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  • How does cancer start in one’s body?
    The exact mechanism of cancer is still not known. Several factors are known to produce cancer-like tobacco in the form of smoking and chewing, alcohol, infection with viruses, radiation, certain chemicals, excessive fat consumption, etc.

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  • Which part of my body could get cancer?
    Cancer can occur in any part of the body. Cancers are usually painless and generally present as swellings or growths. They gradually increase in size and damage the surrounding tissue.

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  • Does heavy alcohol consumption cause Cancer?
    Yes. Heavy alcohol consumption especially in the presence of smoking increases the risk of certain cancers like throat, food pipe, stomach and liver.

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  • Does tobacco chewing or smoking cause cancer?
    Yes. Smoking cigarettes is the cause of 75% of all lung cancers and 25% of all cancers in the Western countries. Cigarette smoke has more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer Smokers are also likely to develop cancer of the mouth, pharynx, food pipe (esophagus), pancreas and bladder. Apart from cancer, tobacco smoking is also the major cause of heart disease, stomach ulcers, chronic bronchitis, emphysema etc. Smokers often die young. Due to a spouse's smoking, his/her spouse or children are also at a high risk for developing cancer of various organs (passive smoking).

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  • How is cancer detected?
    One should look out for the warning signals of cancer .When a symptom is noticed, one should promptly undergo a thorough medical examination by a physician or cancer specialist. Self examination methods and periodic self examination of mouth and breast can detect many cancers in early or precancerous stages.

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  • What are the warning signals of cancer?
    • A sore or ulcer that does not heal within 3 weeks with antibiotics especially in mouth. Pearly white patches in the mouth. Inability to hold salty food in mouth.
    • Unusual bleeding or discharge from any orifice.
    • Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere in the body.
    • Repeated abdominal cramps and indigestion. Difficulty in swallowing which lasts more than 3 weeks.
    • Changes in bowel habits (Diarrhea & Constipation) lasting for more than 3 weeks.
    • Hoarseness of voice, nagging cough; persisting even after treatment of 3 weeks.
    • Difficulty in urination, blood in urine, especially if you are above 45 years of age.
    • Change in wart or mole.
    • Listlessness, anemia, and intermittent fever which are not controlled by conventional medication.
    • Impairment in vision, white patches in the eye, often shining at night.

    Note: These signs need not always be due to Cancer. But consult a doctor if you have any of the above symptoms

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  • How does early diagnosis help?
    If the disease has not spread beyond its site of origin a complete cure is often possible. For example, when a cervix cancer is localized, almost 100% cure is possible but when it has spread to nearby organs - bladder or rectum, not even 20% will live upto 5 years. Similarly, an early breast cancer when treated adequately would have a more than 85% chance of survival of more than 5 years whereas when it is spread to lungs, it is less than 10%. Thus early diagnosis ensures a better cure rate.

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  • Is it possible to prevent cancer?
    Some cancers can be prevented. Most mouth cancers can be prevented by not chewing tobacco and most lung and throat cancers can be prevented by not smoking. A well balanced diet with little fat and more green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, milk etc, can protect. Even though not all cancers are preventable, many deaths can be prevented by early detection and proper treatment. Knowledge of the warning signals of cancer helps one to get an early diagnosis and a successful treatment.

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  • Can diet help prevent cancer?
    It is generally suggested that a high fat diet can cause cancer of bowels, prostate, uterus and breast. Certain food additives and coloring agents are also highly suspected to cause cancer. Diet with plenty of fiber is shown to be protective against bowel cancer. Use of fresh green leafy vegetables and fruits work against cancer.

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  • Will I be able to work during my cancer treatment?
    Most people are able to continue working while they are being treated. It may be possible to schedule your treatments late in the day or right before the weekend, so they interfere less with work. If the treatment makes you very tired, you can speak with your employer about your needs and wishes at this time. You may be permitted to work parttime, or perhaps work from home.

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  • How to prevent cancer?
    - Choose predominantly vegetarian diets rich in fruits and vegetables.
    - Eat 400-800 grams a day of a variety of vegetables and fruits.
    - It is preferable to eat fish and poultry. - - Limit intake of red meat.
    - Do not eat charred food.
    - Avoid / limit consumption of fatty foods. Choose modest amounts of vegetable oils.
    - Avoid / limit consumption of salted foods.
    - Women have to practice regular self breast examination every month.
    - All sexually active women have to undergo regular pap smear screening.
    - Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
    - Avoid / limit alcohol consumption.
    - Avoid being underweight or overweight.
    - Exercise regularly.

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  • What is Metastasized Cancer?
    Metastasis is the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. A tumor formed by cells that have spread is called a “metastatic tumor”. The metastatic tumor contains cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumor.

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  • Is cancer contagious?
    No. They are not contagious. In the past, people often stayed away from someone who had cancer. But cancer is not contagious. You will not get cancer by being around or touching someone with cancer. Don't be afraid to visit someone with cancer. They need the support of their family and friends.

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  • How common are hereditary cancers?
    Just a small portion of the millions of people diagnosed with cancer has a hereditary association with the disease. The vast majority of cancer patients have no clear hereditary component to their cancer.

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  • I’ve just been diagnosed cancer, what do I do next?
    When a diagnosis of cancer is made, don’t panic. Step back and don’t rush into any decisions. One of the first things you should do is to get a second opinion from another expert. It’s also important to do your homework, but in a responsible manner. Don’t just go to the internet and type in the phrase to get you overwhelmed with the amount of information which leads to embarrassment. Make sure that your decision making is based on evidence, not money.
    Patients often acquire different opinions from different specialists, but don’t feel pressurized into making decisions that may not feel right to you.

    Determining which treatment option is best for you may depend on your openness with your doctor. Communicate candidly with your doctor and discuss the various treatment options and their pros and cons.

    Finally, it’s recommended that you receive treatment from a medical center that takes a multidisciplinary approach. This way you’ll be presented with a variety of choices and thorough information on diagnosis and staging.

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  • Is cancer treatment worse than cancer?
    This is a belief that can be dangerous to some people. Those who think this is true might not get treatment that can save their lives. Untreated cancer commonly causes death. It is true that chemo, radiation, and surgery can cause distressing symptoms. But the side effects fade after the treatment is over, and the treatment can be life-saving.
    There are times when every cancer patient questions their commitment to the difficult journey of treatment and its side effects. It is true that they can even get discouraged by the uncertainty of treatment and wonder if it's worth it. This is normal. But nowadays there are better ways to control treatment side effects. Also remember each year brings advances in cancer treatments.

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  • What are my chances, will I get worse?
    Having cancer doesn't mean that you have to lose hope. Many people with cancer go on to live active lives. The outlook for many cancers is improving. Some cancers can be cured, and others can be controlled for some period of time. If the cancer is advanced, symptoms can be relieved to maintain your quality of life. Talk to your specialist about what the diagnosis of your particular cancer means for you and what the future might hold. Ask what the usual course of the disease is and how your cancer compares with this picture. Of course, every body is different, but it helps to know what the benchmark is. Your doctor will best be able to answer your questions.
    If you are having trouble imagining what life might be like after treatment, it might help to speak with someone who has had your type of cancer some time ago. Take advantage of the support services that are available, such as support groups that can offer both practical and emotional assistance.

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  • What if the cancer comes back?
    Sometimes cancer does come back. Take some time and allow the news to sink in. You will need to discuss your situation and options with your doctor. Treatment decisions are very important and no one can make decisions for you - so think carefully about your options.
    Discuss in support groups and find more information, before taking any decision.