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Cancer: What Causes It and What Are the Treatment Options

Cancer is a broad term used to refer to the condition when cells in your body begin to divide uncontrollably. Some forms of cancer cause cells to divide at a much slower rate, while others cause rapid cell growth. 

Most of the cells in your body have particular functions and more or less fixed lifespans, meaning cell death is a natural part of the process. While healthy cells receive instructions to die, cancerous cells don’t, which causes them to build up in your body and use all the nutrition and oxygen that would otherwise nourish your healthy cells. 

What’s most dangerous about cancer is that it can appear in a particular area, and then spread through the lymph nodes to other parts. 

Causes of Cancer

Cancer can be caused by several risk factors, and many of these are easily preventable. Some of the common risk factors are smoking, excess alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, excess body weight, and poor nutrition. 

Certain causes, like age and genetic factors, are not preventable. 

Treatments for Cancer

Fortunately, today, a number of innovative treatments exist for cancer. Doctors prescribe these treatments based on what type of cancer it is, the person’s general health condition, and the stage at diagnosis. A few common treatment options for cancer are:

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy kills cancerous cells with medications. The drugs can help shrink tumors as well. However, people usually have severe side effects to this treatment. 
  • Hormone therapy: This changes the way particular hormones in your body works. This treatment is particularly useful for breast and prostate cancers.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment uses medications to boost the immune system so it can fight cancerous cells. 
  • Radiation therapy: This form of treatment uses high-dose radiations to shrink tumors and kill cancerous cells. 
  • Stem cell transplant: This is especially useful for those who are diagnosed with blood-related cancers like lymphoma and leukemia. It involves removing white and red blood cells that radiation therapy or chemotherapy has destroyed. These cells are then strengthened by lab technicians, after which it is put back into the body. 

Most times, doctors use more than one type of treatment in order to increase the effectiveness of the overall procedure.