Cancer Essay, Research Paper
According to Mollet, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Estimates for 1982
indicate that 430,000 Americans will have died of some form of cancer. If national trends continue, some
fifty-three million Americans now alive will contract cancer sometime during their lifetime. Of this inverse
number, approximately one-half will die of cancer despite a medical effort to cure and prevent cancer
Although 45 percent of the detected cases of serious cancer are curable, an increase of 5 percent in the last
ten years, it is obvious that measures can be taken to increase the cure rate and also prevent onset of various
Clark suggested that several types of cancer have cure rates that could improve by detection and treatment
at an early stage before “regional involvement” occurs; that is before the disease spreads to lympnodes
systems in the area of the original tumor. After cancerous cell have dispersed into other regions of the
body, the control or termination of cancer is made more difficult, if not impossible (56).
The Most Prevalent Cancers and Their Causes. Effects, and Cures.
According to Miller, lung cancer was first clearly described about 150 years ago and at the turn of the
century this disease was still considered a rarity. The incidence of this disease has changed dramatically
since then; lung cancer is now the leading cause of death for both men and women. The failure to detect
lung cancer early, however, remains just as dramatically unchanged and the majority of patients with lung
cancer have extensive diseases at the time of diagnosis (77).
Roth states that lung cancer has no specific symptoms and after foreign respiratory elements. In fact, in the
earliest stages of the disease there are usually no symptoms. Only ten per cent of lung cancer patients have
been diagnosed from routine chest x-rays as a part of a physical examination or during the investigation of
another compliant (301).
Dodge asserts that the problem of lung cancer is largely one of prevention and early diagnosis. The
treatment available are most effective when the cancer is small and the individual is still healthy. The
quality and length of life for patients with lung cancer is small and the individual is still healthy. The
quality and length of life for patients with lung cancer have been improved by increased understanding of
the biology of the disease and the valuable information, even the form of negative results, obtained from
experimental programs (15).
According to Brown, approximately 138,000 Americans develop cancer of the large bowel- the lowermost
portion of the gastrointestinal tract, which is made up of the colon and rectum.
Large bowel cancer is a leading cause of death among both sexes, exceeded only by cancer of the lung in
men and of the lung and breast in women. At present half of these patients can expect to be cured, a figure
that could be greatly improved by more diligent attention to established methods of screening for bowel
Anyone with persistent symptoms that could be caused by a problem in the large bowel should see a doctor
promptly. The most common symptom of a large bowel cancer is a change in bowel habits, usually either
diarrhea, which is typical of a rectal cancer, or constipation, which is typical of a cancer in the left colon. If
the tumor has extended beyond the wall of the colon and spread elsewhere in the body, symptoms might
include enlargement of the liver, abdominal bloating, pain in lower neck, as noted earlier, is another
common early symptom, but this is not always apparent without a test for occult, as hidden blood. Any
recent change in bowel habits, as rectal bleeding as lower abdominal pain that does not subside promptly is
a clear indication that medical attention should be sought.
As noted earlier, the present cure rate for colon cancer could be greatly improved by earlier detection and
treatment of the disease . A wide ranging study by the American Cancer concluded that all persons do a
digital rectal examination annually. This examination is easily performed and, while it may be
embarrassing for the patients, it involves no discomfort. The doctor gently inserts a rubber-gloved finger
into the rectum. The doctor can then ascertain the smoothness of the rectal wall surface and, in men, the
size and characteristics of the prostate. At the time of a digital rectal examination, a sample is taken for
chemical testing for occult or hidden blood.
According to Roth the breast is the most common site of cancer in American women today, accounting for
more than one quarter of all cancer cases in women. With about 115,000 new cases each year (150).
A prognosis of breast cancer can be established only from a biopsy and microscopic examination, although
less invasive technique like mammography and palpation may provide valuable information. Several types
of biopsy techniques are used but, increasingly needed aspiration is being recommended for women whose
breast can be examined their way. the technique entail using a hypodermic needle and syringe to reserve a
small piece of tissue from the breast mass which is then examined microscopically.
According to Clark this technique is 96 percent accurate needle biopsy can be performed in a physicians
office or outpatient clinic using only a local astethetic. This technique has several advantages over a
surgical biopsy. It is less costly, does not involve as much discomfort (321).
New knowledge about the way breast cancer develops has prompted a reevaluation of treatment. Some
breast cancer spread so quickly that there are distant metastoser before the local tumor is detectable by any
of our present means.
Surgery remains the most commonly used local treatment and physicians agree that most cases surgery
may offer the least hope for cure, although there are instances in which radiation therapy can produce
equally good results. Radiation therapy is also a local treatment intended to kill cancer that have not been
surgically removed and to halt their spread to other parts of the body. Neither surgery nor radiation therapy
will eradicate those cancer cells that have escaped from the breast through the lymph or blood vessels.
According to Miller most common sites of cancer of the male reproduction system are the prostate, tester
and penis. Each of these cancers has a different pattern of occurrence, and altogether they affect men from
early adulthood to the last decades of life, although much more frequently after age fifty. While prostrate
cancer is among the common cancers in men, penis cancer occurs very rarely in the United States and while
most concern of the reproductive system strike late in life. Testicular cancer is most among men between
the ages of fifteen and thirty four. The possibilities of prevention, detection, and successful treatment vary
according to the type of cancer (514)
The first symptoms of prostate cancer usually include urinary difficulties such as ewal weak as interrupted
flow of urine, inability to urinate, difficulty in starting urination, the need to urine, frequently, blood in the
urine, urine flow which is not easily stopped, and painful or burning sensation when urinating. Back pain is
also a common symptom. Although the onset of obstructive urinary symptoms may be a sign of cancer, in
the most men these symptoms are due to benign condition.
The majority of men with prostate cancer, however, have no symptoms at all, which is why routine rectal
digital examination are ultimately found to be cancer. Although this procedure can not always ensure early
detection of the disease, it remains the most effective test.
In terms of present knowledge, the problem of cancer is largely one of prevention and early diagnosis. the
treatment available are most affected when the cancer is small and the individual is still healthy.
The quality and length of life for patients with cancer have been improved by increased understanding of
the biology of the disease and valuable information. even in the form of negative results, obtained from
experimental treatment programs. The promise of an improved outcome for patients with cancer rest with
application of currently available screening methods along with more intensive use of available diagnostic
methods are capable of detecting cancer in the early stages most treatable stages.
Knowledge gained in the discipline of human cancer genetics reflects a growing consensus about how
particular cancer-causing genes contribute to the overall frequency of cancer in the general population.
cancer risk can be viewed as a contributor of genetic susceptibility and environmental forces. While some
genes are of themselves cancer-causing, must be based on a combination of environmental and an inherited
Brown, Armic C. The Story of Cancer: And its Nature, Causes, and Control. London: Addison,
Clark, Regina. Breast Cancer. New Jersey: Nelson, 1982.
Dodge, Bertha S. Hands That Help. Toronto: Brown, 1976
Mollet, Arthur I. Cancer Book: Prevention, Detection, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care. Gordon:
Miller, Ann. Albestos Exposure. New York: Lorimer, 1976
Roth, Ulayer. Cancer: a Profile of Health and Disease in America. Oxford: Smith, 1987.