Department of Oncology
The scientific study which focuses on tumors and malignancy; the science of cancer is ONCOLOGY There are five major areas of oncology: etiology(The study of causes or origins of the disease), prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment. Cancer is generally thought to result from one or more permanent genetic changes in a cell. Irregular cells in the human body can form cancerous growths or tumors, affecting vital organs as well as the immune system.
One should be familiar with the warning signs of the disease The seven danger signals of cancer are (1) unusual bleeding or discharge, (2) a lump or thickening in the breast or elsewhere, (3) a sore that does not heal, (4) change in bowel or bladder habits, (5) persistent hoarseness or cough, (6) persistent indigestion or difficulty in swallowing, and (7) change in a wart or mole. Cancer of the Breast, Prostrate, skin, and colon/rectal cancers are all detectable by screening procedures. In addition, one should avoid smoking, excessive drinking and over exposure to the sun. One should follow a healthy life-style by eating wisely and exercising regularly.
There are four major approaches to cancer treatment: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biological therapy. Surgery and radiation therapy are most effective in curing localized tumors and together result in the cure of about 40% of all newly diagnosed cases. Once the cancer has spread to regional nodes or distant sites, it is generally incurable with the use of local therapies alone. Systemic administration of a combination of chemotherapeutic agents may cure another 10-15% of all patients.
Risk factors which are known to increase the incidence of cancer are given below. Avoidance of these would help in preventing cancer.
Smoking is most important cause of cancer. It accounts for maximum percent of lung cancer. The risk of developing Cancer is reduced by stopping smoking and decreases the disease substantially after 5 years.
Alcohol has consistently been related to risks of cancer of mouth, oral pharynx and larynx. Even small amounts of alcohol seem to increase the risk of breast cancer.
Lack of sufficient amounts of dietary fruits and vegetables increase the risk of cancer. High intake of fruit and vegetables is related to a reduced risk of lung cancer and cancer of the upper Gastrointestinal tract.
These are influenced primarily by lifestyle. Oral cancer is common in India and Sri Lanka mainly due to beetal chewing as chewing of pan or pan masala is known to increase the incidence of oral cancer. Eating hot curries with chillies also increases the risk of mouth cancer.