Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss and a change in bowel movements. While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also have other causes. Over 100 types of cancers affect humans.
Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths. Another 10% are due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity or excessive drinking of alcohol. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation and environmental pollutants. In the developing world, 15% of cancers are due to infections such as Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human papillomavirus infection, Epstein–Barr virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These factors act, at least partly, by changing the genes of a cell. Typically, many genetic changes are required before cancer develops. Approximately 5–10% of cancers are due to inherited genetic defects from a person's parents. Cancer can be detected by certain signs and symptoms or screening tests. It is then typically further investigated by medical imaging and confirmed by biopsy.
Many cancers can be prevented by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking too much alcohol, eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, vaccination against certain infectious diseases, not eating too much processed and red meat and avoiding too much sunlight exposure. Early detection through screening is useful for cervical and colorectal cancer. The benefits of screening in breast cancer are controversial. Cancer is often treated with some combination of radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Pain and symptom management are an important part of care. Palliative care is particularly important in people with advanced disease. The chance of survival depends on the type of cancer and extent of disease at the start of treatment. In children under 15 at diagnosis, the five-year survival rate in the developed world is on average 80%. For cancer in the United States, the average five-year survival rate is 66%.
In 2015, about 90.5 million people had cancer. About 14.1 million new cases occur a year (not including skin cancer other than melanoma). It caused about 8.8 million deaths (15.7% of deaths). The most common types of cancer in males are lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and stomach cancer. In females, the most common types are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer. If skin cancer other than melanoma were included in total new cancer cases each year, it would account for around 40% of cases. In children, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and brain tumors are most common, except in Africa where non-Hodgkin lymphoma occurs more often. In 2012, about 165,000 children under 15 years of age were diagnosed with cancer. The risk of cancer increases significantly with age, and many cancers occur more commonly in developed countries. Rates are increasing as more people live to an old age and as lifestyle changes occur in the developing world. The financial costs of cancer were estimated at $1.16 trillion USD per year as of 2010.
|Synonyms||Malignant tumor, malignant neoplasm|
|A coronal CT scan showing a malignant mesothelioma|
Legend: → tumor ←, ✱ central pleural effusion, 1 & 3 lungs, 2 spine, 4 ribs, 5 aorta, 6 spleen, 7 & 8 kidneys, 9 liver
|Symptoms||Lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, change in bowel movements|
|Risk factors||Tobacco, obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol, certain infections|
|Treatment||Radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.|
|Prognosis||Average five year survival 66% (USA)|
|Frequency||90.5 million (2015)|
|Deaths||8.8 million (2015)|
Cancers are a large family of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. They form a subset of neoplasms. A neoplasm or tumor is a group of cells that have undergone unregulated growth and will often form a mass or lump, but may be distributed diffusely.
When cancer begins, it produces no symptoms. Signs and symptoms appear as the mass grows or ulcerates. The findings that result depend on the cancer's type and location. Few symptoms are specific. Many frequently occur in individuals who have other conditions. Cancer is a "great imitator". Thus, it is common for people diagnosed with cancer to have been treated for other diseases, which were hypothesized to be causing their symptoms.
People may become anxious or depressed post-diagnosis. The risk of suicide in people with cancer is approximately double.
Local symptoms may occur due to the mass of the tumor or its ulceration. For example, mass effects from lung cancer can block the bronchus resulting in cough or pneumonia; esophageal cancer can cause narrowing of the esophagus, making it difficult or painful to swallow; and colorectal cancer may lead to narrowing or blockages in the bowel, affecting bowel habits. Masses in breasts or testicles may produce observable lumps. Ulceration can cause bleeding that, if it occurs in the lung, will lead to coughing up blood, in the bowels to anemia or rectal bleeding, in the bladder to blood in the urine and in the uterus to vaginal bleeding. Although localized pain may occur in advanced cancer, the initial swelling is usually painless. Some cancers can cause a buildup of fluid within the chest or abdomen.
General symptoms occur due to effects that are not related to direct or metastatic spread. These may include: unintentional weight loss, fever, excessive fatigue and changes to the skin. Hodgkin disease, leukemias and cancers of the liver or kidney can cause a persistent fever.
Cancer can spread from its original site by local spread, lymphatic spread to regional lymph nodes or by hematogenous spread via the blood to distant sites, known as metastasis. When cancer spreads by a hematogenous route, it usually spreads all over the body. However, cancer 'seeds' grow in certain selected site only ('soil') as hypothesized in the soil and seed hypothesis of cancer metastasis. The symptoms of metastatic cancers depend on the tumor location and can include enlarged lymph nodes (which can be felt or sometimes seen under the skin and are typically hard), enlarged liver or enlarged spleen, which can be felt in the abdomen, pain or fracture of affected bones and neurological symptoms.
The majority of cancers, some 90–95% of cases, are due to genetic mutations from environmental and lifestyle factors. The remaining 5–10% are due to inherited genetics. Environmental, as used by cancer researchers, means any cause that is not inherited genetically, such as lifestyle, economic, and behavioral factors and not merely pollution. Common environmental factors that contribute to cancer death include tobacco (25–30%), diet and obesity (30–35%), infections (15–20%), radiation (both ionizing and non-ionizing, up to 10%), stress, lack of physical activity and pollution.
It is not generally possible to prove what caused a particular cancer because the various causes do not have specific fingerprints. For example, if a person who uses tobacco heavily develops lung cancer, then it was probably caused by the tobacco use, but since everyone has a small chance of developing lung cancer as a result of air pollution or radiation, the cancer may have developed for one of those reasons. Excepting the rare transmissions that occur with pregnancies and occasional organ donors, cancer is generally not a transmissible disease.
Exposure to particular substances have been linked to specific types of cancer. These substances are called carcinogens.
Tobacco smoke, for example, causes 90% of lung cancer. It also causes cancer in the larynx, head, neck, stomach, bladder, kidney, esophagus and pancreas. Tobacco smoke contains over fifty known carcinogens, including nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Tobacco is responsible for about one in five cancer deaths worldwide and about one in three in the developed world. Lung cancer death rates in the United States have mirrored smoking patterns, with increases in smoking followed by dramatic increases in lung cancer death rates and, more recently, decreases in smoking rates since the 1950s followed by decreases in lung cancer death rates in men since 1990.
In Western Europe, 10% of cancers in males and 3% of cancers in females are attributed to alcohol exposure, especially liver and digestive tract cancers. Cancer from work-related substance exposures may cause between 2 and 20% of cases, causing at least 200,000 deaths. Cancers such as lung cancer and mesothelioma can come from inhaling tobacco smoke or asbestos fibers, or leukemia from exposure to benzene.
Diet, physical inactivity and obesity are related to up to 30–35% of cancer deaths. In the United States, excess body weight is associated with the development of many types of cancer and is a factor in 14–20% of cancer deaths. A UK study including data on over 5 million people showed higher body mass index to be related to at least 10 types of cancer and responsible for around 12,000 cases each year in that country. Physical inactivity is believed to contribute to cancer risk, not only through its effect on body weight but also through negative effects on the immune system and endocrine system. More than half of the effect from diet is due to overnutrition (eating too much), rather than from eating too few vegetables or other healthful foods.
Some specific foods are linked to specific cancers. A high-salt diet is linked to gastric cancer. Aflatoxin B1, a frequent food contaminant, causes liver cancer. Betel nut chewing can cause oral cancer. National differences in dietary practices may partly explain differences in cancer incidence. For example, gastric cancer is more common in Japan due to its high-salt diet while colon cancer is more common in the United States. Immigrant cancer profiles mirror those of their new country, often within one generation.
Worldwide approximately 18% of cancer deaths are related to infectious diseases. This proportion ranges from a high of 25% in Africa to less than 10% in the developed world. Viruses are the usual infectious agents that cause cancer but cancer bacteria and parasites may also play a role.
Oncoviruses (viruses that can cause cancer) include human papillomavirus (cervical cancer), Epstein–Barr virus (B-cell lymphoproliferative disease and nasopharyngeal carcinoma), Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (Kaposi's sarcoma and primary effusion lymphomas), hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses (hepatocellular carcinoma) and human T-cell leukemia virus-1 (T-cell leukemias). Bacterial infection may also increase the risk of cancer, as seen in Helicobacter pylori-induced gastric carcinoma. Parasitic infections associated with cancer include Schistosoma haematobium (squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder) and the liver flukes, Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis (cholangiocarcinoma).
Up to 10% of invasive cancers are related to radiation exposure, including both ionizing radiation and non-ionizing ultraviolet radiation. Additionally, the majority of non-invasive cancers are non-melanoma skin cancers caused by non-ionizing ultraviolet radiation, mostly from sunlight. Sources of ionizing radiation include medical imaging and radon gas.
Ionizing radiation is not a particularly strong mutagen. Residential exposure to radon gas, for example, has similar cancer risks as passive smoking. Radiation is a more potent source of cancer when combined with other cancer-causing agents, such as radon plus tobacco smoke. Radiation can cause cancer in most parts of the body, in all animals and at any age. Children and adolescents are twice as likely to develop radiation-induced leukemia as adults; radiation exposure before birth has ten times the effect.
