Cancer Introduction According to Mollet, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Estimates for 1982 indicate that 430,000 Americans will have died of some form of cancer. If national trends continue, some fifty-three million Americans now alive will contract cancer sometime during their lifetime. Of this inverse number, approximately one-half will die of cancer despite a medical effort to cure and prevent cancer (300). Although 45 percent of the detected cases of serious cancer are curable, an increase of 5 percent in the last ten years, it is obvious that measures can be taken to increase the cure rate and also prevent onset of various cancers. Clark suggested that several types of cancer have cure rates that could improve by detection and treatment at an early stage before “regional involvement” occurs; that is before the disease spreads to lympnodes systems in the area of the original tumor. After cancerous cell have dispersed into other regions of the body, the control or termination of cancer is made more difficult, if not impossible (56).
The Most Prevalent Cancers and Their Causes. Effects, and Cures. According to Miller, lung cancer was first clearly described about 150 years ago and at the turn of the century this disease was still considered a rarity. The incidence of this disease has changed dramatically since then; lung cancer is now the leading cause of death for both men and women. The failure to detect lung cancer early, however, remains just as dramatically unchanged and the majority of patients with lung cancer have extensive diseases at the time of diagnosis (77). Symptoms Roth states that lung cancer has no specific symptoms and after foreign respiratory elements.
In fact, in the earliest stages of the disease there are usually no symptoms. Only ten per cent of lung cancer patients have been diagnosed from routine chest x-rays as a part of a physical examination or during the investigation of another compliant (301). Dodge asserts that the problem of lung cancer is largely one of prevention and early diagnosis. The treatment available are most effective when the cancer is small and the individual is still healthy. The quality and length of life for patients with lung cancer is small and the individual is still healthy.
The quality and length of life for patients with lung cancer have been improved by increased understanding of the biology of the disease and the valuable information, even the form of negative results, obtained from experimental programs (15). According to Brown, approximately 138,000 Americans develop cancer of the large bowel- the lowermost portion of the gastrointestinal tract, which is made up of the colon and rectum. Large bowel cancer is a leading cause of death among both sexes, exceeded only by cancer of the lung in men and of the lung and breast in women. At present half of these patients can expect to be cured, a figure that could be greatly improved by more diligent attention to established methods of screening for bowel cancer (341). Anyone with persistent symptoms that could be caused by a problem in the large bowel should see a doctor promptly.
The most common symptom of a large bowel cancer is a change in bowel habits, usually either diarrhea, which is typical of a rectal cancer, or constipation, which is typical of a cancer in the left colon. If the tumor has extended beyond the wall of the colon and spread elsewhere in the body, symptoms might include enlargement of the liver, abdominal bloating, pain in lower neck, as noted earlier, is another common early symptom, but this is not always apparent without a test for occult, as hidden blood. Any recent change in bowel habits, as rectal bleeding as lower abdominal pain that does not subside promptly is a clear indication that medical attention should be sought. As noted earlier, the present cure rate for colon cancer could be greatly improved by earlier detection and treatment of the disease . A wide ranging study by the American Cancer concluded that all persons do a digital rectal examination annually.
This examination is easily performed and, while it may be embarrassing for the patients, it involves no discomfort. The doctor gently inserts a rubber-gloved finger into the rectum. The doctor can then ascertain the smoothness of the rectal wall surface and, in men, the size and characteristics of the prostate. At the time of a digital rectal examination, a sample is taken for chemical testing for occult or hidden blood. According to Roth the breast is the most common site of cancer in American women today, accounting for more than one quarter of all cancer cases in women. With about 115,000 new cases each year (150).
A prognosis of breast cancer can be established only from a biopsy and microscopic examination, although less invasive technique like mammography and palpation may provide valuable information. Several types of biopsy techniques are used but, increasingly needed aspiration is being recommended for women whose breast can be examined their way. the technique entail using a hypodermic needle and syringe to reserve a small piece of tissue from the breast mass which is then examined microscopically. According to Clark this technique is 96 percent accurate needle biopsy can be performed in a physicians office or outpatient clinic using only a local astethetic. This technique has several advantages over a surgical biopsy.
It is less costly, does not involve as much discomfort (321). New knowledge about the way breast cancer develops has prompted a reevaluation of treatment. Some breast cancer spread so quickly that there are distant metastoser before the local tumor is detectable by any of our present means. Surgery remains the most commonly used local treatment and physicians agree that most cases surgery may offer the least hope for cure, although there are instances in which radiation therapy can produce equally good results. Radiation therapy is also a local treatment intended to kill cancer that have not been surgically removed and to halt their spread to other parts of the body. Neither surgery nor radiation therapy will eradicate those cancer cells that have escaped from the breast through the lymph or blood vessels. According to Miller most common sites of cancer of the male reproduction system are the prostate, tester and penis.
Each of these cancers has a different pattern of occurrence, and altogether they affect men from early adulthood to the last decades of life, although much more frequently after age fifty. While prostrate cancer is among the common cancers in men, penis cancer occurs very rarely in the United States and while most concern of the reproductive system strike late in life. Testicular cancer is most among men between the ages of fifteen and thirty four. The possibilities of prevention, detection, and successful treatment vary according to the type of cancer (514) The first symptoms of prostate cancer usually include urinary difficulties such as ewal weak as interrupted flow of urine, inability to urinate, difficulty in starting urination, the need to urine, frequently, blood in the urine, urine flow which is not easily stopped, and painful or burning sensation when urinating. Back pain is also a common symptom. Although the onset of obstructive urinary symptoms may be a sign of cancer, in the most men these symptoms are due to benign condition.
The majority of men with prostate cancer, however, have no symptoms at all, which is why routine rectal digital examination are ultimately found to be cancer. Although this procedure can not always ensure early detection of the disease, it remains the most effective test. Conclusion In terms of present knowledge, the problem of cancer is largely one of prevention and early diagnosis. the treatment available are most affected when the cancer is small and the individual is still healthy. The quality and length of life for patients with cancer have been improved by increased understanding of the biology of the disease and valuable information. even in the form of negative results, obtained from experimental treatment programs.
The promise of an improved outcome for patients with cancer rest with application of currently available screening methods along with more intensive use of available diagnostic methods are capable of detecting cancer in the early stages most treatable stages. Knowledge gained in the discipline of human cancer genetics reflects a growing consensus about how particular cancer-causing genes contribute to the overall frequency of cancer in the general population. cancer risk can be viewed as a contributor of genetic susceptibility and environmental forces. While some genes are of themselves cancer-causing, must be based on a combination of environmental and an inherited factor. Works Cited Brown, Armic C. The Story of Cancer: And its Nature, Causes, and Control. London: Addison, 1977 Clark, Regina.
Breast Cancer. New Jersey: Nelson, 1982. Dodge, Bertha S. Hands That Help. Toronto: Brown, 1976 Mollet, Arthur I. Cancer Book: Prevention, Detection, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care.
Gordon: Doubleday, 1986. Miller, Ann. Albestos Exposure. New York: Lorimer, 1976 Roth, Ulayer. Cancer: a Profile of Health and Disease in America.
Oxford: Smith, 1987.