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According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer refers to the group of diseases that cause abnormal cell growth and tumor refers to the mass of tissues that forms when the body's cells divide too much. A benign tumor does not. She said a benign tumor could be a cyst or a lipoma, adding, "A pathologist can look at a cut of these tumors under a microscope and decide if it is malignant or benign.

Duma said: "It all depends on the type of cancer. There are so many types, and so many possible symptoms. And just because there are [symptoms] that are more common than others, doesn't mean you will present it if you have that cancer. In lung cancer, cough is the most common symptom, but I have patients who never had any cough prior to diagnosis. And in colon cancer, blood in the stool is the most common symptom, but we have patients who never experienced that once.

Crilley said that when a cancer is metastatic, it can manifest itself in ways that create unexpected symptoms. Since there are no definitive symptoms, both doctors said it's important to get screened for certain types of cancer, even if you're in good health. Crilley told INSIDER, "One thing I often get asked is whether if you eat more sugar, you're going to make your cancer grow faster, but I've never seen any data to suggest that [eating sugar] is going to fuel the cancer.

Duma said the misconception often leads people to commit to strict sugar-free diets they don't need to be following. Duma said outpatients come to a hospital "a few times a week to receive chemotherapy or radiation, and then they go home. Contrary to popular representations, not every person with cancer goes bald. Chemotherapy and some hormonal agents can cause hair loss and inhibit the growth of the hair follicle. She said that "patients who have chemotherapy may lose their hair for a few months, and then it comes back," and that many people "don't lose their hair at all" or lose it "only for a short period.

Duma said: "The decision about chemotherapy is very personal. It depends on the benefits for the patient. For example, a lot of elderly patients may decide not to pursue it because they may die of something else. She added that religious, cultural, or economic factors can influence a person's choice to opt out of the treatment.

Read more : Study: Almost half of new cancer patients lose their entire life savings. A chemotherapy machine. Crilley said determining what treatment a patient receives for their cancer is a complex process.

Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes

A pathologist looks at a sample of the tumor under a microscope and decides what kind of cancer it is. You determine the extent of the disease, and then you look at the evidence for what is the best treatment for the patient at that stage of the disease.

Cancer Treatment: Chemotherapy

Some patients may only have surgery and that's all they need, other patients may have all three — surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Some patients may only need radiation. While chemotherapy, which came about in the s , is sometimes an effective treatment, patients now have more options for treating cancer than ever. Patients with cancer can choose to engage in chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, surgery, or a combination of these treatments. Pop-culture depictions of cancer can make it seem like once someone has a diagnosis, they become devastatingly sick and unable to function in everyday society.

But this is far from the truth. For example, some patients may be on an oral agent for chronic myelogenous leukemia. If you saw them, they usually don't have any hair loss, they usually don't have any weight loss. They're working full time, exercising, and living a normal life. Crilley added: "With the advances in oncology treatments over the last few years, the unprecedented number of new FDA-approved drugs, and the advent of immunotherapy, which has different side effects than chemotherapy, a lot of patients are now doing so much better and are not sickly and feeling terrible.

Duma said one of the goals of oncology is to help people transition to life after they've received a cancer diagnosis. That includes breaking stereotypes about the disease and changing the way we talk about people who have been diagnosed. In age of internet health gurus, there are many blogs and websites that say consuming natural herbs or supplements can cleanse the body of cancer cells or prevent a person from ever getting it.

Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions - National Cancer Institute

She added that some natural remedies can hinder the cancer treatment patients are already receiving, saying, "A lot of patients tell their doctor they are taking supplements, and those supplements may interact with their chemotherapy. Still, this doesn't mean patients with cancer need to totally avoid these treatments, because they can help them in other ways. For instance, I know there are some patients who have taken a supplement that help them with the nausea from chemotherapy. But more research is needed on that. Duma said, "Right now, more people go to the doctor for kidney stones than tumor pain.

But patients can have pain related not to a tumor but to the effects of cancer in general, Duma said. She said: "Fatigue is often the most common symptom, but it all depends on what the cancer is doing. If a tumor is in the lungs, a patient may have shortness of breath. If it metastasizes to the bones, they can have bone pain. If the tumor is in your liver, you may turn yellow. It's about where the tumor is and how it spreads.

That determines which symptoms patients present. Chemicals in your home or workplace, such as asbestos and benzene, also are associated with an increased risk of cancer. There's no certain way to prevent cancer. But doctors have identified several ways of reducing your cancer risk, such as:. Cancer care at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. This content does not have an English version.

This content does not have an Arabic version. Overview Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic. Share on: Facebook Twitter. References Cancer. World Health Organization. Accessed Dec. Cancer: All sites.

Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results. Accessed April 23, National Cancer Institute. Kushi LH, et al. American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention: Reducing the risk of cancer with healthy food choices and physical activity. Niederhuber JE, et al. Genetic and epigenetic alterations in cancer. In: Abeloff's Clinical Oncology.

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Ulcerative colitis. NINDS paraneoplastic syndromes information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke. Deng GE, et al.

Cancer’s Cause, Cancer’s Cure

Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: Complementary therapies and botanicals. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology. Taking time: Support for people with cancer. Moynihan TJ expert opinion. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 1, Hypercalcemia high level of calcium in the blood.

Merck Manual Home Edition. What is cancer? Cancer prevention overview PDQ. The genetics of cancer. Understanding cancer risk.

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