Medical use of ionizing radiation is a small but growing source of radiation-induced cancers. Ionizing radiation may be used to treat other cancers, but this may, in some cases, induce a second form of cancer. It is also used in some kinds of medical imaging.
Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can lead to melanoma and other skin malignancies. Clear evidence establishes ultraviolet radiation, especially the non-ionizing medium wave UVB, as the cause of most non-melanoma skin cancers, which are the most common forms of cancer in the world.
Non-ionizing radio frequency radiation from mobile phones, electric power transmission and other similar sources has been described as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer. However, studies have not found a consistent link between mobile phone radiation and cancer risk.
The vast majority of cancers are non-hereditary (sporadic). Hereditary cancers are primarily caused by an inherited genetic defect. Less than 0.3% of the population are carriers of a genetic mutation that has a large effect on cancer risk and these cause less than 3–10% of cancer. Some of these syndromes include: certain inherited mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 with a more than 75% risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC or Lynch syndrome), which is present in about 3% of people with colorectal cancer, among others.
Statistically for cancers causing most mortality, the relative risk of developing colorectal cancer when a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or child) has been diagnosed with it is about 2. The corresponding relative risk is 1.5 for lung cancer, and 1.9 for prostate cancer. For breast cancer, the relative risk is 1.8 with a first-degree relative having developed it at 50 years of age or older, and 3.3 when the relative developed it when being younger than 50 years of age.
Taller people have an increased risk of cancer because they have more cells than shorter people. Since height is genetically determined to a large extent, taller people have a heritable increase of cancer risk.
Some substances cause cancer primarily through their physical, rather than chemical, effects. A prominent example of this is prolonged exposure to asbestos, naturally occurring mineral fibers that are a major cause of mesothelioma (cancer of the serous membrane) usually the serous membrane surrounding the lungs. Other substances in this category, including both naturally occurring and synthetic asbestos-like fibers, such as wollastonite, attapulgite, glass wool and rock wool, are believed to have similar effects. Non-fibrous particulate materials that cause cancer include powdered metallic cobalt and nickel and crystalline silica (quartz, cristobalite and tridymite). Usually, physical carcinogens must get inside the body (such as through inhalation) and require years of exposure to produce cancer.
Physical trauma resulting in cancer is relatively rare. Claims that breaking bones resulted in bone cancer, for example, have not been proven. Similarly, physical trauma is not accepted as a cause for cervical cancer, breast cancer or brain cancer. One accepted source is frequent, long-term application of hot objects to the body. It is possible that repeated burns on the same part of the body, such as those produced by kanger and kairo heaters (charcoal hand warmers), may produce skin cancer, especially if carcinogenic chemicals are also present. Frequent consumption of scalding hot tea may produce esophageal cancer. Generally, it is believed that cancer arises, or a pre-existing cancer is encouraged, during the process of healing, rather than directly by the trauma. However, repeated injuries to the same tissues might promote excessive cell proliferation, which could then increase the odds of a cancerous mutation.
Chronic inflammation has been hypothesized to directly cause mutation. Inflammation can contribute to proliferation, survival, angiogenesis and migration of cancer cells by influencing the tumor microenvironment. Oncogenes build up an inflammatory pro-tumorigenic microenvironment.
Some hormones play a role in the development of cancer by promoting cell proliferation. Insulin-like growth factors and their binding proteins play a key role in cancer cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, suggesting possible involvement in carcinogenesis.
Hormones are important agents in sex-related cancers, such as cancer of the breast, endometrium, prostate, ovary and testis and also of thyroid cancer and bone cancer. For example, the daughters of women who have breast cancer have significantly higher levels of estrogen and progesterone than the daughters of women without breast cancer. These higher hormone levels may explain their higher risk of breast cancer, even in the absence of a breast-cancer gene. Similarly, men of African ancestry have significantly higher levels of testosterone than men of European ancestry and have a correspondingly higher level of prostate cancer. Men of Asian ancestry, with the lowest levels of testosterone-activating androstanediol glucuronide, have the lowest levels of prostate cancer.
Other factors are relevant: obese people have higher levels of some hormones associated with cancer and a higher rate of those cancers. Women who take hormone replacement therapy have a higher risk of developing cancers associated with those hormones. On the other hand, people who exercise far more than average have lower levels of these hormones and lower risk of cancer. Osteosarcoma may be promoted by growth hormones. Some treatments and prevention approaches leverage this cause by artificially reducing hormone levels and thus discouraging hormone-sensitive cancers.
There is an association between celiac disease and an increased risk of all cancers. People with untreated celiac disease have a higher risk, but this risk decreases with time after diagnosis and strict treatment, probably due to the adoption of a gluten-free diet, which seems to have a protective role against development of malignancy in people with celiac disease. However, the delay in diagnosis and initiation of a gluten-free diet seems to increase the risk of malignancies. Rates of gastrointestinal cancers are increased in people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, due to chronic inflammation. Also, immunomodulators and biologic agents used to treat these diseases may promote developing extra-intestinal malignancies.
The affected genes are divided into two broad categories. Oncogenes are genes that promote cell growth and reproduction. Tumor suppressor genes are genes that inhibit cell division and survival. Malignant transformation can occur through the formation of novel oncogenes, the inappropriate over-expression of normal oncogenes, or by the under-expression or disabling of tumor suppressor genes. Typically, changes in multiple genes are required to transform a normal cell into a cancer cell.
Genetic changes can occur at different levels and by different mechanisms. The gain or loss of an entire chromosome can occur through errors in mitosis. More common are mutations, which are changes in the nucleotide sequence of genomic DNA.
Large-scale mutations involve the deletion or gain of a portion of a chromosome. Genomic amplification occurs when a cell gains copies (often 20 or more) of a small chromosomal locus, usually containing one or more oncogenes and adjacent genetic material. Translocation occurs when two separate chromosomal regions become abnormally fused, often at a characteristic location. A well-known example of this is the Philadelphia chromosome, or translocation of chromosomes 9 and 22, which occurs in chronic myelogenous leukemia and results in production of the BCR-abl fusion protein, an oncogenic tyrosine kinase.
Small-scale mutations include point mutations, deletions, and insertions, which may occur in the promoter region of a gene and affect its expression, or may occur in the gene's coding sequence and alter the function or stability of its protein product. Disruption of a single gene may also result from integration of genomic material from a DNA virus or retrovirus, leading to the expression of viral oncogenes in the affected cell and its descendants.
Replication of the data contained within the DNA of living cells will probabilistically result in some errors (mutations). Complex error correction and prevention is built into the process and safeguards the cell against cancer. If a significant error occurs, the damaged cell can self-destruct through programmed cell death, termed apoptosis. If the error control processes fail, then the mutations will survive and be passed along to daughter cells.
Some environments make errors more likely to arise and propagate. Such environments can include the presence of disruptive substances called carcinogens, repeated physical injury, heat, ionising radiation or hypoxia.
The errors that cause cancer are self-amplifying and compounding, for example:
The transformation of a normal cell into cancer is akin to a chain reaction caused by initial errors, which compound into more severe errors, each progressively allowing the cell to escape more controls that limit normal tissue growth. This rebellion-like scenario is an undesirable survival of the fittest, where the driving forces of evolution work against the body's design and enforcement of order. Once cancer has begun to develop, this ongoing process, termed clonal evolution, drives progression towards more invasive stages. Clonal evolution leads to intra-tumour heterogeneity (cancer cells with heterogeneous mutations) that complicates designing effective treatment strategies.
Characteristic abilities developed by cancers are divided into categories, specifically evasion of apoptosis, self-sufficiency in growth signals, insensitivity to anti-growth signals, sustained angiogenesis, limitless replicative potential, metastasis, reprogramming of energy metabolism and evasion of immune destruction.
The classical view of cancer is a set of diseases that are driven by progressive genetic abnormalities that include mutations in tumor-suppressor genes and oncogenes and chromosomal abnormalities. Later epigenetic alterations' role was identified.
Epigenetic alterations are functionally relevant modifications to the genome that do not change the nucleotide sequence. Examples of such modifications are changes in DNA methylation (hypermethylation and hypomethylation), histone modification and changes in chromosomal architecture (caused by inappropriate expression of proteins such as HMGA2 or HMGA1). Each of these alterations regulates gene expression without altering the underlying DNA sequence. These changes may remain through cell divisions, last for multiple generations and can be considered to be epimutations (equivalent to mutations).
Epigenetic alterations occur frequently in cancers. As an example, one study listed protein coding genes that were frequently altered in their methylation in association with colon cancer. These included 147 hypermethylated and 27 hypomethylated genes. Of the hypermethylated genes, 10 were hypermethylated in 100% of colon cancers and many others were hypermethylated in more than 50% of colon cancers.
