10 Questions To Help You Demystify Cancer – World Cancer Day 2020 #IamandIwill

10 Questions To Help You Demystify Cancer – World Cancer Day 2020 #IamandIwill
11/02/2020 Waniete

World Cancer Day is marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to promote its detection, prevention, and treatment. Quelling misinformation, reducing the stigma and ultimately demystifying cancer are the goals that inspire this year’s theme – I Am And I Will.

In the spirit of demystifying cancer, here are 11 simple answers to nagging questions about cancer from your friends at Hygeia HMO.

1. What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which cells divide uncontrollably and harm body tissue with tumours or affect the immune system.

2. Who can get cancer?
Anyone can get cancer, although the older one becomes, the higher the risk. This risk is amplified by factors such as smoking, lifestyle and food choices, how much you exercise, family history of cancer, environmental and work factors.

3. How does cancer start?
Your body is made up of different types of cells that grow, divide, become old, and die in the normal cause of life. Usually, new cells replace these dead ones but sometimes cells grow out of control and form a mass, or tumour, instead of dying.

Tumours can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Cancerous tumours attack and kill your body’s tissues spreading to other parts of the body, causing new tumours to form. This is known as metastasis.

4. Is cancer genetic?
Yes, cancer is a genetic disease. This is because cancer is caused by mutations or changes to genes that regulate the way our cells work, causing them to act irregularly. In about 5-10% of all cancer cases, these mutations were passed to offspring. It is thus more likely that these gene changes happen throughout a person’s lifetime due to other factors besides genetics.

5. Can I vaccinate myself against cancer?
No, there is no vaccine for cancer. However, there are vaccines for some viruses known to cause cancer, such as the human papillomavirus and hepatitis B.

6. Is cancer curable?
Yes. When the treatment seems to be working, the doctor might say the cancer is in remission. Partial remission happens when the cancer shrinks but doesn’t disappear. Complete remission means there is no sign of cancer anymore. The longer it is in complete remission, the less likely it is to come back.

7. Is cancer contagious?
No. Cancer is not communicable. You cannot get cancer from someone who has the disease.

8. Does cancer have stages?
Yes. It has four stages: 1 through 4. However, some cancers have a stage 0.
• Stage 0: The cancer is still found in the place it has begun and hasn’t spread.
• Stage I: A small tumour that hasn’t grown deeply into nearby tissue. Often known as early-stage cancer.
• Stages II and III: Larger growths or tumours deeply extending to nearby tissues and may have spread to lymph nodes but not to other organs.
• Stage IV: At this stage, cancer has expanded to other organs or parts of the body. It is called metastatic or advanced cancer.

9. How do cancer drugs work?
Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can also hurt normal cells in the process, producing side effects. Targeted therapy uses drugs to block genes or proteins discovered in the cancer cells. This normally results in less harm to healthy cells, but it still has side effects.

10. What are the signs of cancer?
Sometimes there are signs, but not always. The signs and symptoms of cancer depend on where the cancer is and how big it is. As cancer progresses, it can push on nearby organs and other structures resulting in pressure that can cause symptoms.

Some cancers grow in places where they won’t cause any signs or symptoms until they have advanced. For example, pancreatic cancer normally doesn’t cause any symptoms until it grows large enough to push on other structures, causing pain, or revealing signs of jaundice.

Some usual signs and symptoms of cancer are seen in many other conditions as well and can include:
• Weight loss
• Fever
• Fatigue
• Pain
• Skin changes
• Bowel habit or bladder function changes
• Wounds that don’t heal
• Unusual bleeding or secretion
• A thickening or mass in a part of the body, such as a breast.
• Indigestion or trouble swallowing
• A fresh change in a wart or mole
• A nagging cough or hoarseness

The best way to find out what’s causing any symptom is to see your doctor. If you notice any of these symptoms and they don’t pass, get a doctor’s advice immediately.

11. When should I get tested for cancer?
Suggestions for the types of screening tests and when you should get them vary.

Please see a age/gender/test type guideline for cancer testing.

21-29
Men: Colon cancer check
Women: Breast, Cervical & Colon Cancer checks

30 -39 –
Men: Colon cancer check
Women: Breast, Cervical & Colon Cancer checks

40 -49
Men: Colon and Prostrate cancer checks
Women: Breast, Cervical & Colon Cancer checks

40 -49
Men: Colon, Prostrate & Lung Cancer checks
Women: Breast, Cervical, Colon and Lung cancer checks.

It is also a great idea to see your doctor on what sort of test you might need and when.

Now that you are armed with this knowledge, the next step is to act. Our plans provide great cover extensively for you or your family and team. After a year of being covered, you get to access the critical illness benefits at no extra cost. Start now and get insurance before you need insurance.

Cheers to a healthy, cancer-free life.

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