Cancer awareness through information
East Basildon PCN is passionate about creating cancer awareness for its patients and community.
In this cancer awareness related post, we will be providing information about;
- Organ specific cancers
- Solid-organ cancers
- Haematological cancers
- Specialised treatment approaches
- Different paces of cancer growth
- Understanding the impact of cancer
- The role of staging and grading
Cancer is a complex disease that can affect various organs in the body. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of cancer, including organ-specific cancers, solid-organ cancers, and haematological cancers. We will also discuss the pace of cancer growth and the importance of cancer grading.
Get cancer symptoms checked by your GP
If you suspect that you may have cancer symptoms, contact your GP practice today to get diagnosed and receive early treatment if necessary.
Have a look at the NHS video below to see how these people benefited from contacting their GP practice to book an appointment to discuss their symptoms.
Support in the community
In Basildon, those dealing with cancer are not alone. Below are some organisations that are here to support you through your life dealing with cancer.
If you are a man that needs support, you have come to the right place and will receive help through the Basildon-based charity known as Motivated Minds.
They have a place called The Happy Hub where you can go and seek support and talk to people who are genuinely interested in your health and wellbeing.
There is an event supporting Movember that is being held on Tuesday, the 7th of November 2023 from 12pm to 2pm to discuss prostate cancer awareness.
This event is being supported by Prostate Cancer UK and the NHS.
Even if you miss the event, you can still visit The Happy Hub to discuss your concerns with members of staff who will support you any way possible, or signpost you in the right direction.
To receive excellent mental health support for whatever you are facing in life, visit the Motivated Minds website via this link to learn more about Motivated Minds and The Happy Hub.
If you are concerned that you may have cancer, either visit this link to our self-referral form page or contact your local GP practice in East Basildon via this link to take action today.
Prostate Cancer UK
Prostate Cancer UK is a charity organisation that is strongly committed to the advancement of research aimed at preventing the fatal outcomes caused by prostate cancer in men.
Their substantial financial resources are dedicated to the exploration of improved therapeutic interventions and diagnostic tools capable of early identification of aggressive forms of cancer.
The outcomes of such research hold tremendous potential, as they could be integrated into a comprehensive screening program, ultimately leading to the preservation of numerous precious lives.
One of the defining characteristics of cancer is its association with specific organs in the body. Each type of cancer has unique characteristics and treatment options. Through cancer awareness, understanding the different types of organ-specific cancers is crucial for early detection, diagnosis, and effective treatment.
Brain tumours occur when abnormal cells form a mass in the brain. They can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Symptoms of brain tumours
Common symptoms of brain tumours include headaches, seizures, memory problems, and changes in behaviour or personality.
Treatment options for brain tumours include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Thyroid cancer develops in the cells of the thyroid gland, which is located in the front of the neck.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer
It may cause symptoms such as a lump or swelling in the neck, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or changes in voice.
Treatment for thyroid cancer often involves surgery to remove the thyroid gland, followed by radioactive iodine therapy or targeted drug therapy.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. It occurs when abnormal cells in the breast grow and divide uncontrollably.
Symptoms of breast cancer
Early symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, changes in breast size or shape, nipple discharge, or skin changes.
Treatment options for breast cancer depend on the stage and may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy.
Lung cancer develops in the tissues of the lungs, usually in the cells lining the air passages. It is often associated with smoking but can also occur in non-smokers.
Symptoms of lung cancer
Common symptoms of lung cancer include persistent cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, or unexplained weight loss.
Treatment for lung cancer may involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, or immunotherapy.
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, starts in the cells lining the stomach. It is more common in older adults and can be caused by factors such as infection with Helicobacter pylori, smoking, or a family history of stomach cancer.
Symptoms of stomach cancer
Symptoms of stomach cancer may include abdominal pain, bloating, heartburn, nausea, and unintended weight loss.
Treatment options for stomach cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or targeted therapy.
Uterine cancer, also called endometrial cancer, begins in the lining of the uterus. It is most commonly diagnosed in postmenopausal women but can occur at any age.
Symptoms of uterine cancer
Symptoms of uterine cancer may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, or pain during intercourse.
