As the leading cause of cancer deaths, it is important for every person to known the signs and symptoms of lung cancer. Like with any cancer, early intervention in lung cancer can drastically reduce the chances of death. However, all cancers are largely asymptomatic (without symptoms) or present with mild non-specific symptoms in the early stages. It is therefore important for every person to be aware of the symptoms and constantly bear it in mind should these symptoms arise. While these are some diagnostic investigations that can identify lung cancer, it is not completely foolproof. Depending on the size, nature and location of the malignancy, these tests may miss lung cancer in the early stages.
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Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer that affects both men and women in the United States. Although treatable, the prognosis is often poor by the time it is detected since the cancer is at advanced stages. However, greater awareness about lung cancer has prompted many people to go for regular screening in order to detect it in the early stages. In addition, awareness campaigns have also highlighted the risk of developing lung cancer with certain lifestyle habits. Lung cancer, like any cancer, may not be completely preventable in every person. But there are certain ways that you can drastically reduce your chances of developing this type of cancer.
Somatostatinomas are rare tumors of the pancreatic cells that secrete the hormone somatostatin. The pancreas is not the only location where somatostatin is produced but larger somatostatinomas are most likely to occur in the pancreas. Since this hormone has a suppressive action on most other hormones, a somatostatinoma tends to present with symptoms associated with the inhibition of these hormones. Somatostatinomas are malignant meaning that it is cancerous but is curable if the tumor can be surgically removed before the cancer has spread to other organs.
Overall somatostatinomas are very rare. It occurs in only about 1 in 40 million people in the United States. The prevalence is equal in both men and women. Somatostatinomas are more frequently detected in the 40 to 60 year age group although some of the conditions it is associated with, like multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 and neurofibromatosis, often start earlier in life. Since somatostatinomas are slow growing tumors, this may account for its diagnosis later in life.
A glucagonoma is a tumor that secretes glucagon, a hormone normally produced in the pancreas and responsible for raising blood sugar (glucose) levels. Glucagonomas are almost entirely found in the pancreas, arising from the alpha-2 cells of the gland, and about 80% of these tumors are malignant (cancerous). The tumor can cause elevated blood glucose levels known as glucagonoma syndrome but this is not present in every case.
The elevated blood glucagon level (hyperglucagonemia) along with raised blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) lead to a host of complications, marked by the 4Ds – diabetes mellitus, dermatitis (skin rash), deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and depression. The prognosis for glucagonomas are poor, especially once the cancerous cells spread to adjacent organs.
What is parathyroid cancer?
Parathyroid cancer (carcinoma) is a malignant tumor of the parathyroid gland. It is a rare type of cancer that originates from the uncontrolled growth of the cells of the parathyroid gland. Since the cancer starts in the parathyroid cells itself, it is also known as a primary cancer. If cancer that starts elsewhere in the body and spreads to the parathyroid gland, then it is known as a secondary cancer or metastatic cancer. Parathyroid carcinoma is one of the rare cancers. It affects about 1 in 7.5million people and affects both males and females equally. Most cases of parathyroid cancer are seen in people over the age of 30 years.
What is a mediastinal lymphoma?
Mediastinal lymphoma is a rare type of cancer. More popularly known as primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (or PMBL), it arises in a specialized organ of the immune system called the thymus. Mediastinal lymphoma or PMBL mostly affects young adults. It is a sub-type of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBC), which are the most common and aggressive types of all the lymphomas.
Lymphomas are the cancers of the lymphocytes, which are a type of immune cells. Both diffuse large B-cell lymphomas and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphomas affect B-lymphocytes of the immune system; however, the thymic mediastinal lymphoma has a better prognosis. Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphomas may also resemble another type of lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, in their characteristics.
What is Kaposi sarcoma?
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a type of cancer of the lymphatic vessels and blood vessels which is seen mostly on the skin. Less commonly it may also occur in other tissue like that of the mouth, other parts of the gut and even the lungs. Kaposi sarcoma is a rare cancer but has become more common in recent decades mainly due to its association with HIV/AIDS. It is considered an AIDS-defining illness. This does not mean that Kaposi sarcoma will not occur in a person who is HIV negative. It is caused by a certain type of herpes virus and can affect any person although some people are at greater risk.
What causes Kaposi sarcoma?
Kaposi sarcoma has been associated with the human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8). This virus is therefore also known as Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV). The virus then infects cells lining the lymphatic vessels and blood vessels. It causes these cells to become cancerous possibly by inserting its genes into the cell which then disrupts normal cell proliferation. The cells then divide rapidly in an uncontrolled manner as is the case with cancer. Although HHV-8 is easily transmitted through saliva, it will have major effects in most people who are HIV negative or with a healthy immune system.
Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gradually diminishes the immune defenses. This is a result of the virus targeting a specific type of immune cell – the CD4+ T-lymphocyte. It opens up the body to a host of infections that affects various organs throughout the body. Some of these infections which are considered fairly harmless in a person with a healthy immune system can be potentially fatal in the backdrop of HIV/AIDS.
HIV infection and AIDS is associated with a host of diseases, some of which develop due to the lack of adequate protection once the immune system weakens sufficiently, while other diseases arise for as yet unknown reasons. Cancer is one of these conditions that is likely to occur in a person with HIV/AIDS. Some of these cancers are due to infections with certain agents. The reason why other cancers arise however is unclear.
