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A Guide to Understanding Cancer - Part 2

January 2, 2013

Cancer SymptomsIn our previous post, we discussed the types and causes of cancer.  Today, we will talk about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease.

Symptoms of Cancer

The signs and symptoms of cancer vary according to its location, size, and severity. Cancer that spreads or metastasizes can cause symptoms to appear in other parts of the body. The symptoms of cancer can be similar to symptoms that are caused by other illnesses or diseases, and they are not clear indications of the disease.

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • pain
  • nagging cough
  • hoarseness
  • unexplained weight loss
  • changes on the skin
  • changes in mole, freckle, or wart
  • long-lasting sores
  • indigestion
  • difficulty swallowing
  • long-term constipation, diarrhea, or other changes in bowel or bladder function
  • white spots on the tongue or white patches in the mouth
  • unusual bleeding or bloody discharge
  • lump or thickening in certain parts of the body

Diagnosis of Cancer

Cancer cannot be accurately diagnosed with a single test. To ensure accurate results, a doctor has to perform a thorough evaluation of medical history and physical examination, as well as diagnostic testing. Some of the common methods that are used for diagnosing cancer are imaging, laboratory tests, endoscopic examination, tumor biopsy, genetic testing, and surgery. A laboratory test can come in the form of a blood test, urinalysis, or tumor marker test.

Treatment of Cancer

Also known as modalities, cancer treatments are tailored to the individual needs of patients, and they are selected based on the type and stage of cancer, overall condition, and objective of treatment. It is becoming increasingly common for doctors to use several modalities to treat cancer. The most effective modalities are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy.

If you are experiencing symptoms of cancer or suffering from cancer, you can contact our doctors for advice. 

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