While epigenetic alterations are found in cancers, the epigenetic alterations in DNA repair genes, causing reduced expression of DNA repair proteins, may be of particular importance. Such alterations are thought to occur early in progression to cancer and to be a likely cause of the genetic instability characteristic of cancers.
Reduced expression of DNA repair genes disrupts DNA repair. This is shown in the figure at the 4th level from the top. (In the figure, red wording indicates the central role of DNA damage and defects in DNA repair in progression to cancer.) When DNA repair is deficient DNA damage remains in cells at a higher than usual level (5th level) and cause increased frequencies of mutation and/or epimutation (6th level). Mutation rates increase substantially in cells defective in DNA mismatch repair or in homologous recombinational repair (HRR). Chromosomal rearrangements and aneuploidy also increase in HRR defective cells.
Higher levels of DNA damage cause increased mutation (right side of figure) and increased epimutation. During repair of DNA double strand breaks, or repair of other DNA damage, incompletely cleared repair sites can cause epigenetic gene silencing.
Deficient expression of DNA repair proteins due to an inherited mutation can increase cancer risks. Individuals with an inherited impairment in any of 34 DNA repair genes (see article DNA repair-deficiency disorder) have increased cancer risk, with some defects ensuring a 100% lifetime chance of cancer (e.g. p53 mutations). Germ line DNA repair mutations are noted on the figure's left side. However, such germline mutations (which cause highly penetrant cancer syndromes) are the cause of only about 1 percent of cancers.
In sporadic cancers, deficiencies in DNA repair are occasionally caused by a mutation in a DNA repair gene but are much more frequently caused by epigenetic alterations that reduce or silence expression of DNA repair genes. This is indicated in the figure at the 3rd level. Many studies of heavy metal-induced carcinogenesis show that such heavy metals cause a reduction in expression of DNA repair enzymes, some through epigenetic mechanisms. DNA repair inhibition is proposed to be a predominant mechanism in heavy metal-induced carcinogenicity. In addition, frequent epigenetic alterations of the DNA sequences code for small RNAs called microRNAs (or miRNAs). miRNAs do not code for proteins, but can "target" protein-coding genes and reduce their expression.
Cancers usually arise from an assemblage of mutations and epimutations that confer a selective advantage leading to clonal expansion (see Field defects in progression to cancer). Mutations, however, may not be as frequent in cancers as epigenetic alterations. An average cancer of the breast or colon can have about 60 to 70 protein-altering mutations, of which about three or four may be "driver" mutations and the remaining ones may be "passenger" mutations.
Metastasis is the spread of cancer to other locations in the body. The dispersed tumors are called metastatic tumors, while the original is called the primary tumor. Almost all cancers can metastasize. Most cancer deaths are due to cancer that has metastasized.
Metastasis is common in the late stages of cancer and it can occur via the blood or the lymphatic system or both. The typical steps in metastasis are local invasion, intravasation into the blood or lymph, circulation through the body, extravasation into the new tissue, proliferation and angiogenesis. Different types of cancers tend to metastasize to particular organs, but overall the most common places for metastases to occur are the lungs, liver, brain and the bones.
Most cancers are initially recognized either because of the appearance of signs or symptoms or through screening. Neither of these leads to a definitive diagnosis, which requires the examination of a tissue sample by a pathologist. People with suspected cancer are investigated with medical tests. These commonly include blood tests, X-rays, (contrast) CT scans and endoscopy.
The tissue diagnosis from the biopsy indicates the type of cell that is proliferating, its histological grade, genetic abnormalities and other features. Together, this information is useful to evaluate the prognosis and to choose the best treatment.
Cytogenetics and immunohistochemistry are other types of tissue tests. These tests provide information about molecular changes (such as mutations, fusion genes and numerical chromosome changes) and may thus also indicate the prognosis and best treatment.
Cancers are classified by the type of cell that the tumor cells resemble and is therefore presumed to be the origin of the tumor. These types include:
Cancers are usually named using -carcinoma, -sarcoma or -blastoma as a suffix, with the Latin or Greek word for the organ or tissue of origin as the root. For example, cancers of the liver parenchyma arising from malignant epithelial cells is called hepatocarcinoma, while a malignancy arising from primitive liver precursor cells is called a hepatoblastoma and a cancer arising from fat cells is called a liposarcoma. For some common cancers, the English organ name is used. For example, the most common type of breast cancer is called ductal carcinoma of the breast. Here, the adjective ductal refers to the appearance of cancer under the microscope, which suggests that it has originated in the milk ducts.
Benign tumors (which are not cancers) are named using -oma as a suffix with the organ name as the root. For example, a benign tumor of smooth muscle cells is called a leiomyoma (the common name of this frequently occurring benign tumor in the uterus is fibroid). Confusingly, some types of cancer use the -noma suffix, examples including melanoma and seminoma.
Cancer prevention is defined as active measures to decrease cancer risk. The vast majority of cancer cases are due to environmental risk factors. Many of these environmental factors are controllable lifestyle choices. Thus, cancer is generally preventable. Between 70% and 90% of common cancers are due to environmental factors and therefore potentially preventable.
Greater than 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented by avoiding risk factors including: tobacco, excess weight/obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, alcohol, sexually transmitted infections and air pollution. Not all environmental causes are controllable, such as naturally occurring background radiation and cancers caused through hereditary genetic disorders and thus are not preventable via personal behavior.
While many dietary recommendations have been proposed to reduce cancer risks, the evidence to support them is not definitive. The primary dietary factors that increase risk are obesity and alcohol consumption. Diets low in fruits and vegetables and high in red meat have been implicated but reviews and meta-analyses do not come to a consistent conclusion. A 2014 meta-analysis find no relationship between fruits and vegetables and cancer. Coffee is associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer. Studies have linked excess consumption of red or processed meat to an increased risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer, a phenomenon that could be due to the presence of carcinogens in meats cooked at high temperatures. In 2015 the IARC reported that eating processed meat (e.g., bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausages) and, to a lesser degree, red meat was linked to some cancers.
Dietary recommendations for cancer prevention typically include an emphasis on vegetables, fruit, whole grains and fish and an avoidance of processed and red meat (beef, pork, lamb), animal fats, pickled foods and refined carbohydrates.
Medications can be used to prevent cancer in a few circumstances. In the general population, NSAIDs reduce the risk of colorectal cancer; however, due to cardiovascular and gastrointestinal side effects, they cause overall harm when used for prevention. Aspirin has been found to reduce the risk of death from cancer by about 7%. COX-2 inhibitors may decrease the rate of polyp formation in people with familial adenomatous polyposis; however, it is associated with the same adverse effects as NSAIDs. Daily use of tamoxifen or raloxifene reduce the risk of breast cancer in high-risk women. The benefit versus harm for 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor such as finasteride is not clear.
Vitamin supplementation does not appear to be effective at preventing cancer. While low blood levels of vitamin D are correlated with increased cancer risk, whether this relationship is causal and vitamin D supplementation is protective is not determined. One 2014 review found that supplements had no significant effect on cancer risk. Another 2014 review concluded that vitamin D3 may decrease the risk of death from cancer (one fewer death in 150 people treated over 5 years), but concerns with the quality of the data were noted.
Beta-carotene supplementation increases lung cancer rates in those who are high risk. Folic acid supplementation is not effective in preventing colon cancer and may increase colon polyps. It is unclear if selenium supplementation has an effect.
Vaccines have been developed that prevent infection by some carcinogenic viruses. Human papillomavirus vaccine (Gardasil and Cervarix) decrease the risk of developing cervical cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine prevents infection with hepatitis B virus and thus decreases the risk of liver cancer. The administration of human papillomavirus and hepatitis B vaccinations is recommended when resources allow.
Unlike diagnostic efforts prompted by symptoms and medical signs, cancer screening involves efforts to detect cancer after it has formed, but before any noticeable symptoms appear. This may involve physical examination, blood or urine tests or medical imaging.
Cancer screening is not available for many types of cancers. Even when tests are available, they may not be recommended for everyone. Universal screening or mass screening involves screening everyone. Selective screening identifies people who are at higher risk, such as people with a family history. Several factors are considered to determine whether the benefits of screening outweigh the risks and the costs of screening. These factors include:
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issues recommendations for various cancers:
|BRCA1, BRCA2||Breast, ovarian, pancreatic|
|HNPCC, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS1, PMS2||Colon, uterine, small bowel, stomach, urinary tract|
Genetic testing for individuals at high-risk of certain cancers is recommended by unofficial groups. Carriers of these mutations may then undergo enhanced surveillance, chemoprevention, or preventative surgery to reduce their subsequent risk.
Many treatment options for cancer exist. The primary ones include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, targeted therapy and palliative care. Which treatments are used depends on the type, location and grade of the cancer as well as the patient's health and preferences. The treatment intent may or may not be curative.
Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with one or more cytotoxic anti-neoplastic drugs (chemotherapeutic agents) as part of a standardized regimen. The term encompasses a variety of drugs, which are divided into broad categories such as alkylating agents and antimetabolites. Traditional chemotherapeutic agents act by killing cells that divide rapidly, a critical property of most cancer cells.
