Understanding Cancer - CKR Foundation

Understanding Cancer

What is Cancer

Cancer is a condition that arises when alterations in a group of normal cells within the body lead to uncontrolled, abnormal growth forming a lump called tumour. Tumours can develop and spread into surrounding normal tissue or other regions of the body via the bloodstream and lymphatic systems. It can affect the digestive, neurological, and circulatory systems as well as release hormones that can impair bodily function if left untreated.

Types of Cancers

Cancer is categorized based on the type of cell from which it arises. The following are the five primary types:


It is a kind of cancer that develops from epithelial cells (the lining of cells that helps protect or enclose organs). Carcinomas can spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body after invading the surrounding tissues and organs. Breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer are the most frequent cancers in this category.


It is a kind of malignant bone or soft tissue tumor (fat, muscle, blood vessels, nerves, and other connective tissues that support and surround organs). Leiomyosarcoma, liposarcoma, and osteosarcoma are the three most prevalent types of sarcoma.

Lymphoma and Myeloma

Both Lymphoma and Myeloma are malignancies that start in the immune system's cells. Lymphoma is a malignancy of the lymphatic system, which spreads throughout the body and so may affect anyone.


It is a malignancy of the white blood cells and the bone marrow, which produces blood cells. There are numerous subtypes of lymphocytic leukemia, the most frequent of which are lymphocytic leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Brain and Spinal Cord Cancers

These are also identified as central nervous system cancers. Some are harmless, but others have the potential to develop and spread.

Early Detection of Cancer

A variety of cancers can be detected early, which increases the odds of a good treatment result, typically at a cheaper cost and with fewer (or less severe) adverse effects for patients. Colorectal, breast, cervical, and oral cancers can all be detected early with cost-effective tests, and more tests are being developed for other cancers.

Consult your doctor for information on national immunization, testing, and screening guidelines. These can and do differ from one country to the next.

Preventing Cancer

Reduce your exposure to risk factors including cigarettes, obesity, physical inactivity, infections, alcohol, pollution, occupational carcinogens, and radiation to avoid over a third of all cancers.

Vaccination against the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which protect against liver cancer and cervical cancer, respectively, may also be beneficial in the prevention of some malignancies.

Other carcinogens, such as pollution, occupational carcinogens, and radiation, might be reduced to help prevent future cancers.

Causes of Cancer

1. Modifiable risk factors

Alcohol & Tobacco consumption

Sedentary Lifestyle

Infection agents

Lonizing radiation

Workplace hazards

Being overweight or obese

High intake of Red/ processed meats

2. Non-modifiable risk factors

Age – As people get older, several forms of cancer grow more common.

Cancer-Causing Chemicals (carcinogens) – Substances that alter the behavior of cells, raising the risk of cancer.

Genetics – Some people are born with a genetically inherited increased risk of certain cancers (a condition known as “genetic predisposition”).

Immune System – People with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to certain forms of cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

1. Unusual lumps or swelling

2. Coughing, breathlessness, or difficulty swallowing

3. Changes in bowel habit

4. Unexpected bleeding

5. Unexplained weight loss

6. Unexplained or ongoing Fatigue, Pain, or ache

7. A new mole or changes to a mole

8. Complications with urinating

9. Unusual breast changes

10. Appetite loss

11. A sore or ulcer that won’t heal

12. Heartburn or indigestion

13. Heavy night sweats

Cancer Care in times of Covid

Patients with cancer are a vulnerable demographic as they are exposed to a variety of problems during pandemics, including infection susceptibility and disruption of their regular medical care. As a result, healthcare institutions have faced a significant problem in balancing the delivery of continuous cancer care while decreasing the danger of exposure to patients during treatment.

In low and middle-income nations with limited resources, inadequate infrastructure, a paucity of healthcare providers, and a scarcity of medical supplies and personal protective equipment(PPE), the pandemic’s negative impact is likely to disrupt the delivery of critical care.