Cancer is a class of diseases that is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. They cause harm when altered cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumours. The only exception is in the case of leukaemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream.
In 2012, the World Health Organisation estimates that, worldwide, there were 14 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths. Also, the American Cancer Society stated that ‘‘Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US and accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths’’.
Types of Cancer
There are over 100 diverse types of cancer, and each is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected. The most common types include
- Breast cancer: it is a kind of cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts.
- Prostate cancer: A cancer in a man’s prostate, a small walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid.
- Melanoma: It is a kind of skin cancer and has been the most severe type ever known.
- Colon cancer: A cancer of the colon or rectum, located at the digestive tract’s lower end.
- Lung cancer: A cancer that begins in the lungs and most often occurs in people who smoke.
- Leukaemia: A cancer of blood-forming tissues, hindering the body’s ability to fight infection.
- Lymphoma: A cancer of the lymphatic system.
- Cervical cancer: A cancer of the cervix often caused by a virus known as Human papilloma virus.
Prevention of Cancer
If you must reduce your risk of having cancer, you must take charge by making changes such as eating a healthy diet and, exercise and getting regular screenings. Below are some approaches to reducing the risk of cancer.
- Avoid the use of tobacco as this puts you on a collision course with cancer.
- Eat healthy diets (fruits and vegetables) and limit intake of processed foods.
- Maintain a healthy weight and engage in physical activity as this reduces the risk of having various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney.
- Protect yourself from the sun regularly and stay in shades often, this will curb the risk of exposure to skin cancer which is one of the common cancers.
- Avoid sharing needles with an infected drug user as this can lead to HIV, as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C invariably increasing the risk of liver cancer.
Source: WHO and Mayo Clinic