In life, there is a lot of information about cancer, but it is difficult to distinguish the authenticity of it, which has caused many people to have a vague understanding of these problems. To this end, this article has collected and sorted out 13 questions about cancer that are frequently asked in clinics. Let’s take a look at their answers.
1. If cancer is detected early, can it be cured 100%?
The answer is obviously no. Early-stage cancers are more likely to be cured than advanced-stage cancers, but early-stage cancers may still recur after effective treatments such as surgery. Cancer is different from the diseases caused by other pathogens. The diseases caused by the latter can be said to be cured as long as the virus and bacteria are eliminated; the onset of cancer is not caused by infection by a specific pathogen, but by the cancer of its own cells. So far, we are still not very clear about the mechanism of cancer formation and metastasis, and there is no effective means to completely eliminate cancer at the cellular level.
2. Why do some cancers slowly disappear after detection?
Certain cancers with very low tumor burden, such as “stomach cancer”, were diagnosed as cancer by endoscopic biopsy, but no tumor cells were found in the serial sections of the surgical specimens, that is, the tumor was removed at the time of examination. So after detecting the tumor, the tumor has disappeared. In addition, the biological behavior of tumors is complex and diverse, and most tumor cells have a tendency to continue to proliferate once they are generated. But people have also discovered the natural regression of tumors, which will also cause the disappearance of cancer. The reasons for tumor regression are more complicated, which may include certain factors that stimulate the body’s own immune function.
3. Why are there “marital cancer” and “brother cancer” phenomenon?
To be precise, some cancers have a tendency to gather together. Although cancer is not contagious, the living and eating habits of family members are similar, which increases the chance of getting the same type of cancer. For example, if both husband and wife like to eat more flavorful foods, under the influence of the same factor, both of them may increase the risk of bowel cancer.
4. Does elevated tumor markers mean cancer?
This issue has been said many times, and tumor markers will increase when many cancers occur. But not all tumor markers are elevated because of cancer, and tumor markers for certain benign diseases will also be elevated. The significance of detecting tumor standards is to monitor dynamic changes, such as progressive increase, which is suggestive of cancer. Various tumor markers in the clinic can only be used as one of the auxiliary diagnostic indicators of tumors. The clinical diagnosis cannot be determined solely by the examination results of the tumor markers, but needs to be combined with other tests.
5. Cancer is bad luck, and prevention is useless?
An article once stated that 66% of cancer-related gene mutations are caused by random errors in gene replication. For a time, many people think that “66% of cancers are caused by bad luck.” This statement is obviously wrong. Gene mutation is only a necessary condition for cancer, but it is not sufficient. Cancer may require multiple gene mutations, and certain external factors are also one of the important factors inducing gene mutations. As long as the cause of a mutated gene comes from external factors, then this kind of cancer can be prevented to a large extent of.
The World Health Organization proposes that 1/3 of malignant tumors can be prevented, 1/3 can be treated, and 1/3 can be cured. The initiative to prevent cancer is in the hands of everyone. The American Society for Cancer Research pointed out that the easiest way to prevent cancer is to eat more fruits and vegetables, which can reduce the risk of cancer by 20%. It also recommends that people eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (1 serving is about 85 grams), reducing animal fat intake, Maintain a standard weight, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, quit smoking and limit alcohol. As long as you stick to the first line of defense of “prevention is more important than cure”, develop a healthy lifestyle, avoid known cancer risk factors, and add the second line of defense of regular screening, it is not difficult to stay away from cancer.
6. Can cancer be starved to death?
Many cancer patients worry that nutrition will promote tumor growth, thereby reducing nutritional intake. What’s more, I hope to starve the tumor to death through starvation. International authoritative guidelines point out: There is no evidence that nutritional support promotes tumor growth, and this theoretical issue need not be considered in clinical practice. Without nutrition, normal cells cannot perform their physiological functions, and tumor cells will still plunder the nutrition of normal cells. As a result, it is the patient who starves to death, not the tumor cells. Nutritional support should be the basic treatment for cancer patients, because malnourished cancer patients have more complications, lower quality of life, worse clinical prognosis, and shorter survival time.