Treatment for uterine cancer involves surgery to remove the uterus and sometimes other reproductive organs, followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy.
It is important to note that early detection and regular screenings play a crucial role in improving the prognosis of organ-specific cancers.
If you experience any concerning symptoms or have a family history of cancer, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis.
Solid-organ cancers primarily affect organs such as the breast, liver, and intestines. These cancers can arise from the cells within these organs and can have varying degrees of aggressiveness.
Understanding the specific organ affected can help in determining the appropriate treatment approach.
Understanding Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common solid-organ cancers that primarily affects women but can also occur in men. It develops when abnormal cells in the breast tissue start to grow uncontrollably.
Breast cancer can be classified into different subtypes, such as;
- ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
- invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC)
- invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC)
Breast cancer treatment
Treatment options for breast cancer vary depending on the stage and subtype of the cancer. They may include surgery (breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or hormone therapy. Early detection through regular screening is crucial for improving outcomes and reducing the mortality rate.
Understanding Liver Cancer
Liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is a solid-organ cancer that primarily affects the liver.
It usually develops in individuals with chronic liver diseases, such as:
- hepatitis B or C
- alcoholic liver disease
- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Liver cancer can also occur in the absence of any pre-existing liver conditions.
Liver cancer treatment
The treatment options for liver cancer depend on several factors, including the stage of the cancer, the overall health of the patient, and the presence of any underlying liver diseases.
Treatments may include;
- surgery (partial hepatectomy or liver transplant)
- ablation therapy
- radiation therapy
- targeted therapy
In some cases, a combination of treatments may be recommended to improve outcomes.
Understanding Intestinal Cancer
Intestinal cancer refers to cancers that primarily affect the intestines, including the small intestine and the large intestine (colon and rectum). The most common types of intestinal cancer are colorectal cancer and small intestine cancer.
Colorectal cancer generally starts as polyps in the lining of the colon or rectum, which can become cancerous over time. These cancers can be further categorized into colon cancer and rectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer treatment
Treatment options for colorectal cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.
Small intestine cancer is less common than colorectal cancer but can still occur. Treatment options for small intestine cancer are similar to those for colorectal cancer and depend on factors such as the size and location of the tumour, as well as the stage of the cancer.
Solid-organ cancers affecting organs like the breast, liver, and intestines require careful diagnosis, staging, and treatment planning for optimal outcomes.
Understanding the specific organ affected is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment approach.
Breast cancer, liver cancer, and intestinal cancer each have their own unique characteristics and treatment options, which may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or other emerging treatments.
Regular screenings and early detection play a significant role in improving the prognosis and overall survival rates for individuals with solid-organ cancers.
Haematological Cancer Awareness: Understanding the Role of Liquid in Our Body
The human body consists of various systems that work together to maintain health and well-being. One essential system is the haematological system, which includes the blood and the lymphatic system.
Haematological cancers, also known as blood cancers, originate from abnormal cells within these liquid systems. This blog section will delve into the different types of haematological cancers and the specialised treatment approaches used to combat them.
Types of Haematological Cancers
There are several types of haematological cancers, the most common ones being;
- multiple myeloma
Leukemia is a cancer that affects the bone marrow and blood. It occurs when abnormal white blood cells, known as leukocytes, are produced. These abnormal cells crowd out the healthy blood cells, leading to a weakened immune system and other health complications.
Leukaemia can be classified into different types, including;
- acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)
- acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)
- chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)
- chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)
Treatment for leukaemia often involves chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplantation.
Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is responsible for filtering out waste and fighting infections. It is characterised by the abnormal growth of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.
There are two main types of lymphoma:
- Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)
- non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
Treatment for lymphoma may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these approaches. Stem cell transplantation may also be recommended for certain cases.
3. Multiple Myeloma:
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies to fight infections.
In multiple myeloma, abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of healthy blood cells.
This can lead to:
- bone pain
- an increased risk of infections
Multiple myeloma treatment
Treatment options for multiple myeloma include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplantation.
