The Impact of Different Types of Cancer on the Body
Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells develop and multiply uncontrollably within the body. Cancerous cells can divide and grow in any body part, accumulating into a mass or tumours that invade and destroy the nearby tissue. They can also spread to other body parts via the lymphatic system or the bloodstream in a process called metastasis.
Cancer can be treated through a process called chemotherapy, in which strong drugs are used to kill cancerous cells and prevent them from growing and spreading further in the body.
There are many different types of cancer, based on where they start in the body and the type of cells they start in. Each type has its own causes, risk factors, and effects on the body.
Awareness about the different types of cancers and their impact on the body facilitates early detection and diagnosis, increasing the chances of successful treatment. This blog talks about the impact of different types of cancer on the body and the side effects of chemotherapy.
The Different Types of Cancers
The different types of cancers based on the type of cells they start in are:
- Carcinoma: This category of cancers begins in the skin or the tissues that outline the internal organs, including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
- Sarcoma: This category includes cancers that develop in the connective or supportive tissues, like muscles, bones, fat, cartilage, and blood vessels.
- Leukaemia: This cancer begins in the tissues that generate blood cells, like bone marrow. It primarily damages the white blood cells.
- Myeloma and Lymphoma: This category includes cancers that develop in the cells of the immune system.
- Brain and spinal cord cancers are not as common but more serious than other cancers because of the vital functions the brain and spinal cord control.
Here are the different types of cancer according to the organs they start in, along with their major symptoms and effects on the body.
- Lung Cancer: Cough, Chest Pain, Shortness of Breath, Fluid Buildup in the Chest, Coughing Up Blood
- Breast Cancer: Thickening, Swelling, and Formation of Lumps in the Breast or Underarm Area
- Prostate Cancer: Difficulty starting urination, Weak or Interrupted Urine Flow, Frequent Urination, Blood in Urine and Semen, Painful Ejaculation, Disruptive and Bowel Sexual Functioning
- Colorectal Cancer: Blood during Bowel Movements, Abdominal Pain, Severe Diarrhea and Constipation, Change in Bowel Movements
- Skin cancer: Size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin lesion, Hyperpigmentation, Change in Skin Texture, Bleeding Under the Skin, Numbness, and Pain
- Leukemia & Lymphoma: Fatigue, Weakness, Increased risk of infections, Weight Loss, Easy Bruising and Bleeding, Swelling, Abnormal Sweating
- Bladder Cancer: Blood in the urine, pain during urination, and frequent urination
- Pancreatic Cancer: Abdominal pain, jaundice, significant weight loss
- Ovarian Cancer: Abdominal Bloating, Changes in Bathroom Habits, Pelvic Pain
Impact of Cancer and Chemo on the Body
All cancers and cancer treatments like chemotherapy induce a few common symptoms that affect the daily life of the diagnosed patients in every way. Those symptoms include appetite loss, hair loss, declining energy levels, poor joint health, etc.
Cancer and chemotherapy can both impact the body's metabolism and appetite in many ways, resulting in weight loss and malnutrition.
For example, the tumour itself or your body's response to the tumour can cause anorexia. Moreover, chemotherapy can lead to nausea, vomiting, and mouth sores, making it difficult for the patient to eat.
Cancer and chemo also cause changes in taste or smell, making the food less appealing. Plus, the fatigue induced by cancer and chemo can make it challenging to prepare, arrange, and eat proper meals.
Appetite loss can also lead to muscle wasting and weakness, which can further compromise patients' ability to perform daily activities.
Conclusively, patients undergoing cancer treatment are at higher risk of malnutrition, and it is essential to address this issue by providing appropriate nutritional support. You can manage appetite loss with the help of nutritional supplements, anti-nausea medication, and strategies to make eating more comfortable.
Hair loss is not a direct effect of cancer but a side effect of chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, strong medicines are used to target and kill cancerous cells. These medicines can also damage other cells in the body, including those in the hair follicles, leading to the loss or thinning of hair on the scalp, underarms, face, and other body parts.
The extent of hair loss varies depending on the type and dose of medicines used and the patient's hair type and growth. Some people may experience only thinning of the hair, while others may lose all of their hair. Also, the hair loss is temporary in some cases; the hair regrows within two to three weeks after the treatment.
Cancer and chemotherapy can both induce fatigue in numerous ways.
- Firstly, both cancer and chemo reduce the number of red blood cells in the body, causing anaemia. The common symptoms of anaemia include shortness of breath, fatigue, and weakness.
- Secondly, certain types of cancers (especially breast and prostate) impact the body's hormone levels, leading to a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue.
- Cancer and chemotherapy can disturb your sleep cycle and cause mental issues like depression and anxiety, affecting your energy levels and overall quality of life.
Cancer can also lead to joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Joint pain usually occurs in the hands, feet, back, knees, hips, and spine.
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are at risk of developing osteonecrosis - a rare but serious condition in which the bone tissue is severed due to a lack of blood supply, causing joint pain, stiffness, and even bone collapse. This condition arises due to cancer treatment, especially when bisphosphonates (the drugs used to treat bone metastasis) are used.
The Role of Cell Regeneration & Mitophagy in Managing Cancer
Normally, the cells in a tissue divide and differentiate to form new cells as needed, replacing the old and damaged ones. This process, called cell regeneration, is essential for maintaining the proper function of various organ systems. However, cancer can disrupt the normal cell regeneration process and lead to the formation of tumours.
The goal of cancer treatment is to stop abnormal cell growth and division, and one method to do this is by promoting the body's natural cell regeneration process. Research on cell regeneration as a treatment to repair or replace damaged tissue in cancer patients is ongoing, and the results are promising but still in the early stages.
One way to promote cell regeneration as a cancer treatment is through the use of stem cells. Stem cells are a type of cell that can differentiate into different types of cells, such as blood cells, nerve cells, or muscle cells. Scientists are looking into using stem cells to rebuild healthy tissue after cancer surgery or radiation therapy, which can also damage normal cells.
All-natural, immunity-boosting supplements can also promote natural cell regeneration to help patients manage cancer symptoms.
Mitophagy is the process of the selective degradation of damaged mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells. Mitophagy is a normal process that occurs in healthy cells but becomes dysregulated in cancer cells.
Mitochondria play a critical role in cancer development by providing the energy needed for cancer cells to grow and divide. Hence, some studies suggest that damaging the mitochondria of cancerous cells can stop their rapid growth and multiplication. For example, certain drugs have been found to induce mitophagy in cancer cells, leading to their death. Additionally, some studies have shown that certain compounds found in foods and supplements can also induce mitophagy in cancer cells. You can try Ultrapome by The Good Vitamin Company – a blend of pomegranate extracts, prebiotics, and probiotics that promote cell regeneration as well as mitochondrial and muscle function. It comes in a bottle of 30 capsules; the recommended dose is just one capsule.