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1 in 4 Malaysian Gets Cancer by Age 75

LifeCare Diagnostic

February 18, 2022

Cancer

Globally, 10 million people die from cancer every year. And at least 1/3rd of common cancers are preventable. Many lives could be saved each year if appropriate strategies are being applied and practised such as prevention, early detection and treatment. 

What is Cancer?

Cancer is when some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. Our body is made up of trillions of cells and cancer can start almost anywhere in the body.

Three types of Tumours

Benign tumours

  • Not cancerous and rarely threaten life
  • Grows quite slowly
  • Do not spread to other parts of the body
  • Will only cause a problem if they grow very large, causes discomfort or pressing on other organs

Malignant tumours

  • Faster growing
  • Possess the ability to spread and destroy neighbouring tissue
  • It can spread to other parts of the body through a process known as metastasis

Precancerous (or premalignant)

  • Condition which involves abnormal cells which may (or is likely to) develop into cancer

Types of cancers​

Five main types of cancer classified according to the type of cell they start from

Carcinoma

  • A cancer that arises from cell that lines the surfaces of your body
  • May invade the surrounding tissues and organs and metastasise to the lymph nodes and other areas of the body
  • Common forms of cancer in this group are breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer

Sarcoma

  • A type of malignant tumour of the bone or soft tissue (fat, muscle, blood vessels, nerves and other connective tissues that support and surround organs)
  • Common forms of sarcoma are leiomyosarcoma, liposarcoma and osteosarcoma

Lymphoma and Myeloma

  • Both are cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.
  • Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system
  • Myeloma (or multiple myeloma) starts in the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies to help fight infection This cancer can affect the cell’s ability to produce antibodies effectively

Leukaemia

  • A cancer of the white blood cells and bone marrow.
  • Common are lymphocytic leukaemia and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

Brain and spinal cord cancers

  • Known as central nervous system cancers. Some are benign while others can grow and spread

Causes of cancer

Non-modifiable risk factors

  • Age
  • Cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) 
  • Genetics 
  • The immune system

Modifiable risk factors​

  • Alcohol
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Tobacco
  • Ionising radiation
  • Work place hazards
  • Infection 

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