Targeted therapy is a form of chemotherapy that targets specific molecular differences between cancer and normal cells. The first targeted therapies blocked the estrogen receptor molecule, inhibiting the growth of breast cancer. Another common example is the class of Bcr-Abl inhibitors, which are used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Currently, targeted therapies exist for many of the most common cancer types, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and thyroid cancer as well as other cancer types.
The efficacy of chemotherapy depends on the type of cancer and the stage. In combination with surgery, chemotherapy has proven useful in cancer types including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, osteogenic sarcoma, testicular cancer, ovarian cancer and certain lung cancers. Chemotherapy is curative for some cancers, such as some leukemias, ineffective in some brain tumors, and needless in others, such as most non-melanoma skin cancers. The effectiveness of chemotherapy is often limited by its toxicity to other tissues in the body. Even when chemotherapy does not provide a permanent cure, it may be useful to reduce symptoms such as pain or to reduce the size of an inoperable tumor in the hope that surgery will become possible in the future.
Radiation therapy involves the use of ionizing radiation in an attempt to either cure or improve symptoms. It works by damaging the DNA of cancerous tissue, killing it. To spare normal tissues (such as skin or organs, which radiation must pass through to treat the tumor), shaped radiation beams are aimed from multiple exposure angles to intersect at the tumor, providing a much larger dose there than in the surrounding, healthy tissue. As with chemotherapy, cancers vary in their response to radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy is used in about half of cases. The radiation can be either from internal sources (brachytherapy) or external sources. The radiation is most commonly low energy x-rays for treating skin cancers, while higher energy x-rays are used for cancers within the body. Radiation is typically used in addition to surgery and or chemotherapy. For certain types of cancer, such as early head and neck cancer, it may be used alone. For painful bone metastasis, it has been found to be effective in about 70% of patients.
Surgery is the primary method of treatment for most isolated, solid cancers and may play a role in palliation and prolongation of survival. It is typically an important part of definitive diagnosis and staging of tumors, as biopsies are usually required. In localized cancer, surgery typically attempts to remove the entire mass along with, in certain cases, the lymph nodes in the area. For some types of cancer this is sufficient to eliminate the cancer.
Palliative care is treatment that attempts to help the patient feel better and may be combined with an attempt to treat the cancer. Palliative care includes action to reduce physical, emotional, spiritual and psycho-social distress. Unlike treatment that is aimed at directly killing cancer cells, the primary goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life.
People at all stages of cancer treatment typically receive some kind of palliative care. In some cases, medical specialty professional organizations recommend that patients and physicians respond to cancer only with palliative care. This applies to patients who:
Palliative care may be confused with hospice and therefore only indicated when people approach end of life. Like hospice care, palliative care attempts to help the patient cope with their immediate needs and to increase comfort. Unlike hospice care, palliative care does not require people to stop treatment aimed at the cancer.
Multiple national medical guidelines recommend early palliative care for patients whose cancer has produced distressing symptoms or who need help coping with their illness. In patients first diagnosed with metastatic disease, palliative care may be immediately indicated. Palliative care is indicated for patients with a prognosis of less than 12 months of life even given aggressive treatment.
A variety of therapies using immunotherapy, stimulating or helping the immune system to fight cancer, have come into use since 1997. Approaches include antibodies, checkpoint therapy and adoptive cell transfer.
Laser therapy uses high-intensity light to treat cancer by shrinking or destroying tumors or precancerous growths. Lasers are most commonly used to treat superficial cancers that are on the surface of the body or the lining of internal organs. It is used to treat basal cell skin cancer and the very early stages of others like cervical, penile, vaginal, vulvar, and non-small cell lung cancer. It is often combined with other treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Laser-induced interstitial thermotherapy (LITT), or interstitial laser photocoagulation, uses lasers to treat some cancers using hyperthermia, which uses heat to shrink tumors by damaging or killing cancer cells. Laser are more precise than surgery and cause less damage, pain, bleeding, swelling, and scarring. A disadvantage is surgeons must have specialized training. It may be more expensive than other treatments.
Complementary and alternative cancer treatments are a diverse group of therapies, practices and products that are not part of conventional medicine. "Complementary medicine" refers to methods and substances used along with conventional medicine, while "alternative medicine" refers to compounds used instead of conventional medicine. Most complementary and alternative medicines for cancer have not been studied or tested using conventional techniques such as clinical trials. Some alternative treatments have been investigated and shown to be ineffective but still continue to be marketed and promoted. Cancer researcher Andrew J. Vickers stated, "The label 'unproven' is inappropriate for such therapies; it is time to assert that many alternative cancer therapies have been 'disproven'."
Survival rates vary by cancer type and by the stage at which it is diagnosed, ranging from majority survival to complete mortality five years after diagnosis. Once a cancer has metastasized, prognosis normally becomes much worse. About half of patients receiving treatment for invasive cancer (excluding carcinoma in situ and non-melanoma skin cancers) die from that cancer or its treatment.
Those who survive cancer develop a second primary cancer at about twice the rate of those never diagnosed. The increased risk is believed to be due to the random chance of developing any cancer, the likelihood of surviving the first cancer, the same risk factors that produced the first cancer, unwanted side effects of treating the first cancer (particularly radiation therapy), and to better compliance with screening.
Predicting short- or long-term survival depends on many factors. The most important are the cancer type and the patient's age and overall health. Those who are frail with other health problems have lower survival rates than otherwise healthy people. Centenarians are unlikely to survive for five years even if treatment is successful. People who report a higher quality of life tend to survive longer. People with lower quality of life may be affected by depression and other complications and/or disease progression that both impairs quality and quantity of life. Additionally, patients with worse prognoses may be depressed or report poorer quality of life because they perceive that their condition is likely to be fatal.
Estimates are that in 2018, 18.1 million new cases of cancer and 9.6 million deaths occur globally. About 20% of males and 17% of females will get cancer at some point in time while 13% of males and 9% of females will die from it.
In 2008, approximately 12.7 million cancers were diagnosed (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers and other non-invasive cancers) and in 2010 nearly 7.98 million people died. Cancers account for approximately 16% of deaths. The most common as of 2018 are lung cancer (1.76 million deaths), colorectal cancer (860,000) stomach cancer (780,000), liver cancer (780,000), and breast cancer (620,000). This makes invasive cancer the leading cause of death in the developed world and the second leading in the developing world. Over half of cases occur in the developing world.
Deaths from cancer were 5.8 million in 1990. Deaths have been increasing primarily due to longer lifespans and lifestyle changes in the developing world. The most significant risk factor for developing cancer is age. Although it is possible for cancer to strike at any age, most patients with invasive cancer are over 65. According to cancer researcher Robert A. Weinberg, "If we lived long enough, sooner or later we all would get cancer." Some of the association between aging and cancer is attributed to immunosenescence, errors accumulated in DNA over a lifetime and age-related changes in the endocrine system. Aging's effect on cancer is complicated by factors such as DNA damage and inflammation promoting it and factors such as vascular aging and endocrine changes inhibiting it.
Some slow-growing cancers are particularly common, but often are not fatal. Autopsy studies in Europe and Asia showed that up to 36% of people have undiagnosed and apparently harmless thyroid cancer at the time of their deaths and that 80% of men develop prostate cancer by age 80. As these cancers do not cause the patient's death, identifying them would have represented overdiagnosis rather than useful medical care.
The three most common childhood cancers are leukemia (34%), brain tumors (23%) and lymphomas (12%). In the United States cancer affects about 1 in 285 children. Rates of childhood cancer increased by 0.6% per year between 1975 and 2002 in the United States and by 1.1% per year between 1978 and 1997 in Europe. Death from childhood cancer decreased by half between 1975 and 2010 in the United States.
Cancer has existed for all of human history. The earliest written record regarding cancer is from circa 1600 BC in the Egyptian Edwin Smith Papyrus and describes breast cancer. Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC) described several kinds of cancer, referring to them with the Greek word καρκίνος karkinos (crab or crayfish). This name comes from the appearance of the cut surface of a solid malignant tumor, with "the veins stretched on all sides as the animal the crab has its feet, whence it derives its name". Galen stated that "cancer of the breast is so called because of the fancied resemblance to a crab given by the lateral prolongations of the tumor and the adjacent distended veins".:738 Celsus (c. 25 BC – 50 AD) translated karkinos into the Latin cancer, also meaning crab and recommended surgery as treatment. Galen (2nd century AD) disagreed with the use of surgery and recommended purgatives instead. These recommendations largely stood for 1000 years.
In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, it became acceptable for doctors to dissect bodies to discover the cause of death. The German professor Wilhelm Fabry believed that breast cancer was caused by a milk clot in a mammary duct. The Dutch professor Francois de la Boe Sylvius, a follower of Descartes, believed that all disease was the outcome of chemical processes and that acidic lymph fluid was the cause of cancer. His contemporary Nicolaes Tulp believed that cancer was a poison that slowly spreads and concluded that it was contagious.
