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Understanding Cancer to #FightCancer

Cancer- a dreaded disease which reminds us only of pain and suffering. It can happen to anyone irrespective of age or gender. It is also a very misunderstood disease. This month I am raising Cancer Awareness to help in better understanding and to be supportive of people who face it.

What is Cancer?

It is defined as the disease where few of the body’s cells begin to divide in uncontrollable fashion and spread into surrounding tissues. This results in the growth of malignant tumors in the body. It is caused by genetic changes in the cell’s ability to grow and divide. These changes can also cause DNA mutations.

When Cancer cells spread to different parts of the body from the point of origin, it is named as Metastasis.

Staging of Cancer

 

The course of treatment depends on the size of Cancer and how far it is spread.

TNM Staging –

It is based on size of tumor and its spread into different parts of the body.

T – Size of tumor, and how far it has spread to nearby tissues. Values range from 1 to 4, where 1 denotes small.

N – To identify if Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. Values range from 0 to 3. 0 denotes no spread of cancer to lymph nodes.

M – Identify if cancer has spread to other parts of body. Values are 0 or 1, where 0 means no spread of Cancer to other organs.

Example – A small cancer not spread to lymph nodes or other parts will be represented as T1 N0 M0.

The letters ‘p’ or ‘c’ can also be used to describe the stage of Cancer. The letter ‘p’ identifies that stage of cancer is determined pathologically after surgery to remove cancer. Letter ‘c’ denotes that the stage is determined clinically during course of treatment before surgery.

Example – pT1N0M0.

Number Based Staging –

 

The TNM values are used by medical professionals to determine number based stage of Cancer,where

 

Stage 1- Cancer is small and contained within the originating organ.

Stage 2–  Cancer is large than Stage 1 but not spread to surrounding tissues. It can also describe that cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes surrounding the originating organ.

Stage 3 – Cancer is large and has spread to surrounding tissues and lymph nodes.

Stage 4 – Cancer has spread to different body part(s). It denotes metastasis.

It becomes difficult for non-medical people to understand medical. Hence, I am trying to make Understanding Cancer a simpler process this whole month. In next post, I will discuss different treatments that are used for diagnosis.

I am taking part in this initiative to #FightCancer along with #BlogChatterProjects.