7. After the cancer is removed, the patient does not need to be followed up after leaving the hospital?
The biological characteristics of malignant tumors have the possibility of local recurrence and systemic metastasis, so the treatment of tumors should be long-term. That is to say, after cancer patients receive treatment, they should also undergo regular review and follow-up monitoring. Depending on the disease, the follow-up time is slightly different, but it is generally once every 3 months or half a year, and once a year after 5 years.
8. I have a physical examination every year, why is it late when I find it?
This is because ordinary physical examination is not the same as early cancer screening. Ordinary physical examination objects are heart, liver, kidney function, blood sugar, blood lipids, blood pressure, etc., in order to grasp the general condition of the human body, and have a good screening effect on chronic basic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, but cannot be detected in time Early cancer. Early cancer screening is a medical examination of asymptomatic healthy people. In addition to screening for early cancer, it also checks and evaluates some functional changes and diseases that increase the probability of cancer.
Cancer screening is often selected according to different ages and different situations, and the setting of examination items is more personalized. For example, people with a family history of breast cancer, women over the age of 40 pay attention to the choice of breast ultrasound and mammography. Smokers should have low-dose spiral CT of the chest every year. Therefore, people with high risk of cancer should go to the hospital for early cancer screening regularly.
9. Will X-ray, CT, PET-CT and other medical examination radiation cause cancer?
will not. In X-ray, CT, PET-CT and other medical examinations, the radiation is strictly controlled within absolute safety and as little as possible, which is similar to the radiation of a plane. Taking PET-CT as an example, the radiation received by the examinee is mainly from the injected radiocontrast agent, and the radiation dose is about 5-10 mSv, which is far lower than the dose that can cause harm to people.
10. Is excessive iodine intake the culprit of thyroid cancer?
It’s not. Thyroid cancer is related to factors such as genetics, head and neck radiation, and autoimmunity. There is currently no definite evidence that excessive iodine intake causes thyroid cancer, and the iodine intake in the regular diet is not enough to cause an abnormal increase in iodine intake.
11. Will pregnancy cause breast cancer recurrence and metastasis?
There is currently no definite evidence that pregnancy will directly lead to the recurrence and metastasis of breast cancer. Studies have shown that if breast cancer patients give birth after comprehensive treatment is completed, not only will they not cause tumor recurrence and metastasis, but it can also improve the overall quality of life. This is the gospel that children bring to their mothers! But being fertile does not mean that there are no contraindications to fertility. In order to protect the safety of breast cancer patients and their fetuses, it is best to fully communicate with the attending doctor on the basis of regular menstruation and good physical functions to choose the best time for conception.
12. Surgery and chemotherapy are too painful. Can cancer patients be treated directly with targeted drugs?
Can’t. Targeted drugs are drugs developed for specific targets (a protein on tumor cells that promote cell growth, etc.). If there is no corresponding targeted mutation, direct use of targeted drugs is very likely to have no effect.
13. How do I know if there is drug resistance during tumor treatment? When to change the treatment plan?
Tumor treatment resistance means that the current use of therapeutic drugs can no longer continue to control tumor progression. Generally, there are new symptoms or signs (such as progressive enlargement of superficial lymph nodes, etc.) or tumor progression is found during imaging examinations such as CT, MRI, etc., and then drug resistance can be judged. When to change the treatment plan is generally determined according to the tumor progression rate and whether the body can tolerate other treatment plans.
Ma Huiwen chief physician. He is currently a member of the Tumor Interventional Minimally Invasive Professional Committee of the Society of Integrative Medicine; a member of the Biliary Tumor Expert Committee of the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology (CSCO). He has been engaged in oncology for more than 20 years and has accumulated rich clinical work experience. Specializes in the diagnosis and comprehensive treatment of lung cancer, bowel cancer, soft tissue malignant tumors, stomach cancer, and breast cancer.