The physician John Hill described tobacco snuff as the cause of nose cancer in 1761. This was followed by the report in 1775 by British surgeon Percivall Pott that chimney sweeps' carcinoma, a cancer of the scrotum, was a common disease among chimney sweeps. With the widespread use of the microscope in the 18th century, it was discovered that the 'cancer poison' spread from the primary tumor through the lymph nodes to other sites ("metastasis"). This view of the disease was first formulated by the English surgeon Campbell De Morgan between 1871 and 1874.
Although many diseases (such as heart failure) may have a worse prognosis than most cases of cancer, cancer is the subject of widespread fear and taboos. The euphemism of "a long illness" to describe cancers leading to death is still commonly used in obituaries, rather than naming the disease explicitly, reflecting an apparent stigma. In Nigeria, one local name for cancer translates into English as "the disease that cannot be cured". This deep belief that cancer is necessarily a difficult and usually deadly disease is reflected in the systems chosen by society to compile cancer statistics: the most common form of cancer—non-melanoma skin cancers, accounting for about one-third of cancer cases worldwide, but very few deaths—are excluded from cancer statistics specifically because they are easily treated and almost always cured, often in a single, short, outpatient procedure.
Western conceptions of patients' rights for people with cancer include a duty to fully disclose the medical situation to the person, and the right to engage in shared decision-making in a way that respects the person's own values. In other cultures, other rights and values are preferred. For example, most African cultures value whole families rather than individualism. In parts of Africa, a diagnosis is commonly made so late that cure is not possible, and treatment, if available at all, would quickly bankrupt the family. As a result of these factors, African healthcare providers tend to let family members decide whether, when and how to disclose the diagnosis, and they tend to do so slowly and circuitously, as the person shows interest and an ability to cope with the grim news. People from Asian and South American countries also tend to prefer a slower, less candid approach to disclosure than is idealized in the United States and Western Europe, and they believe that sometimes it would be preferable not to be told about a cancer diagnosis. In general, disclosure of the diagnosis is more common than it was in the 20th century, but full disclosure of the prognosis is not offered to many patients around the world.
In the United States and some other cultures, cancer is regarded as a disease that must be "fought" to end the "civil insurrection"; a War on Cancer was declared in the US. Military metaphors are particularly common in descriptions of cancer's human effects, and they emphasize both the state of the patient's health and the need to take immediate, decisive actions himself rather than to delay, to ignore or to rely entirely on others. The military metaphors also help rationalize radical, destructive treatments.
In the 1970s, a relatively popular alternative cancer treatment in the US was a specialized form of talk therapy, based on the idea that cancer was caused by a bad attitude. People with a "cancer personality"—depressed, repressed, self-loathing and afraid to express their emotions—were believed to have manifested cancer through subconscious desire. Some psychotherapists said that treatment to change the patient's outlook on life would cure the cancer. Among other effects, this belief allowed society to blame the victim for having caused the cancer (by "wanting" it) or having prevented its cure (by not becoming a sufficiently happy, fearless and loving person). It also increased patients' anxiety, as they incorrectly believed that natural emotions of sadness, anger or fear shorten their lives. The idea was ridiculed by Susan Sontag, who published Illness as Metaphor while recovering from treatment for breast cancer in 1978. Although the original idea is now generally regarded as nonsense, the idea partly persists in a reduced form with a widespread, but incorrect, belief that deliberately cultivating a habit of positive thinking will increase survival. This notion is particularly strong in breast cancer culture.
One idea about why people with cancer are blamed or stigmatized, called the just-world hypothesis, is that blaming cancer on the patient's actions or attitudes allows the blamers to regain a sense of control. This is based upon the blamers' belief that the world is fundamentally just and so any dangerous illness, like cancer, must be a type of punishment for bad choices, because in a just world, bad things would not happen to good people.
The total health care expenditure on cancer in the US was estimated to be $80.2 billion in 2015. Even though cancer-related health care expenditure have increased in absolute terms during recent decades, the share of health expenditure devoted to cancer treatment has remained close to 5% between the 1960s and 2004. A similar pattern has been observed in Europe where about 6% of all health care expenditure are spent on cancer treatment. In addition to health care expenditure, cancer causes indirect costs in terms of productivity losses due to lost work days and premature death, as well as informal care. Indirect costs are typically estimated to exceed the health care costs of cancer.
In the United States, cancer is included as a protected condition by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), mainly due to the potential for cancer having discriminating effects on workers. Discrimination in the workplace could occur if an employer holds a false belief that a person with cancer is not capable of doing a job properly, and may ask for more sick leave than other employees. Employers may also make hiring or firing decisions based on misconceptions about cancer disabilities, if present. The EEOC provides interview guidelines for employers, as well as lists of possible solutions for assessing and accommodating employees with cancer.
Because cancer is a class of diseases, it is unlikely that there will ever be a single "cure for cancer" any more than there will be a single treatment for all infectious diseases. Angiogenesis inhibitors were once incorrectly thought to have potential as a "silver bullet" treatment applicable to many types of cancer. Angiogenesis inhibitors and other cancer therapeutics are used in combination to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality.
Experimental cancer treatments are studied in clinical trials to compare the proposed treatment to the best existing treatment. Treatments that succeeded in one cancer type can be tested against other types. Diagnostic tests are under development to better target the right therapies to the right patients, based on their individual biology.
Cancer research focuses on the following issues:
The improved understanding of molecular biology and cellular biology due to cancer research has led to new treatments for cancer since US President Richard Nixon declared the "War on Cancer" in 1971. Since then, the country has spent over $200 billion on cancer research, including resources from public and private sectors. The cancer death rate (adjusting for size and age of the population) declined by five percent between 1950 and 2005.
Competition for financial resources appears to have suppressed the creativity, cooperation, risk-taking and original thinking required to make fundamental discoveries, unduly favoring low-risk research into small incremental advancements over riskier, more innovative research. Other consequences of competition appear to be many studies with dramatic claims whose results cannot be replicated and perverse incentives that encourage grantee institutions to grow without making sufficient investments in their own faculty and facilities.
Virotherapy, which uses convert viruses, is being studied.
Cancer affects approximately 1 in 1,000 pregnant women. The most common cancers found during pregnancy are the same as the most common cancers found in non-pregnant women during childbearing ages: breast cancer, cervical cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, melanoma, ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer.
Diagnosing a new cancer in a pregnant woman is difficult, in part because any symptoms are commonly assumed to be a normal discomfort associated with pregnancy. As a result, cancer is typically discovered at a somewhat later stage than average. Some imaging procedures, such as MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), CT scans, ultrasounds and mammograms with fetal shielding are considered safe during pregnancy; some others, such as PET scans, are not.
Treatment is generally the same as for non-pregnant women. However, radiation and radioactive drugs are normally avoided during pregnancy, especially if the fetal dose might exceed 100 cGy. In some cases, some or all treatments are postponed until after birth if the cancer is diagnosed late in the pregnancy. Early deliveries are often used to advance the start of treatment. Surgery is generally safe, but pelvic surgeries during the first trimester may cause miscarriage. Some treatments, especially certain chemotherapy drugs given during the first trimester, increase the risk of birth defects and pregnancy loss (spontaneous abortions and stillbirths).
Elective abortions are not required and, for the most common forms and stages of cancer, do not improve the mother's survival. In a few instances, such as advanced uterine cancer, the pregnancy cannot be continued and in others, the patient may end the pregnancy so that she can begin aggressive chemotherapy.
Some treatments can interfere with the mother's ability to give birth vaginally or to breastfeed. Cervical cancer may require birth by Caesarean section. Radiation to the breast reduces the ability of that breast to produce milk and increases the risk of mastitis. Also, when chemotherapy is given after birth, many of the drugs appear in breast milk, which could harm the baby.
Veterinary oncology, concentrating mainly on cats and dogs, is a growing specialty in wealthy countries and the major forms of human treatment such as surgery and radiotherapy may be offered. The most common types of cancer differ, but the cancer burden seems at least as high in pets as in humans. Animals, typically rodents, are often used in cancer research and studies of natural cancers in larger animals may benefit research into human cancer.
In non-humans, a few types of transmissible cancer have been described, wherein the cancer spreads between animals by transmission of the tumor cells themselves. This phenomenon is seen in dogs with Sticker's sarcoma (also known as canine transmissible venereal tumor), and in Tasmanian devils with devil facial tumour disease (DFTD).
The term environment refers not only to air, water, and soil but also to substances and conditions at home and at the workplace, including diet, smoking, alcohol, drugs, exposure to chemicals, sunlight, ionizing radiation, electromagnetic fields, infectious agents, etc. Lifestyle, economic and behavioral factors are all aspects of our environment.
A certain irreducible background incidence of cancer is to be expected regardless of circumstances: mutations can never be absolutely avoided, because they are an inescapable consequence of fundamental limitations on the accuracy of DNA replication, as discussed in Chapter 5. If a human could live long enough, it is inevitable that at least one of his or her cells would eventually accumulate a set of mutations sufficient for cancer to develop.
