Arya Cancer Institute & Research Center

Financially Supported By Om Shri Siddhi Vinayak Foundation

Common Types of Cancer

Some common types of cancers are:

  • Breast cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Development of Cancer

breast-cancerBreast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, being responsible for almost 20 percent of all cancer deaths in women.

Signs and Symptoms: More women are now being diagnosed by means of a routine mammogram. Others may feel a lump in the breast or notice abnormal discharge from the nipple, or feel thickness or swelling of the skin or nipple. It is frequently diagnosed by a physician during a routine breast examination.

Any lump in the breast and any mammogram abnormality must be studied very carefully. If any degree of suspicion exists as to the nature of the lump, it should be biopsied.

Cause : Many factors are known to increase the risk of development of breast cancer. A few genetic markers have been linked to development of breast cancer.

  • History of breast cancer in a first-degree relative
  • History of breast cancer in the same patient, in the opposite breast
  • Onset of menstruation in early ages
  • Late onset of menopause
  • Radiation exposure
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • High fat diet
  • Obesity
  • First pregnancy after age of 30

Treatment: Every breast cancer patient should preferably be seen by a Surgeon, Medical Oncologist, Radiation Oncologist and Plastic Surgeon before anything is done.

brain-cancerBrain Cancer

Primary brain tumor refers to the conditions which originates in brain tissue. Most other cancers have a tendency to metastasize and spread to the brain, and they are referred to as metastatic brain tumors.

Signs and Symptoms:

Symptoms associated with this condition are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Altered mental status
  • Altered speech
  • Visual problems
  • Paralysis

Many factors are known to increase the risk of development of breast cancer. . A few genetic markers have been linked to development of breast cancer.

  • History of breast cancer in a first-degree relative
  • History of breast cancer in the same patient, in the opposite breast
  • Onset of menstruation in early ages
  • Late onset of menopause
  • Radiation exposure
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • High fat diet
  • Obesity
  • First pregnancy after age of 30

Cause: As with tumors elsewhere in the body, the exact cause of most brain tumors is unknown. Genetic factors, various environmental toxins, radiation, and cigarette smoking have all been linked to cancers of the brain, but in most cases, no clear cause can be shown.

The following factors have been proposed as possible risk factors for primary brain tumors. Whether these factors actually increase your risk of a brain tumor is not known for sure.

  • Radiation to the head
  • Certain inherited conditions
  • HIV infection

Treatment: Surgery for removal of the tumor is the most important step for treating brain tumors. Additional radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be indicated in some patients, especially in situations where complete removal of the tumor is not feasible. Most patients are also treated with steroids to reduce swelling of the brain and anti seizure medicines to prevent seizures.

cervical-cancerCervical Cancer

Cervical cancer develops in the lining of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb) that enters the vagina (birth canal).

Signs and Symptoms: Early cervical cancer is often asymptomatic (does not produce symptoms). In women who receive regular screening, the first sign of the disease is usually an abnormal Pap test result. Symptoms that may occur include the following-

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (e.g., spotting after sexual intercourse bleeding between menstrual periods, increased menstrual bleeding)
  • Abnormal (yellow, odorous) vaginal discharge
  • Low back pain
  • Painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Painful urination (dysuria)

Cause: The cause of cervical cancer is unknown. Infection with two types of human papilloma virus (HPV), which is transmitted sexually, is strongly associated with cervical and vulvar cancer and is the primary risk factor. Evidence of HPV is found in nearly 80% of cervical carcinomas.

Treatment: Treatment options depend on the following:

  • The stage of the cancer.
  • The size of the tumor.
  • The patient's desire to have children.
  • The patient’s age.
  • Treatment of cervical cancer during pregnancy depends on the stage of the cancer and the stage of the pregnancy.

lung-cancerLung Cancer

Lung cancer is the second most common malignancy affecting both sexes.

Signs and Symptoms: Patients do not manifest any signs in the very early stages. Coughs, shortness of breath, chest pain or blood in the sputum are among the early warning signs. Other signs of this illness could be a change of voice, hoarseness, weakness, fatigue, and weight loss.

