WILL THE BIOPSY MAKE THE CANCER GROW FASTER?
There is no scientific proof that a biopsy causes the cancer to grow faster. A biopsy is necessary to diagnose the type of tumor present, or in some cases to ascertain if a tumor is present at all. Only after the diagnosis is established can the treatment plan be made and followed.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF WE LEAVE THE CANCER ALONE?
The hallmark of any cancer is growth. If the cancer is left alone, it will grow larger and invade surrounding areas. This may lead to a state where it is no longer operable, and where other therapies such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy are also less effective. It can also grow into the windpipe causing difficulty breathing, or into the food pipe leading to difficulty eating, or into a major blood vessel that may lead to uncontrollable bleeding.
CAN YOU GIVE A 100% GUARANTEE THAT ONCE TREATED NOTHING WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as 100% guarantee when it comes to cancer. The chances of the cancer returning in both the short and long term primarily depend upon the stage at initial diagnosis, the adequacy of the treatment and in the case of tobacco and alcohol related cancers, whether they continue to be avoided. As a general rule though, the longer the interval from the first cancer and subsequent treatment, the less likely that the cancer will recur.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF A SECOND PRIMARY CANCER?
In a patient where an initial cancer was diagnosed and treated, and 5 years later a new cancer develops at the same site or at a new site close to the original cancer, it is called a second primary cancer.
WHAT DOES STAGE OF CANCER MEAN?
The stage of cancer is a method of determining the extent to which the cancerous tumour has grown and long term chances of curing the patient. Cancers are commonly staged using the TNM classification, that takes into account: 1) T- tumour size 2) N – the presence and location of lymph nodes and 3) M – whether metastases are present in distant organs or not. Commonly, cancers are staged from Stage 1 to Stage 4.
DOES TOBACCO REALLY CAUSE CANCER?
Tobacco is one of the most well known substances that causes cancer. This was first established in the 1950 and has been repeatedly been proven to be a causative agent in its various forms. Most H&N cancers are caused due to tobacco. Cigarettes contain more than 4500 chemicals or which many chemicals are known to be cancer causing agents.
WHAT IS THE RELATION OF ALCOHOL WITH CANCER?
Alcohol is also a well known substance that causes cancer, though not as potently as tobacco. Individual who use both tobacco and alcohol, have a many fold (50-100 times more) risk of developing cancer than those who do not.
HOW COME THE CANCER DEVELOPED WITHOUT ANY HISTORY OF TOBACCO, ALCOHOL?
Many cancers develop due to constant irritation such as a sharp tooth that is constantly irritating the tongue can lead to ulceration and subsequent cancer formation. Fumes, paints, wood and metal cuttings, asbestos-is are well known causative agents of cancer leading from constant irritation of the nasal cavity and aero-digestive tract.
ONCE THE TOBACCO/MASALA WAS STOPPED, THE CANCER APPEARED?
This is a common misconception which has no scientific proof. Usually, the individual has quit tobacco due to some non-healing ulcer and expects the ulcer to heal as the tobacco was stopped. Unfortunately, once the cancerous process has started, quitting tobacco will not reverse it and it will appear within its natural time course.
IS IT TRUE THAT ALL CANCER PATIENTS WHEN OPERATED DIE SOON?
Surgery is often the best chance of cure for patients with H&N cancers. Surgery is only planned when there is a reasonable chance of improving the quality and longevity of a patient’s life and decreasing the chance of suffering. The overall prognosis of the patient i.e long term survival depends upon the stage at which the cancer was diagnosed, as well as the overall performance status of the patient.
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