What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, second commonest killer in Sri Lanka followed by ischemic heart disease.

How do I know that I have Cancer?

It depends on the type of Cancer you have. The commonest symptoms could be;

  • Loss of weight/ loss of appetite
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Unresolving cough, hoarseness of voice or nasal speech for more than three (03) weeks
  • Difficulty in swallowing for more than three (03) weeks
  • Prolonged backache
  • Consectetur adipiscing elit
  • Non healing chronic wound
  • Newly developed birth mark or growth of an existing one
  • A lump or a tumor in any part of the body
  • Nipple discharge or change in skin colour of the breast
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge from vagina
  • Prolonged unexplainable fever

Is it inherited?

Ten percent (10%) of all Cancers are either familial or inherited.

What can I do to prevent Cancer?

  • Lead a healthy, stress free life
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Good dietary habits
  • Regular exercise
  • Say NO to smoking and alcohol
  • Self-examination of mouth and breast
  • Screening the people at high risk ie: Family history of Cancer
  • Seeking medical advice if there are warning signs of Cancer

What are the common contributory factors for Cancer?

  • Tobacco and alcohol
  • Work related causes such as exposure to asbestos, dyes, wooden dust etc.,
  • Environmental pollution (air, water, soil)
  • Unhealthy dietary habits (fast food, flavored food)
  • Effects of radiation and some medicines
  • Chronic infections
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Inherited conditions

Does Cancer mean death?

  • No, early diagnosis and proper treatment leads to complete cure from cancer.

Is Cancer preventable?

  • One third of the Cancers are preventable by leading a healthy lifestyle.

What are the main types of Cancers?

  • Solid Tumours
  • Blood Malignancies

What are the common Solid Cancers?

  • Breast , Oral , Cervix & Uteri, Thyroid, Ovarian and Bowel Cancer

What are the common Blood Cancers?

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia (AML),
    Chronic Myeloblastic Leukemia (CML), Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukemia (CLL)

Does age matter?

  • No, You can develop a Cancer at any age.

What are the common Cancers in males?

  • Oral, Bronchus & Lung, Prostate, Bowel, Blood (Leukemia)

What are the common Cancers in females?

  • Breast, Cervix & Uterus, Thyroid, Ovaries, Blood (Leukemia)

What are the common Cancers affecting children?

  • Leukemia and Lymphoma, Brain Tumours, Neuroblastoma, Nephroblastoma, Osteosarcoma, Retinoblastoma (5% of all Cancers occur in childhood)

How can I check that I have Cancer?

  • Screening can be done with self-examination for lumps, basic blood investigations and imaging methods such as Ultra sound scan, Mammogram, Endoscopy and PET CT Scan.