This article is written to help you understand more about cancer. It is not the same as getting advice from your doctor.
If you have signs of cancer, you should talk to your doctor immediately – now!
The World Health Organization lists 7 warning signs of cancer. Please refer to the table below.
|Warning Signs||What to Look For|
|A sore which does not heal||
|Change in bowel or bladder habits||
|Lump in breast or other part of the body||
|Obvious change in moles or warts||
Use the ABCD Rule
|Difficulty in swallowing||
Sometimes these signs are caused by other illnesses but it is important you go see your doctor to have them checked.
What is Cancer?
Your body is composed of trillions of cells. A cell is the smallest structural and functional unit of your body. Together, they provide structure for the body, digest and utilize nutrients from food, process those nutrients into energy, and perform specific functions.
Cell division (cell re-creation) is going on right now in your body. It is essential for three major functions:
- Repair and maintenance
By way of cell division, a single cell becomes two cells. Those two cells divide into four, and the four cells divide into eight, and so on.
Cell division is a controlled or regulated biological process. When this process goes out of control, cells rapidly divide. This group of abnormal, rapidly dividing cells turn into a lump called a tumor. See figure below.
There are two types of tumors:
- Malignant (cancerous)
A benign tumor is an abnormal growth that does not invade nearby tissue (a group of the same cells) or spread to other parts of the body the way a malignant tumor can - they only grow in one place.
Most of the time, benign tumors have a very good outlook. However, if it presses on vital structures, like a blood vessel or a nerve, it can produce a serious condition.
Malignant or cancerous cells divide rapidly and can easily invade other tissues by growing into them. They can also use the blood stream or the lymphatic system as transportation to invade or spread (metastasize) to other distant tissues. Metastasis is the development of secondary malignant growths away from the main site of cancer.