Common e.g. X-rays, ultraviolet rays and radiations.

Common types of cancer are oral cancer, esophageal cancer, cancer of cervix uteri, lung cancer, stomach cancer, gall bladder cancer, hepatic cancer, breast cancer etc.

Oral and esophageal cancers are among the most malignant diseases in India, mostly due to habit of smoking and tobacco chewing. Cancer of cervix uteri and breast cancer are very common in females but these types of cancer are relatively rare in unmarried women. Penile cancer is common is men which is due to accumulation of smegma under the prepuce. If hygienic measures for penile cleanliness are adopted then such type of cancers can be reduced to a great extent.

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Causes of Cancer:

Cancer is caused due to: (i) An abnormal and purposeless multiplication of cells in size and mass more than they should. (ii) The ability to infiltrate to the adjacent tissues or distant organs. (iii) Because cells are not dying when they should.

(iv) If the tumour has developed to such an extent that it can’t be removed successfully then ultimately death of the patient will be the result.

Contributory Factors for Causes of Cancer:

The following agents are the contributory factors for causes of cancer: (i) Chemical agents e.g.

coal tar dyes and its derivatives, soot, aromatic amines, benzedine, asbestos, nickel etc. (ii) Physical agents e.g. X-rays, ultraviolet rays and radiations. (iii) Mechanical agents e.g.

friction, trauma and irritation. (iv) Biological agents e.g. virus is supposed to be involved in cancer causation and factors like schistosomiasis in urinary bladder cancer. Along with the above mentioned factors other contributory factors for causation of cancer include age, sex, occupation, marital status, socio-economic status, heredity, environmental factors, and customs and habits. Chances of development are more with the advancement of age.

Breast cancer and cancer of cervix uteri is more in women specially married one. Persons who are in the occupation of dealing with chemicals such as benzene, arsenic, cadmium, chromium etc. are exposed to development of cancer. Customs and habits like consumption of alcohol, smoking, chewing of tobacco or paan, use of hot spicy food etc. all contribute to the causation of cancer of one organ or the other.

Signs and Symptoms:

The following are the danger signs of cancer: (i) Any sore that does not heal. (ii) Formation of lump, tumour or thickening in the breast or else­where in the body.

(iii) Unusual bleeding or discharges from any part of the body. (iv) Difficulty in swallowing and persistent indigestion. (v) Persistent cough or hoarseness of voice. (vi) Any sudden changes in skin and outgrowth of skin like wart and mole.

Prevention and Control:

Cancer can be prevented if following measures are adopted: (i) Try to avoid consumption of alcohol and tobacco in any form. (ii) Try to avoid and protect against known carcinogenic agents such as chemicals, drugs and radiations. (iii) Ensure personal hygiene to prevent the cervix and penile cancer. (iv) Persons should be immunised against hepatitis B virus to prevent liver cancer.

(v) Food, drugs and cosmetics should be tested for their carcinogenic activity. (vi) Early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions should be done. For this purpose cancer detection centers should be established. (vii) Breast cancer should be detected at an early stage through mammography and steps taken to control breast cancer.

Millions of women today suffer from this deadly disease. Moreover the number of such cases is increasing day-by-day. The changing life style correlates with delayed child bearing (after 30) the early onset of menstruation (before 12) and late menopause (after 50) are the risk factors for breast cancer. (viii) Mass surveys and screening should be done especially in old people. (ix) After cure, rehabilitation of cancerous patients should be kept in view.


For the treatment of cancer surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy are needed.

Now-a-days instead of giving one therapy a combination of two or more than two therapies are given to control cancer and this has become the general practice in cancer centers all over the world. The latest technique for treating cancer is the laser therapy i.e. Interstitial Laser Photocoagulation in short form known as ILP.

The patients who cannot be treated by above mentioned therapies and have crossed the curable stage, they must be provided with some pain killers so as to give relief from unbearable pain.


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