatment from an oncologist . Furthermore, routine checks will be carried out to see if the treatment given is effective.

If the patient's condition has improved and the cancer is declared cured, the patient still needs to have his condition checked by a doctor periodically. This examination is done to ensure that the cancer does not recur.

Patients whose cancer cannot be cured also need to consult a doctor. Doctors can provide treatment to slow the development of cancer and relieve complaints. This treatment is called palliative medicine.

Cancer Diagnosis and Staging

To diagnose cancer, the doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms and carry out a physical examination. After that, there are several additional tests that the doctor will perform to confirm a cancer diagnosis, namely:

  • Laboratory
    tests Laboratory tests, such as blood and urine tests, may be done to check for abnormalities in the body . Doctors can also do a tumor marker examination to detect cancer.
  • Scanning
    This test can be in the form of an X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan , MRI, or PET scan, to see the condition of the problematic organ.
  • Biopsy
    In this procedure, the doctor will take a sample of the patient's body tissue that is suspected of being attacked. A biopsy is the most accurate examination to determine whether the patient has cancer or not.

Based on the results of the examination above, the doctor will then determine the severity (stage) of the cancer. In general, the stages of cancer are divided into stages 1, 2, 3, and 4. The higher the stage of cancer , the more severe the symptoms of the disease and the smaller the chance of recovery.

The level of the cancer stage will be determined based on the size of the cancer, whether there is spread of cancer to the surrounding lymph nodes, and how far the cancer has spread to other organs.

Cancer Treatment

The type of treatment that the doctor will choose depends on several things, starting from the type of cancer, the location of the cancer, the stage of the cancer, the patient's general health condition, and the patient's wishes.

Commonly used cancer treatment methods are as follows:

  • Chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy is done by giving drugs to kill cancer cells.
  • Surgery
    Cancer surgery is performed by cutting and removing cancer tissue.
  • Radiotherapy
    Radiotherapy is performed by exposing radiation beams to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiotherapy, namely radiation from machines outside the body (external radiotherapy) or radiation from implants placed inside the body ( brachytherapy ).
  • Bone marrow
    transplant Through this procedure, the patient's bone marrow will be replaced with new bone marrow from a donor so that it can produce new, normal, and cancer-free cells.
  • Immunotherapy
    Immunotherapy or biologic therapy aims to activate the patient's immune system to fight cancer.
  • Hormone therapy
    Some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer , are triggered by hormones. Therefore, inhibiting these trigger hormones can stop the growth of cancer cells.
  • Targeted drug therapy Targeted therapy
    is carried out by giving drugs that can inhibit genetic mutations in cells.

It should be noted that the above cancer treatments can cause various side effects, one of which is a reduced number of white blood cells so that the patient's body is susceptible to infection .

Cancer Prevention

In 2014, more than 1.5 million Indonesians died from cancer. In Indonesia, the type of cancer that causes the most death in men is lung cancer , while the type of cancer that causes the most death in women is breast cancer .

Therefore, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia is promoting the CERDIK behavior program to prevent cancer. The following is what CERDIK stands for:

  • Regular health checks
    Consult your doctor about the need for a cancer screening test based on the risk factors you have.
  • Get rid of cigarette
    smoke Smoking can increase the risk of various types of cancer, especially lung cancer.
  • Diligent physical activity
    Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • A healthy diet with balanced calories
    Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains (eg wheat), and foods rich in protein.
  • Get enough rest
    Lack of sleep can increase the risk of developing cancer.
  • Manage stress
    Excessive and prolonged stress can cause cancer.

Besides being SMART, there are several other things you also need to do to prevent cancer, namely:

  • Avoid excess sun exposure Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer . Therefore, wear closed clothes when doing outdoor activities .
  • Use a mask in a place full of air pollution.
    Motor vehicle fumes, factory fumes, garbage burning fumes, cigarette smoke, and asbestos dust can cause cancer.
  • Stop consuming alcoholic beverages If you like to consume alcoholic beverages, start to stop the habit, because alcohol can trigger cancer.
  • Get vaccinated
    There are two types of cancer that can be prevented by vaccination, namely liver cancer through the hepatitis B vaccine and cervical cancer with the HPV vaccine .
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