Cancer awareness: Specialised treatment approaches
Haematological cancers require specialised treatment approaches due to their unique nature. Oncologists and haematologists work together to develop personalised treatment plans based on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the individual’s overall health.
Chemotherapy, often referred to as chemo, is a systemic treatment that uses anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body.
It can be administered orally, intravenously, or through injection.
Chemotherapy drugs target and destroy fast-growing cancer cells, but they can also affect healthy cells, leading to side effects such as;
- hair loss
- weakened immune system
2. Radiation Therapy:
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to target and destroy cancer cells. It is often used in conjunction with other treatment modalities, such as chemotherapy or surgery.
Radiation therapy can be delivered externally or internally, depending on the location and stage of the cancer.
Side effects may include;
- skin changes in the treatment area
- temporary or permanent damage to nearby organs
Immunotherapy is a relatively new treatment approach that harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer. It involves the use of drugs that stimulate the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
Immunotherapy can be effective in treating certain types of haematological cancers, particularly those that express specific markers or proteins.
Common immunotherapy drugs include;
- checkpoint inhibitors
- CAR-T cell therapy
- monoclonal antibodies
4. Targeted Therapy:
Targeted therapy involves the use of drugs that specifically target cancer cells’ unique characteristics, such as genetic mutations or specific proteins.
By targeting these specific vulnerabilities, targeted therapy can effectively kill cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells. This approach is often used in combination with other treatment methods, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Side effects may vary depending on the specific drug used.
5. Stem Cell Transplantation:
Stem cell transplantation, also known as a bone marrow transplant, is a procedure used to replace damaged or diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells.
It can be used to treat certain types of haematological cancers or to restore the bone marrow after high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
There are two main types of stem cell transplantation:
- autologous – where the stem cells come from the patient’s own body
- allogeneic – where the stem cells come from a donor
Cancer awareness of growth pace
The pace at which cancer grows can vary depending on several factors, including the stage and grade of the cancer.
Some cancers are characterised by their fast-growing nature, spreading quickly throughout the body and potentially causing more severe symptoms. On the other hand, some cancers have a moderate pace of growth, while others are slow-growing, taking longer to develop and spread.
Fast-growing cancers are known for their aggressive nature. These types of cancers typically have a higher likelihood of spreading to other parts of the body, often forming metastases.
A metastasis is the development of secondary malignant growths at a distance from a primary site of cancer.
The rapid growth and spread of cancer cells can lead to more severe symptoms and an increased risk of complications.
Common examples of fast-growing cancers include;
- certain types of lung cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- aggressive forms of breast cancer
These cancers often require immediate and intensive treatment to prevent further progression and improve the patient’s prognosis.
Some cancers have a moderate pace of growth. These cancers may take longer to spread and may not exhibit as aggressive behavior as fast-growing cancers.
However, that does not mean their impact should be underestimated. Moderate-paced cancers still require prompt medical attention and treatment.
Examples of moderate-paced cancers include;
- certain types of prostate cancer
- kidney cancer
- thyroid cancer
Although these cancers may not spread as quickly as fast-growing ones, they can still cause significant health issues if left untreated.
Slow-growing cancers are characterised by a gradual rate of growth and spread. These types of cancers may not cause noticeable symptoms for an extended period, making them challenging to detect. However, this does not mean they can be ignored.
Examples of slow-growing cancers include;
- some forms of skin cancer
- certain types of leukaemia
- low-grade prostate cancer
While these cancers may not require immediate aggressive treatment, regular monitoring is crucial to ensure any changes are detected early.
Using cancer awareness to understand the impact
Understanding the pace of cancer growth is vital for determining the urgency of treatment. It allows healthcare professionals to make informed decisions about the most appropriate course of action.
in the case of fast-growing cancers, immediate treatment may be necessary to prevent or limit the spread of the disease. This may involve a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy to target and eradicate cancer cells.
For moderate-paced cancers, treatment strategies may involve a combination of surgery, targeted therapies, and regular monitoring. The goal is to manage the cancer and prevent further spread while minimising potential side effects.
