skip to Main Content

WHAT IS CANCER?

General information on cancer

The human body is made up of countless cells, and each cell grows and divides to form new cells as it requires.

Normally, old or damaged cells die and new ones replace them. However, cancer harms the body by disrupting this process. Cancer is a name given to a number of related diseases, all of which involve old or damaged cells surviving instead of dying, and new cells forming uncontrollably when the body does not require them. These new abnormal cells may form growths called tumours (except cancers of the blood where abnormal cell division in the bloodstream prohibits normal blood function), which can grow and interfere with the body’s digestive, nervous and circulatory systems, and also release hormones that alter bodily functions.

Cancerous tumours are labelled malignant because they spread into nearby tissues. As they grow, some cancerous cells break off and travel to other places in the body through the blood or lymph system to form new tumours. Benign tumours, on the other hand, do not invade other tissues, but they can sometimes be quite big. When removed, benign tumours usually do not grow back, whereas malignant ones do. Although benign tumours are usually not life threatening, benign brain tumours can be.

Cancer is a genetic disease that can occur almost anywhere in the human body, and it can affect men and women, young and old, rich and poor. It is not contagious, and with continuous treatment advancements many people do recover from cancer.

Types of Cancer

There are over 200 different types of cancer. Dr Mboyi Inc. focusses on treating four of the most common cancers.

The prostate is a small gland positioned in front of the rectum around the urethra (the exit tube from the bladder, which runs through the penis). Prostate cancer begins when cells in this small gland begin to grow uncontrollably. Most prostate cancers are adenocarcinoma, which develop from the gland cells that make the prostate fluid that is added to the semen. Other more rare types of prostate cancer include sarcomas, small cell carcinomas, neuroendocrine tumors (other than small cell carcinomas) and transitional cell carcinomas.

Prostate cancers usually grow slowly and can have a limited effect on men’s lives. Researchers have discovered a few factors that may increase a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer. These include being over 65 years of age; being an African-American or Caribbean man of African ancestry; living in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia and on Caribbean islands; having it run in the family and inherited gene changes. Other less clear factors include diet, obesity, smoking, exposure to chemicals, inflammation of the prostate, sexually transmitted infections and having had a vasectomy.

Stages of Prostate Cancer

Breast cancers mostly occurs in women, but men can also be affected. It can start in different parts of the breast, but most begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple (ductal cancers). Others start in the glands that make the breast milk (lobular cancers). And there are other less common types. Breast cancer spreads when the cancer cells invade the blood or lymph system and get carried to other parts of the body.

Not all breast cancers cause a lump in the breast. There are other signs or symptoms of breast cancer to watch out for. Most lumps that are felt are not cancerous (malignant), but benign, abnormal growths that don’t spread beyond the breast. Although these lumps are not life threatening, they can increase a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer.

View the stages of breat cancer

Gynaecological cancers start in a woman’s in a woman’s reproductive system and include:

  • Cervical cancer starts in the neck of the womb (the cervix).
  • Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovary.
  • Womb cancer, also called uterine or endometrial cancer.
  • Vaginal cancer starts in the vagina.
  • Vulval cancer can start in any part of the female external sex organs (the vulva).

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or rectum, and they are also named colon cancer or rectal cancer. They are often grouped together because they have many features in common.

Cancer Treatments

Treatment options for cancer patients is dependant on the specific cancer being treated, the stage of cancer as well as the particulars of each patient’s case. Below are treatment options for each of the four cancers that Dr Mboyi focusses on.

  • Active surveillance
  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy, including external beam radiation and brachytherapy (internal radiation)

  • Cryotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Vaccine treatment
  • Preventing and treating prostate cancer spread to bones
  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Ablation and embolisation
  • Targeted therapy drugs
  • Immunotherapy
Back To Top