Cancer can start any place in the body. It starts when cells grow out of control and crowd out normal cells. This makes it hard for the body to work the way it should.
Cancer can be treated very well for many people.
In fact, more people than ever before lead full lives after cancer treatment.
Here we will explain what cancer is and how it’s treated.
You’ll find a list of words about cancer and what they mean at the end of this booklet.
Some cancers grow and spread fast. Others grow more slowly. They also respond to treatment in different ways. Some types of cancer are best treated with surgery; others respond better to drugs called chemotherapy (key-mo-THER-uh-pee). Often 2 or more treatments are used to get the best results.
When someone has cancer, the doctor will want to find out what kind of cancer it is. People with cancer need treatment that works for their type of cancer.
The most common treatments for cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation (ray-dee-A- shun).
Surgery can be used to take out the cancer.
The doctor might also take out some or all of the body part the cancer affects. For breast cancer, part (or all) of the breast might be removed.
For prostate cancer, the prostate gland might be taken out. Surgery is not used for all types of cancer.
For example, blood cancers like leukemia are best treated with drugs.
Chemo (short for chemotherapy) is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth.
Some chemo can be given by IV (into a vein through a needle), and others are a pill you swallow.
Because chemo drugs travel to nearly all parts of the body, they are useful for cancer that has spread.
Radiation is also used to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells.
It can be used alone or with surgery or chemo. Radiation treatment is like getting an x-ray. Sometimes it’s given by putting a “seed” inside the cancer to give off the radiation
It’s estimated that over the next 10 years, cancer deaths will increase to more than 14 million per year (currently 8.8 million). By 2030, it’s expected that globally 21.7 million people will be impacted by cancer.
But quite often cancer can be beaten – and the purpose of World Cancer Day is to reduce the number of deaths by raising awareness.
The key message of World Cancer Day is that many cancers are treatable and that they are always more treatable if detected early.
We should all should make an effort to get screened for cancer and report worrying symptoms to our doctors – the sooner, the better.
Dr Carl Albrecht previously told Health24 that many cancers are related to diet and lifestyle.
He says there are three simple precautionary measures everyone can take:
1. Follow healthy eating habits
2. Stay out of the sun and protect your skin
3. Stop smoking (or never start)
Cancercare, the leading provider of holistic cancer care in South Africa, supports the efforts to raise cancer awareness and combat cancer on World Cancer Day, by supporting the annual Lace Up for Cancer Fun Run/Walk held in Cape Town.
“Exercise, as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, can help reduce people’s risk of developing certain cancers. Importantly, exercise and healthy living also supports the recovery process among cancer patients – elevating their mood and improving their state of mind.
Some cancer patients and survivors receive treatment that could contribute to weight gain and osteoporosis, so regular exercise supports their recovery.
And should fit, otherwise healthy people develop cancer, they are likely to cope better with treatment and improve their chances of a better outcome.”