Breast cancer is cancer that develops from breast tissue. Signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid coming from the nipple, a newly inverted nipple, or a red or scaly patch of skin. In those with distant spread of the disease, there may be bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath, or yellow skin.Risk factors for developing breast cancer include being female, obesity, lack of physical exercise, drinking alcohol, hormone replacement therapy during menopause, ionizing radiation, early age at first menstruation, having children late or not at all, older age, prior history of breast cancer, and family history. About 5–10% of cases are due to genes inherited from a person's parents, including BRCA1 and BRCA2 among others. Breast cancer most commonly develops in cells from the lining of milk ducts and the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers developing from the ducts are known as ductal carcinomas, while those developing from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas. In addition, there are more than 18 other sub-types of breast cancer. Some cancers, such as ductal carcinoma in situ, develop from pre-invasive lesions. The diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed by taking a biopsy of the concerning lump. Once the diagnosis is made, further tests are done to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the breast and which treatments are most likely to be effective.The balance of benefits versus harms of breast cancer screening is controversial. A 2013 Cochrane review stated that it is unclear if mammographic screening does more good or harm. A 2009 review for the US Preventive Services Task Force found evidence of benefit in those 40 to 70 years of age, and the organization recommends screening every two years in women 50 to 74 years old. The medications tamoxifen or raloxifene may be used in an effort to prevent breast cancer in those who are at high risk of developing it. Surgical removal of both breasts is another preventative measure in some high risk women. In those who have been diagnosed with cancer, a number of treatments may be used, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. Types of surgery vary from breast-conserving surgery to mastectomy. Breast reconstruction may take place at the time of surgery or at a later date. In those in whom the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, treatments are mostly aimed at improving quality of life and comfort.Outcomes for breast cancer vary depending on the cancer type, extent of disease, and person's age. Survival rates in the developed world are high, with between 80% and 90% of those in England and the United States alive for at least 5 years. In developing countries survival rates are poorer. Worldwide, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women, accounting for 25% of all cases. In 2012 it resulted in 1.68 million new cases and 522,000 deaths. It is more common in developed countries and is more than 100 times more common in women than in men.Cancer (astrology)
Cancer (♋️) is the fourth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Cancer.
It spans from 90° to 120° celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area between approximately June 21 and July 23, and under the sidereal zodiac, the Sun transits this area between approximately July 21 and August 9.In astrology, Cancer is the cardinal sign of the Water trigon, which is made up of Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio. It is one of the six negative signs. Though some depictions of Cancer feature a lobster, the sign is most often represented by the crab, based on the Karkinos, a giant crab that harassed Heracles during his fight with the Hydra.Cancer staging
Cancer staging is the process of determining the extent to which a cancer has developed by growing and spreading. Contemporary practice is to assign a number from I to IV to a cancer, with I being an isolated cancer and IV being a cancer which has spread to the limit of what the assessment measures. The stage generally takes into account the size of a tumor, whether it has invaded adjacent organs, how many regional (nearby) lymph nodes it has spread to (if any), and whether it has appeared in more distant locations (metastasized).Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy (often abbreviated to chemo and sometimes CTX or CTx) is a type of cancer treatment that uses one or more anti-cancer drugs (chemotherapeutic agents) as part of a standardized chemotherapy regimen. Chemotherapy may be given with a curative intent (which almost always involves combinations of drugs), or it may aim to prolong life or to reduce symptoms (palliative chemotherapy). Chemotherapy is one of the major categories of the medical discipline specifically devoted to pharmacotherapy for cancer, which is called medical oncology.
The term chemotherapy has come to connote non-specific usage of intracellular poisons to inhibit mitosis, cell division. The connotation excludes more selective agents that block extracellular signals (signal transduction). The development of therapies with specific molecular or genetic targets, which inhibit growth-promoting signals from classic endocrine hormones (primarily estrogens for breast cancer and androgens for prostate cancer) are now called hormonal therapies. By contrast, other inhibitions of growth-signals like those associated with receptor tyrosine kinases are referred to as targeted therapy.
Importantly, the use of drugs (whether chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or targeted therapy) constitutes systemic therapy for cancer in that they are introduced into the blood stream and are therefore in principle able to address cancer at any anatomic location in the body. Systemic therapy is often used in conjunction with other modalities that constitute local therapy (i.e. treatments whose efficacy is confined to the anatomic area where they are applied) for cancer such as radiation therapy, surgery or hyperthermia therapy.
Traditional chemotherapeutic agents are cytotoxic by means of interfering with cell division (mitosis) but cancer cells vary widely in their susceptibility to these agents. To a large extent, chemotherapy can be thought of as a way to damage or stress cells, which may then lead to cell death if apoptosis is initiated. Many of the side effects of chemotherapy can be traced to damage to normal cells that divide rapidly and are thus sensitive to anti-mitotic drugs: cells in the bone marrow, digestive tract and hair follicles. This results in the most common side-effects of chemotherapy: myelosuppression (decreased production of blood cells, hence also immunosuppression), mucositis (inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract), and alopecia (hair loss). Because of the effect on immune cells (especially lymphocytes), chemotherapy drugs often find use in a host of diseases that result from harmful overactivity of the immune system against self (so-called autoimmunity). These include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, vasculitis and many others.Colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel cancer and colon cancer, is the development of cancer from the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine). A cancer is the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Signs and symptoms may include blood in the stool, a change in bowel movements, weight loss, and feeling tired all the time.Most colorectal cancers are due to old age and lifestyle factors, with only a small number of cases due to underlying genetic disorders. Other risk factors include diet, obesity, smoking, and lack of physical activity. Dietary factors that increase the risk include red meat, processed meat, and alcohol. Another risk factor is inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Some of the inherited genetic disorders that can cause colorectal cancer include familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer; however, these represent less than 5% of cases. It typically starts as a benign tumor, often in the form of a polyp, which over time becomes cancerous.Bowel cancer may be diagnosed by obtaining a sample of the colon during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. This is then followed by medical imaging to determine if the disease has spread. Screening is effective for preventing and decreasing deaths from colorectal cancer. Screening, by one of a number of methods, is recommended starting from the age of 50 to 75. During colonoscopy, small polyps may be removed if found. If a large polyp or tumor is found, a biopsy may be performed to check if it is cancerous. Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs decrease the risk. Their general use is not recommended for this purpose, however, due to side effects.Treatments used for colorectal cancer may include some combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Cancers that are confined within the wall of the colon may be curable with surgery, while cancer that has spread widely are usually not curable, with management being directed towards improving quality of life and symptoms. The five-year survival rate in the United States is around 65%. The individual likelihood of survival depends on how advanced the cancer is, whether or not all the cancer can be removed with surgery and the person's overall health. Globally, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer, making up about 10% of all cases. In 2012, there were 1.4 million new cases and 694,000 deaths from the disease. It is more common in developed countries, where more than 65% of cases are found. It is less common in women than men.Deaths in 2019
The following deaths of notable individuals occurred in 2019. Names are reported under the date of death, in alphabetical order by surname or pseudonym.
A typical entry reports information in the following sequence:
Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent nationality (if applicable), what subject was noted for, cause of death (if known), and reference.Esophageal cancer
Esophageal cancer is cancer arising from the esophagus—the food pipe that runs between the throat and the stomach. Symptoms often include difficulty in swallowing and weight loss. Other symptoms may include pain when swallowing, a hoarse voice, enlarged lymph nodes ("glands") around the collarbone, a dry cough, and possibly coughing up or vomiting blood.The two main sub-types of the disease are esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma (often abbreviated to ESCC), which is more common in the developing world, and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), which is more common in the developed world. A number of less common types also occur. Squamous-cell carcinoma arises from the epithelial cells that line the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma arises from glandular cells present in the lower third of the esophagus, often where they have already transformed to intestinal cell type (a condition known as Barrett's esophagus). Causes of the squamous-cell type include tobacco, alcohol, very hot drinks, poor diet, and chewing betel nut. The most common causes of the adenocarcinoma type are smoking tobacco, obesity, and acid reflux.The disease is diagnosed by biopsy done by an endoscope (a fiberoptic camera). Prevention includes stopping smoking and eating a healthy diet. Treatment is based on the cancer's stage and location, together with the person's general condition and individual preferences. Small localized squamous-cell cancers may be treated with surgery alone with the hope of a cure. In most other cases, chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy is used along with surgery. Larger tumors may have their growth slowed with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In the presence of extensive disease or if the affected person is not fit enough to undergo surgery, palliative care is often recommended.As of 2012, esophageal cancer was the eighth-most common cancer globally with 456,000 new cases during the year. It caused about 400,000 deaths that year, up from 345,000 in 1990. Rates vary widely among countries, with about half of all cases occurring in China. It is around three times more common in men than in women. Outcomes are related to the extent of the disease and other medical conditions, but generally tend to be fairly poor, as diagnosis is often late. Five-year survival rates are around 13% to 18%.John Wayne
Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed 'Duke', was an American actor, filmmaker and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. He was among the top box office draws for three decades.Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa but grew up in Southern California. He was president of Glendale High School class of 1925. He found work at local film studios when he lost his football scholarship to the University of Southern California as a result of a bodysurfing accident, initially working for the Fox Film Corporation. He appeared mostly in bit parts, but his first leading role came in Raoul Walsh's Western The Big Trail (1930), an early widescreen film epic which was a box-office failure. Only leading roles in numerous B movies followed during the 1930s, most of them also Westerns.
