Cancer: Its many forms and how they are treated

Kenya has sadly lost many leaders and luminaries to different forms of cancer.

Cancer image
Image: Anna Tarazevich

Cancer is a disease in which some of the body's cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body.

When the cancer abnormal cells divide uncontrollably they tend to destroy body tissue causing tumors.

The common symptoms of cancer are loss of hair, pain, weight loss, anaemia, fatigue, sores that don't heal and skin change via unusual moles, bumps, or marks on your skin should be evaluated.

There are two main categories of cancer:

  1. Hematologic (blood) cancers: These affect blood cells and include leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
  2. Solid tumor cancers: These occur in other body organs or tissues. Common solid tumors include breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers.

There various types of cancer that attack the human body in different body parts too, SOME  include;

Breast cancer- causes tumor in the breasts.

Basal cell cancer- A type of skin cancer that begins in basal cells

Prostate cancer- A cancer in a man's prostate.

Melanoma cancer- Most serious type of skin cancer.

Colon cancer- A cancer in the colon or rectum located at the digestive tract's lower end.

Lung cancer- More often occurs when people smoke and it begins at the lungs.

Cervical cancer- Affects the female cervix

Lymphomas and myeloma- Involve the lymphatic system and plasma cells.

Leukemia- A cancer of blood forming tissues, hindering the body's ability to fight infection.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma- Begins in your lymphatic system, which is part of the body's germ-fighting immune system

Brain cancer and other nervous system cancer.

Cancer risk factors include:

The risk increases as you get old.

 Excessive alcohol consumption.

Exposure to harmful chemicals or other  cancer causing substances.

Prolonged chronic inflammation in the body.

Unhealthy eating habits.

Certain hormonal imbalances.

Weakened immune system.

Excess weight.

 Exposure to radiation.

Health effects of sunlight exposure.

When one has cancer, there are many ways of treating the illness based on the type, stage and individual factors;

  1. Surgery: Removes tumors or affected tissue.
  2. Radiation Therapy: Uses high-energy rays to target cancer cells.
  3. Chemotherapy: Administers drugs to kill or slow cancer cells.
  4. Immunotherapy: Boosts the immune system to fight cancer.
  5. Targeted Therapy: Targets specific molecules in cancer cells.
  6. Hormone Therapy: Blocks hormones that fuel certain cancers.
  7. Stem Cell Transplant: Replaces damaged bone marrow.
  8. Precision Medicine: Customizes treatment based on genetic factors.