What Is Cancer?
Cancer is the name given to a group of abnormal cells that divide in an uncontrollable manner. Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, and there are more than 100 different types of cancer (cancer.gov). It starts when there is a defect in cells whereby the repair and removal process is malfunctioned. These defected cells will then continue to multiply over and over until it is too much and may cause a growth called a tumour.
The starting point of a cancer is called a Primary Tumour. Sometimes, cancer can spread to other parts of body or organs – this is called a secondary tumour or a metastasis.
Cancers are divided into 5 main categories according to the type of cells:
- Carcinoma – cancer that starts from tissues that forms an organ such as skin, lung, liver, breast, intestine, breast, cervix, ovary, etc.
- Brain and spinal cord cancers
- Leukaemia – cancer that starts in blood forming tissue such as bone marrow or more commonly known as cancers of blood cells.
- Lymphoma and myeloma – cancers that starts in the cells of the immune system
- Sarcoma – cancer that starts in the connective tissues such as bone, cartilage, muscle, fat or blood vessels.
According to Malaysian National Cancer Registry (MNCR) Report 2007-2011, the top five most common cancers among males were colorectal, lung, nasopharynx, lymphoma and prostate. Among females, the five most common cancers were breast, colorectal, cervix uteri, ovary and lung. The cancer incidences were highest among Chinese, followed by Indian and Malay in Malaysia.
What Causes Cancer?
As mentioned above, cancer cells is a result of errors occur during cell division or because of damaged DNA caused by environmental exposures. Till date, we are still unable to pin point an exact cause of cancer, but there are plenty of studies and researches that support certain risk factors that may increase the chances of developing cancer.
Cancer causing substances such as chemicals in tobacco smoke, radiation such as ultraviolet sunrays, air pollution, chemicals from workplace such as asbestos, benzene, formaldehyde, wood dust etc. has the strongest association to the direct cause of cancer. Other risk factors include obesity, alcohol, physical inactivity, dietary habit, infections and HPV (human papillomavirus), hormones, inherited genes and etc.
What Are The Stages Of Cancer?
Staging describes the size of a cancer and how far it has grown. It is important because it provides valuable information for doctor and specialist in forming a treatment plan whether it will involve a course of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and/or surgery.
Number staging systems:
What We Can Do For You?
There are many types of cancer treatment as the type of treatment invariably dependent on the type and the advancement of cancer. Some cancers respond well to surgery; others respond better to radiation or chemotherapy. Hence, knowing the type of cancer is the first step toward the best treatment option. Beacon Hospital prides itself as a cancer specialist hospital offering a comprehensive cancer treatment programme which includes surgery, radiotherapy (using LINAC), radiosurgery and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) (using CyberKnife), chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.