Wayne's career was rejuvenated when John Ford's Stagecoach (1939) made him an instant mainstream star. He starred in 142 motion pictures altogether, including the dozens with his name above the title produced before 1939. According to one biographer, "John Wayne personified for millions the nation's frontier heritage. Eighty-three of his movies were Westerns, and in them he played cowboys, cavalrymen, and unconquerable loners extracted from the Republic's central creation myth."Wayne's other roles in Westerns include a cattleman driving his herd on the Chisholm Trail in Red River (1948), a Civil War veteran whose niece is abducted by a tribe of Comanches in The Searchers (1956), a troubled rancher competing with a lawyer (James Stewart) for a woman's hand in marriage in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), and a cantankerous one-eyed marshal in True Grit (1969). He is also remembered for his roles in The Quiet Man (1952), Rio Bravo (1959) with Dean Martin, and The Longest Day (1962). In his final screen performance, he starred as an aging gunfighter battling cancer in The Shootist (1976). He appeared with many important Hollywood stars of his era, and made his last public appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony on April 9, 1979.Leukemia
Leukemia, also spelled leukaemia, that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal blood cells. These blood cells are not fully developed and are called blasts or leukemia cells. Symptoms may include bleeding and bruising problems, feeling tired, fever, and an increased risk of infections. These symptoms occur due to a lack of normal blood cells. Diagnosis is typically made by blood tests or bone marrow biopsy.The exact cause of leukemia is unknown. A combination of genetic factors and environmental (non-inherited) factors are believed to play a role. Risk factors include smoking, ionizing radiation, some chemicals (such as benzene), prior chemotherapy, and Down syndrome. People with a family history of leukemia are also at higher risk. There are four main types of leukemia—acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)—as well as a number of less common types. Leukemias and lymphomas both belong to a broader group of tumors that affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymphoid system, known as tumors of the hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues.Treatment may involve some combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and bone marrow transplant, in addition to supportive care and palliative care as needed. Certain types of leukemia may be managed with watchful waiting. The success of treatment depends on the type of leukemia and the age of the person. Outcomes have improved in the developed world. The average five-year survival rate is 57% in the United States. In children under 15, the five-year survival rate is greater than 60 to 85%, depending on the type of leukemia. In children with acute leukemia who are cancer-free after five years, the cancer is unlikely to return.In 2015, leukemia was present in 2.3 million people and caused 353,500 deaths. In 2012 it newly developed in 352,000 people. It is the most common type of cancer in children, with three quarters of leukemia cases in children being the acute lymphoblastic type. However, about 90% of all leukemias are diagnosed in adults, with AML and CLL being most common in adults. It occurs more commonly in the developed world.Lung cancer
Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is a malignant lung tumor characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. This growth can spread beyond the lung by the process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in the lung, known as primary lung cancers, are carcinomas. The two main types are small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The most common symptoms are coughing (including coughing up blood), weight loss, shortness of breath, and chest pains.The vast majority (85%) of cases of lung cancer are due to long-term tobacco smoking. About 10–15% of cases occur in people who have never smoked. These cases are often caused by a combination of genetic factors and exposure to radon gas, asbestos, second-hand smoke, or other forms of air pollution. Lung cancer may be seen on chest radiographs and computed tomography (CT) scans. The diagnosis is confirmed by biopsy which is usually performed by bronchoscopy or CT-guidance.Avoidance of risk factors, including smoking and air pollution, is the primary method of prevention. Treatment and long-term outcomes depend on the type of cancer, the stage (degree of spread), and the person's overall health. Most cases are not curable. Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. NSCLC is sometimes treated with surgery, whereas SCLC usually responds better to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.Worldwide in 2012, lung cancer occurred in 1.8 million people and resulted in 1.6 million deaths. This makes it the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and second most common in women after breast cancer. The most common age at diagnosis is 70 years. Overall, 17.4% of people in the United States diagnosed with lung cancer survive five years after the diagnosis, while outcomes on average are worse in the developing world.Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a group of blood cancers that develop from lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). The name often refers to just the cancerous versions rather than all such tumors. Signs and symptoms may include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, drenching sweats, unintended weight loss, itching, and constantly feeling tired. The enlarged lymph nodes are usually painless. The sweats are most common at night.There are many subtypes of lymphomas. The two main categories of lymphomas are Hodgkin's lymphomas (HL) and the non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). The World Health Organization (WHO) includes two other categories as types of lymphoma: multiple myeloma and immunoproliferative diseases. About 90% of lymphomas are non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Lymphomas and leukemias are a part of the broader group of tumors of the hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues.Risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma include infection with Epstein–Barr virus and a history of the disease in the family. Risk factors for common types of non-Hodgkin lymphomas include autoimmune diseases, HIV/AIDS, infection with human T-lymphotropic virus, immunosuppressant medications, and some pesticides. Eating large amounts of red meat and tobacco smoking may also increase the risk. Diagnosis, if enlarged lymph nodes are present, is usually by lymph node biopsy. Blood, urine, and bone marrow testing may also be useful in the diagnosis. Medical imaging may then be done to determine if and where the cancer has spread. Lymphoma most often spreads to the lungs, liver, and brain.
Treatment may involve one or more of the following: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and surgery. In some non-Hodgkin lymphomas, an increased amount of protein produced by the lymphoma cells causes the blood to become so thick that plasmapheresis is performed to remove the protein. Watchful waiting may be appropriate for certain types. The outcome depends on the subtype with some being curable and treatment prolonging survival in most. The five-year survival rate in the United States for all Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes is 85%, while that for non-Hodgkin lymphomas is 69%. Worldwide, lymphomas developed in 566,000 people in 2012 and caused 305,000 deaths. They make up 3–4% of all cancers, making them as a group the seventh-most common form. In children, they are the third-most common cancer. They occur more often in the developed world than the developing world.Metastasis
Metastasis is a pathogenic agent's spread from an initial or primary site to a different or secondary site within the host's body; it is typically spoken of as such spread by a cancerous tumor. The newly pathological sites, then, are metastases (mets). It is generally distinguished from cancer invasion, which is the direct extension and penetration by cancer cells into neighboring tissues.Cancer occurs after cells are genetically altered to proliferate rapidly and indefinitely. This uncontrolled proliferation by mitosis produces a primary heterogeneic tumour. The cells which constitute the tumor eventually undergo metaplasia, followed by dysplasia then anaplasia, resulting in a malignant phenotype. This malignancy allows for invasion into the circulation, followed by invasion to a second site for tumorigenesis.
Some cancer cells known as circulating tumor cells acquire the ability to penetrate the walls of lymphatic or blood vessels, after which they are able to circulate through the bloodstream to other sites and tissues in the body. This process is known (respectively) as lymphatic or hematogenous spread. After the tumor cells come to rest at another site, they re-penetrate the vessel or walls and continue to multiply, eventually forming another clinically detectable tumor. This new tumor is known as a metastatic (or secondary) tumor. Metastasis is one of the hallmarks of cancer, distinguishing it from benign tumors. Most cancers can metastasize, although in varying degrees. Basal cell carcinoma for example rarely metastasizes.When tumor cells metastasize, the new tumor is called a secondary or metastatic tumor, and its cells are similar to those in the original or primary tumor. This means that if breast cancer metastasizes to the lungs, the secondary tumor is made up of abnormal breast cells, not of abnormal lung cells. The tumor in the lung is then called metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer. Metastasis is a key element in cancer staging systems such as the TNM staging system, where it represents the "M". In overall stage grouping, metastasis places a cancer in Stage IV. The possibilities of curative treatment are greatly reduced, or often entirely removed, when a cancer has metastasized.Neoplasm
A neoplasm is a type of abnormal and excessive growth, called neoplasia, of tissue. The growth of a neoplasm is uncoordinated with that of the normal surrounding tissue, and it persists growing abnormally, even if the original trigger is removed. This abnormal growth usually (but not always) forms a mass. When it forms a mass, it may be called a tumor.
ICD-10 classifies neoplasms into four main groups: benign neoplasms, in situ neoplasms, malignant neoplasms, and neoplasms of uncertain or unknown behavior. Malignant neoplasms are also simply known as cancers and are the focus of oncology.