Slow-growing cancers often require ongoing surveillance and monitoring. In some cases, active treatment may not be immediately necessary, but regular check-ups and screenings are crucial to detect any changes or progression early. This allows healthcare professionals to intervene promptly when needed.
The Role of Staging and Grading
Staging and grading are essential tools used to determine the pace and potential aggressiveness of cancer growth.
Staging: Cancer staging refers to a standardized system that assesses the size of the tumour and whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Cancer staging helps healthcare professionals determine the most appropriate treatment approach and predict the likely outcome.
Grading: Cancer grading refers to assessing the microscopic appearance of cancer cells to determine their level of abnormality and resemblance to healthy cells. Grading helps classify tumours into different categories, providing insight into their potential growth rate and behaviour.
Understanding Cancer Grading
When diagnosed with cancer, understanding the aggressiveness and spread of the disease is essential for determining the appropriate treatment plan and predicting the prognosis. This is where cancer grading comes into play.
Cancer grading refers to the classification of cancer based on how aggressive it is. It helps healthcare professionals and patients alike to assess the severity of the disease and make informed decisions regarding treatment options.
The Significance of Cancer Grading
High-grade cancers are known to be highly aggressive and tend to spread rapidly. They have a greater potential to invade nearby tissues and organs, making them harder to treat. Intermediate-grade cancers have a moderate pace of spread, while low-grade cancers are less aggressive and spread slowly.
By classifying cancers into different grades, healthcare professionals can gain valuable insights into the behavior of the disease and design a treatment plan that best suits the patient’s individual needs. This personalised approach is crucial for achieving the best possible outcomes.
How cancer grading works
Cancer grading involves examining cancer cells under a microscope and determining their characteristics. The pathologist evaluates various factors including the size and shape of the cells, their rate of division, and the extent of tissue infiltration. These factors help assign a grade to the cancer.
Grading is typically done on a scale of 1 to 4, with Grade 1 indicating a low-grade cancer and Grade 4 indicating a high-grade cancer.
To further refine the classification, some grading systems may use additional descriptive terms, such as;
Creating cancer awareness for the impact on treatment decisions
The grade of a cancer plays a crucial role in determining the most suitable treatment approach. High-grade cancers often require more aggressive therapies, such as;
These treatments aim to remove or destroy cancer cells throughout the body and reduce the risk of recurrence.
On the other hand, low-grade cancers may be treated with less invasive approaches, such as local excision or targeted therapy. The slower pace of spread allows for a more localised treatment approach, preserving the function of surrounding healthy tissues.
Cancer grading also provides valuable information regarding the prognosis of the disease. High-grade cancers are generally associated with a poorer prognosis, as they tend to be more aggressive and have a higher likelihood of metastasis.
Intermediate-grade cancers have a moderate prognosis, while low-grade cancers often have a better prognosis due to their slower growth and limited ability to spread. However, it is important to note that prognosis also depends on other factors, such as the stage of the cancer and the overall health of the patient.
Creating cancer awareness for our patients and community is paramount.
We explored the different types of cancer, including organ-specific cancers, solid-organ cancers, and haematological cancers. We also discussed the pace of cancer growth and the importance of cancer grading.
Cancer grading is a vital component of cancer diagnosis and treatment planning. By evaluating the aggressiveness and spread of the disease, healthcare professionals can tailor treatment options to individual patients, maximising the chances of successful outcomes.
Understanding the grading system and its implications empowers patients to actively participate in their own healthcare decisions and enables them to have meaningful discussions with their healthcare providers. Cancer grading, along with other diagnostic tools, is an invaluable asset in the fight against cancer.
Through cancer awareness, our patients and community stand a better chance of knowing the signs and symptoms and taking action.
Social Prescribing / Self-Referral
If you feel that you have symptoms of cancer, fill out our Social Prescribing / Self-Referral form via this link to arrange an appointment with our Social Prescriber to discuss your concerns and so they can get you seen as soon as possible.
Alternatively, contact your GP surgery to book an appointment with your GP. If you live within the area of East Basildon PCN, visit this link to find your local GP surgery in East Basildon today.
We hope this post about cancer awareness has given you more insight into the topic of cancer.