Types of HIV/AIDS Cancers
These cancers in HIV can be classified as :
- AIDS-defining cancers
- non-AIDS-defining cancers
The mass of abnormal cells with an abnormal growth pattern seen in breast cancer needs to be removed in order to prevent it from invading surrounding tissue. It will also help to prevent these cancer cells from spreading to other sites in the body (metastasis). The form of treatment for breast cancer depends on the clinical stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. The approach to treatment can classified as either local or systemic. Local therapy helps to remove or destroy cancer in the breast by means of surgery or radiotherapy. In systemic therapy, cancer cells may be controlled or destroyed by means of chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy.
Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of breast cells which invades and destroys surrounding tissue and may spread to other parts of the body. It is also referred to as a malignancy or malignant breast tumor and must be differentiated from a benign tumor which is abnormal mass of normal cells that is less serious in nature. Breast cancer remains one of the most common malignancies in women, particularly those residing in Western countries, and may very rarely occur in men.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that develops in the breast tissue and rapidly invades the surrounding tissue. It is the most common form of malignancy in women in Western countries, with the exception of skin cancers. Apart from other risk factors, identification of breast cancer genes BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 strongly suggests that certain women have a genetic predisposition to developing this disease. Outlook is good if the cancer is detected early and appropriate treatment instituted. With increased awareness about breast cancer in this day and age, coupled with advances in diagnosis and treatment has definitely improved the outlook. Although breast cancer is predominantly a woman’s disease, it may rarely develop in men.
A swelling or lump produced in any part of the body due to abnormal growth of tissue is known as a tumor. A growth that is found within the breast tissue is known as a breast tumor. It may be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Although the detection of a breast tumor may be alarming for a woman because of the fear of breast cancer, most tumors of the breast are found to be non-cancerous. Nevertheless a thorough investigation is necessary to rule out malignancy.
Regular self breast examination is encouraged from the age of 20 in order for women to become accompanied to the feel and appearance of a healthy breast. This will help to bring to her notice any changes in the breasts that do not seem normal. Subsequent medical evaluation may help to detect breast cancer at an early stage, which can give positive results with treatment. Breast tumors are more common in women and are very rarely be found in men.
What is a Brain Tumor?
Sometimes cells in the body grow and multiply indiscriminately to produce an abnormal mass of tissue which is known as a tumor. When such a growth occurs in the brain, it is called a brain tumor. The cause of this uncontrolled growth is not always known. The tumor may grow slowly or rapidly but it will interfere with normal brain function by occupying space within the skull.
Some tumors originate in the brain and are known as primary tumors, while others occur as a result of spread of cancer from other sites in the body (metastasis). These are known as secondary tumors or metastatic tumors. However, metastasis of brain tumors to other parts of the body other than the central nervous system (CNS) is extremely rare.
Not all brain tumors are malignant (cancerous). Non-cancerous tumors are known as benign tumors.
continue reading Brain Tumors – Different Types in Adults and Children, Symptoms
A detailed medical history with special attention to family history of colon cancer, adenomatous polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease are important factors to identifying candidates for screening. Clinical features, physical examination, laboratory and radiological tests are essential tools for a diagnosis of colon cancer.
Diagnosis of Colon Cancer
- Abdominal examination may reveal a mass.
- Per rectal examination may show bright red blood in left-sided colonic cancers or black tarry stool (melena) in right-sided colon cancers. Digital rectal examination helps in identifying rectal cancers and also the extent of cancer growth in rectum.
- Metastatic colon cancer may be associated with lymph node enlargement, liver enlargement, or jaundice.
Pathophysiology of Colorectal Cancer
How does colorectal cancer develop?
The pathogenesis of colon cancer is complex. Colon cancer results from the accumulation of multiple genetic alterations that happen in a specific sequence over a period of time. The genetic alterations may result from sporadic mutations or from mutations that are inherited as discussed under risk factors for rectal and colon cancer.
The APC gene, which has an essential role in the regulation of the growth of intestinal epithelial cells, and is frequently mutated resulting in FAP. APC mutations can lead to accumulation of a type of oncogene in the cells, which can promote cancer development.
The right-sided tumors usually grow as polypoid masses that bleed. The bleeding can often be in the form of occult bleeding. The right-sided tumors rarely cause obstruction, while the carcinomas of the left side (distal colon) usually lead to bowel obstruction due to constriction of the bowel as the lesions are generally annular shaped. The tumors of the distal colon may also present with bleeding.
Majority of colon cancers are left-sided, but of late there has been a steady increase in the incidence of right-sided colon cancer in the US, Europe and Asia. The anatomic shift probably results from response to carcinogens, increased longevity, or genetic factors with defects in mismatch repair genes.
Who is at risk of developing colon cancer?
The development of colorectal cancer is complex interplay of acquired and inherited factors. It should be noted that not every person with one or more of the risk factors will develop cancer of the colon and/or rectum. High risk patients, however, should be vigilant, undergo routine screening and undertake any lifestyle measures that may reduce the risk.
The most important risk factor is age. The peak age of incidence is 60 to 79 years of age. The epidemiological studies show that there is a 0.5 to 2% chance that an unscreened individual aged above 50 years may have colon cancer and there is also a similar chance for carcinoma-in-situ of the colon (precancerous stage). The same group has 7 to 10% chance of harboring large adenomatous polyps of the colon, which can turn malignant in some individuals.
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