Prior to the abnormal growth of tissue, as neoplasia, cells often undergo an abnormal pattern of growth, such as metaplasia or dysplasia. However, metaplasia or dysplasia does not always progress to neoplasia. The word is from Ancient Greek νέος- neo ("new") and πλάσμα plasma ("formation", "creation").Oncology
Oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. A medical professional who practices oncology is an oncologist. The name's etymological origin is the Greek word ὄγκος (ónkos), meaning "tumor", "volume" or "mass" and the word λόγος (logos), meaning "study".Cancer survival has improved due to three main components including improved prevention efforts to reduce exposure to risk factors (e.g., tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption), improved screening of several cancers (allowing for earlier diagnosis), and improvements in treatment.Cancers are often managed through discussion on multi-disciplinary cancer conferences where medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and organ specific oncologists meet to find the best possible management for an individual patient considering the physical, social, psychological, emotional, and financial status of the patient. It is very important for oncologists to keep updated with respect to the latest advancements in oncology, as changes in management of cancer are quite common.Pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer arises when cells in the pancreas, a glandular organ behind the stomach, begin to multiply out of control and form a mass. These cancerous cells have the ability to invade other parts of the body. There are a number of types of pancreatic cancer. The most common, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, accounts for about 85% of cases, and the term "pancreatic cancer" is sometimes used to refer only to that type. These adenocarcinomas start within the part of the pancreas which makes digestive enzymes. Several other types of cancer, which collectively represent the majority of the non-adenocarcinomas, can also arise from these cells. One to two percent of cases of pancreatic cancer are neuroendocrine tumors, which arise from the hormone-producing cells of the pancreas. These are generally less aggressive than pancreatic adenocarcinoma.Signs and symptoms of the most common form of pancreatic cancer may include yellow skin, abdominal or back pain, unexplained weight loss, light-colored stools, dark urine and loss of appetite. There are usually no symptoms in the disease's early stages, and symptoms that are specific enough to suggest pancreatic cancer typically do not develop until the disease has reached an advanced stage. By the time of diagnosis, pancreatic cancer has often spread to other parts of the body.Pancreatic cancer rarely occurs before the age of 40, and more than half of cases of pancreatic adenocarcinoma occur in those over 70. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include tobacco smoking, obesity, diabetes, and certain rare genetic conditions. About 25% of cases are linked to smoking, and 5–10% are linked to inherited genes. Pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed by a combination of medical imaging techniques such as ultrasound or computed tomography, blood tests, and examination of tissue samples (biopsy). The disease is divided into stages, from early (stage I) to late (stage IV). Screening the general population has not been found to be effective.The risk of developing pancreatic cancer is lower among non-smokers, and people who maintain a healthy weight and limit their consumption of red or processed meat. A smoker's chance of developing the disease decreases if they stop smoking and almost returns to that of the rest of the population after 20 years. Pancreatic cancer can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, palliative care, or a combination of these. Treatment options are partly based on the cancer stage. Surgery is the only treatment that can cure pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and may also be done to improve quality of life without the potential for cure. Pain management and medications to improve digestion are sometimes needed. Early palliative care is recommended even for those receiving treatment that aims for a cure.In 2015, pancreatic cancers of all types resulted in 411,600 deaths globally. Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of death from cancer in the United Kingdom, and the fourth most common in the United States. The disease occurs most often in the developed world, where about 70% of the new cases in 2012 originated. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma typically has a very poor prognosis: after diagnosis, 25% of people survive one year and 5% live for five years. For cancers diagnosed early, the five-year survival rate rises to about 20%. Neuroendocrine cancers have better outcomes; at five years from diagnosis, 65% of those diagnosed are living, though survival varies considerably depending on the type of tumor.Patrick Swayze
Patrick Wayne Swayze (; August 18, 1952 – September 14, 2009) was an American actor, dancer, singer, and songwriter. Having gained fame with appearances in films during the 1980s, he became popular for playing tough guys and romantic lead males, gaining him a wide fan base with female audiences, and status as a teen idol and sex symbol. He was named by People magazine as its Sexiest Man Alive in 1991.
During his career Swayze received three Golden Globe Award nominations, for Dirty Dancing (1987), Ghost (1990), and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995). His other films included The Outsiders (1983), Road House (1989), and Point Break (1991). He wrote and recorded the popular song "She's Like the Wind". He was posthumously awarded the Rolex Dance Award in 2009.Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the development of cancer in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some grow relatively quickly. The cancer cells may spread from the prostate to other areas of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. It may initially cause no symptoms. In later stages, it can lead to difficulty urinating, blood in the urine or pain in the pelvis, back, or when urinating. A disease known as benign prostatic hyperplasia may produce similar symptoms. Other late symptoms may include feeling tired due to low levels of red blood cells.Factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer include older age, a family history of the disease, and race. About 99% of cases occur in males over the age of 50. Having a first-degree relative with the disease increases the risk two to threefold. In the United States, it is more common in the African American population than the White American population. Other factors that may be involved include a diet high in processed meat, red meat or milk products or low in certain vegetables. An association with gonorrhea has been found, but a reason for this relationship has not been identified. An increased risk is associated with the BRCA mutations. Prostate cancer is diagnosed by biopsy. Medical imaging may then be done to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.Prostate cancer screening is controversial. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing increases cancer detection, but it is controversial regarding whether it improves outcomes. Informed decision making is recommended when it comes to screening among those 55 to 69 years old. Testing, if carried out, is more reasonable in those with a longer life expectancy. While 5α-reductase inhibitors appear to decrease low-grade cancer risk, they do not affect high-grade cancer risk and thus are not recommended for prevention. Supplementation with vitamins or minerals does not appear to affect the risk.Many cases are managed with active surveillance or watchful waiting. Other treatments may include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or chemotherapy. When it only occurs inside the prostate, it may be curable. In those in whom the disease has spread to the bones, pain medications, bisphosphonates and targeted therapy, among others, may be useful. Outcomes depend on a person's age and other health problems as well as how aggressive and extensive the cancer is. Most men with prostate cancer do not end up dying from the disease. The 5-year survival rate in the United States is 99%. Globally, it is the second most common type of cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in men. In 2012, it occurred in 1.1 million men and caused 307,000 deaths. It was the most common cancer in males in 84 countries, occurring more commonly in the developed world. Rates have been increasing in the developing world. Detection increased significantly in the 1980s and 1990s in many areas due to increased PSA testing. Studies of males who died from unrelated causes have found prostate cancer in 30% to 70% of those over age 60.Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), also known as epidermoid carcinomas, comprise a number of different types of cancer that result from squamous cells. These cells form the surface of the skin and lining of hollow organs in the body and line the respiratory and digestive tracts.Common types include:
Squamous cell skin cancer: A type of skin cancer
Squamous-cell carcinoma of the lung: A type of lung cancer
Squamous cell thyroid carcinoma: A type of thyroid cancer
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: A type of esophageal cancer
Squamous-cell carcinoma of the vagina: A type of vaginal cancerDespite sharing the name "squamous cell carcinoma", the SCCs of different body sites can show differences in their presented symptoms, natural history, prognosis, and response to treatment.Stomach cancer
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a cancer which develops from the lining of the stomach. Early symptoms may include heartburn, upper abdominal pain, nausea and loss of appetite. Later signs and symptoms may include weight loss, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and blood in the stool among others. The cancer may spread from the stomach to other parts of the body, particularly the liver, lungs, bones, lining of the abdomen and lymph nodes.The most common cause is infection by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which accounts for more than 60% of cases. Certain types of H. pylori have greater risks than others. Smoking, dietary factors such as pickled vegetables and obesity are other risk factors. About 10% of cases run in families, and between 1% and 3% of cases are due to genetic syndromes inherited from a person's parents such as hereditary diffuse gastric cancer. Most cases of stomach cancers are gastric carcinomas. This type can be divided into a number of subtypes. Lymphomas and mesenchymal tumors may also develop in the stomach. Most of the time, stomach cancer develops in stages over years. Diagnosis is usually by biopsy done during endoscopy. This is followed by medical imaging to determine if the disease has spread to other parts of the body. Japan and South Korea, two countries that have high rates of the disease, screen for stomach cancer.A Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of cancer as does the stopping of smoking. There is tentative evidence that treating H. pylori decreases the future risk. If cancer is treated early, many cases can be cured. Treatments may include some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy. If treated late, palliative care may be advised. Outcomes are often poor with a less than 10% five-year survival rate globally. This is largely because most people with the condition present with advanced disease. In the United States, five-year survival is 28%, while in South Korea it is over 65%, partly due to screening efforts.Globally, stomach cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer and the third leading cause of death from cancer, making up 7% of cases and 9% of deaths. In 2012, it newly occurred in 950,000 people and caused 723,000 deaths. Before the 1930s, in much of the world, including most Western developed countries, it was the most common cause of death from cancer. Rates of death have been decreasing in many areas of the world since then. This is believed to be due to the eating of less salted and pickled foods as a result of the development of refrigeration as a method of keeping food fresh. Stomach cancer occurs most commonly in East Asia and Eastern Europe. It occurs twice as often in males as in females.
Cancer-causing materials and agents (carcinogens)
|Prominent human carcinogens|