Things You Might Not Be Aware Of About Cancer
There are a lot of misunderstandings or misconceptions about cancer. Even though cancer has affected a lot of people in the world, most people still do not adequately understand it. If you are reading this and you are not a cancer survivor, you might have been affected in one way or another.
Maybe you have a parent who is a survivor, a spouse or partner, or you are a caregiver. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer 15 years ago. This event changed me as it also changed him. Here are a few things that you might not be aware of about cancer.
Chemotherapy side effects
Chemotherapy could have awful side effects back in the day, but nowadays cancer researchers have reduced some of the bad side effects or made them easier to tolerate.1 It's not as bad as it was decades ago.
Although there might still be side effects from chemotherapy, the actual oral or infusion process is not always painful. While most pictures in the media show most patients undergoing chemotherapy without hair, there are many patients that grow their hair back after the treatment has been finalized.2
Lumps and breast cancer
Not all lumps you feel in your breast are cancerous, and many are more likely to be benign.3 I would consider seeing your doctor if the lump is persistent, or there’s change in the breast tissues. It is also true that men also get breast cancer and may be more likely to die of it due to being diagnosed too late.4
The radiation from a mammogram is relatively low and does not spread cancer.5 Apparently, breast cancer is more prevalent in the left breast than in the right one.6
Living a healthy lifestyle, not drinking alcohol, and exercising regularly may reduce the risk of getting cancer, but that won’t prevent you from getting it. Some causes of cancer are beyond our control.
There are more than 200 types of cancers.10
Cancers diagnosed in men include:
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
- Colon cancer
Cancers common in women include:
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Colon cancer
Metastasizing and spreading
This is the spread of a type of cancer from one body organ to another. When this happens, it's not a new cancer; for example, when lung cancer spreads to the liver it will still be lung cancer.
People may not always consider hormone therapy as a type of cancer treatment. When cancer is mentioned, sometimes only chemotherapy, surgery and radiation is talked about. Hormone therapy can especially be important in the treatment of hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.7
Hormone therapy can also be given before some surgeries to reduce the tumor's size for easier removal.8
Did you know that the word cancer comes from the Latin word for crab?9 I thought that was an interesting fact.
Getting tested for cancer
What was the most difficult part of your diagnosis?