Cause: Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of this disease. Even passive inhalation of the smoke increases the chance of developing this illness. The risk becomes astronomical in exposed individuals who also smoke.

Treatment: The most effective chemotherapy drugs used to treat this condition are VP-16, Carboplatinum, and Cisplatinum. If the disease does not respond to these drugs, there are other drugs that could be used. Radiation therapy may also be administered at the same time as Chemotherapy, or after completion of Chemotherapy.

Oral Cancer

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Patches inside your mouth or on your lips that are white, a mixture of red and white, or red
  • Whie patches (leukoplakia) are the most common. White patches sometimes become malignant.
  • Mixed red and white patches (erythroleukoplakia) are more likely than white patches to become malignant.
  • Red patches (erythroplakia) are brightly colored, smooth areas that often become malignant.
  • A sore on your lip or in your mouth that won't heal Bleeding in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Difficulty wearing dentures
  • A lump in your neck
  • An earache

Cause: Oral cancer is part of a group of cancers called head and neck cancers. Oral cancer can develop in any part of the oral cavity or oropharynx. Most oral cancers begin in the tongue and in the floor of the mouth. Tobacco use accounts for most oral cancers. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes; using chewing tobacco; and dipping snuff are all linked to oral cancer. People who drink alcohol are more likely to develop oral cancer than people who don't drink. The risk increases even more if the person both drinks alcohol and uses tobacco.

Treatment: Many people with oral cancer want to take an active part in making decisions about their medical care. However, shock and stress after the diagnosis can make it hard to think of everything you want to ask the doctor. You may also want to have a family member or friend with you when you talk to the doctor—to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen.

ovarian-cancerOvarian Cancer

This disease is much more common in women over age 50 and after menopause.

Signs and Symptoms: Early stage ovarian cancer produces absolutely no symptoms. Cancer may grow to the size of a grapefruit before it causes a noticeable problem. Any of the following may be an early symptom of this cancer:

  • Urinary frequency
  • Pressure feeling in rectum
  • Abdominal bloating and swelling

Cause: The cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, however, certain factors increase the risk of developing it:

  • High dietary fat
  • Infertility
  • Family history of gynecological cancer
  • Genetic factors

Treatment: Treatment of ovarian cancer is complex and utilizes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery is the most important tool in management of this disease.

Most patients are treated with a combination of Taxol, Cisplatinum or Carboplatinum. Other commonly used drugs are: Cytoxan, Adriamycin, Thiotepa, Melphalan, VP-16, Topotecan. More recently Navelbine has shown activity in treatment of ovarian cancer, especially when combined with other drugs such as Taxol, Ifosfamide, etc.

prostate-cancerProstate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Risk of developing this cancer increases with age and it is more common in men over ages 60-65.

Prostate cancer grows very slowly in older men and does not contribute to the cause of death in majority of cases.

Signs and Symptoms: Patients do not have any signs at very early stages. As the disease progresses, patients may notice any of the following:

  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Burning while passing urine
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Difficulty in starting the urine stream
  • Blood in urine
  • Pain while urinating
  • Bone pain
  • Swelling of legs

Cause: The cause of this cancer is unknown. However, certain factors increase the risk of developing prostate cancer:

  • Increasing age
  • African-American men
  • Family history of prostate cancer
  • High dietary fat
  • Vasectomy
  • Genetic factors
  • Socioeconomic Status
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Occupational exposure to Cadmium Heavy metal
  • Sexual activity and sexually transmitted illnesses

Treatment: Widespread access to PSA testing has lead to detection of many cases of very early stages of prostate cancer. Management of the very early stage prostate cancer remains very controversial and at times challenging.

Cure of prostate cancer may be possible with Surgery in the early stages of the disease, when the disease is localized within the prostate gland itself.

Radiation therapy is a method of choice in individuals who are older and unable to tolerate surgery.

Brach therapy is another form of radiating the prostate gland and uses radioactive needles inside the prostate.

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