one in two people develop cancer during their lives – the diseases and treatments explained

Preventative chemotherapy, also known as , is given after surgery or other primary treatments to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the body. It aims to reduce the risk of the cancer returning (known as recurrence).

Therapeutic chemotherapy is used as a treatment option for cancer that has spread or is well established, such as advanced-stage cancers.

 involves the physical removal of cancerous tissues as well as nearby lymph nodes – small glands which act as filters in your body that cancers can spread through – to eliminate the tumour. Surgery is often used to remove localised cancers that haven’t spread throughout the body.

 uses high-energy radiation beams that are able to target specific areas where tumour cells are located to destroy or shrink the tumour. Radiotherapy can be applied externally or internally.

Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy are often combined in cancer treatment to improve outcomes for patients.

Thanks to developments in cancer research over the last 50 years, survival rates have improved greatly – although the rate of improvement has . Cancer survival depends on various factors such as age – people under 40 have a  of survival – overall health and fitness, as well as family history.

What you should do

Particular changes in your body or warning symptoms could indicate the presence of cancer. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Unexplained weight loss;

  • Fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest;

  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits;

  • Persistent cough or coughing up blood;

  • Difficulty swallowing;

  • Persistent pain;

  • Noticing lumps, such as in a breast or testicle.

The symptoms may not necessarily be the result of cancer. But it is important to get checked by a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary or have had persistent symptoms that don’t ease. Early detection and treatment can  outcomes for many types of cancer.

Gavin Metcalf

Cancer Biologist and Lecturer in Biomedical Science, Anglia Ruskin University

(This story originally appeared on The Conversation)

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