Effects Of Cancer On The Body

Effects Of Cancer On The Body

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    After effects can be described as long-term or late effects of cancer and treatment. Aftereffects can range from very mild to serious. They may vary from one survivor to the next. Doctors cannot always predict if any will occur or how long-lasting they will be. Treatment can help you manage aftereffect symptoms so you can live a full and happy life. 

    Long-term effects develop during treatment and are lingering or chronic (do not go away). They continue after treatments are over. Many long-term effects improve or resolve with time such as anemia, fatigue, or anxiety (feeling worried). Some survivors may experience long-term effects that are permanent such as limb loss, weakness, or nerve damage.

    Late effects are delayed and can surface months to years after treatment ends. Generally, the earlier these problems are identified, the easier they are to treat. Some late effects are long-lasting or permanent such as certain types of heart disease or lung disease, lymphedema (swelling in a limb due to blockage of the lymph system), osteoporosis, depression, and second cancers.

    Examples of aftereffects include:
    • Physical: Fatigue, scars, or loss of limbs
    • Emotional: Anxiety or depression
    • Practical: Challenges with employment or getting health insurance
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    A answered
    There are many different causes of sexual functioning concerns in female cancer survivors. Some are physical causes. Others may be due to changes in how you feel about yourself, your body, or other aspects of your life after cancer.

    Certain types of cancer, such as those that affect sexual organs, can put survivors at risk for problems. Approximately half of survivors of breast cancer and other cancers that affect the pelvic area (such as the cervix, ovaries, uterus, bladder, colon, or vagina) develop long-term sexual problems. Yet, most problems are actually caused by treatment and not the cancer itself.

    Some ways treatment can affect sexual functioning include:
    • Chemotherapy can damage the ovaries, causing hormonal changes and temporary or permanent menopause in younger women.
    • Radiation can affect the vagina, cervix, or uterus.
    • Surgery or radiation therapy can affect cancers in the pelvic area (bladder, colorectal, cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, or vulvar cancer).
    • Side effects of medicines used to treat pain, nausea, depression, or anxiety can affect sexual functioning.
    If possible, talk with your healthcare team about the risks for problems with sexual functioning before you begin cancer treatment. There may be things that can be done to minimize risks. If you have already undergone treatment, talk with your doctor about finding ways to treat symptoms or concerns now.

    Certain emotions can also contribute to intimacy challenges such as:
    • Sad or depressed feelings
    • Concerns about being less attractive
    • Stress in the relationship with your partner
    • Difficulty with self-esteem because of physical changes
    If physical changes affect how a woman feels about herself or her body, this can also contribute to sexual problems. For example, it may be more challenging for someone who was uncomfortable with sexuality or had tension in a relationship before cancer. If you have these types of concerns, ask your doctor for a referral to a licensed counselor who has experience working with cancer survivors.
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    A Integrative Medicine, answered on behalf of
    Cancer fatigue is a common side effect in people being treated for cancer, and may persist after treatment is completed. People with cancer fatigue will describe feeling weak, tired, exhausted, and may spend considerable time resting, therefore making it difficult to complete normal daily activities. This fatigue can significantly impact quality of life. There are many factors that may contribute to cancer fatigue. This fatigue may be a symptom of cancer or can result from cancer treatments. In addition, depression, sleep disturbances, malnutrition, and inactivity may all contribute to cancer fatigue. For this reason, an integrative cancer treatment approach may be helpful for managing cancer fatigue. Medical treatments may be helpful as well as psychosocial support, prescriptive physical activity, nutrition support, and in some cases dietary supplements.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Cancer is an unusual cell. It's not the normal thing, and so your immune system should fight it. If a proofreader gene doesn't spot the cancer cell and kill it at an early stage, the body should summon a system-wide immunologic response to the cell. However, to some cancers we don't produce this response, and those are the ones that kill us. Why don't we produce an immunologic response? It may be that the cancer secretes a protein that prevents the sites of immunologic action on the protein from being shown to our own immune system. It might be that the cancer protects itself by secreting protein.
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    A metastasis is the spread of cancer from its primary origin to other regions of the body. A tumor can metastasize through blood, lymphatic drainage or direct invasion. This complicates the treatment as there are multiple regions to target and treat.
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    Cancer survivors who experience temporary or permanent physical changes to their bodies may be at risk for having a poor body image as they learn to adjust to changes in their bodies. The effects of a temporary physical change on your body image may last for a short time. A permanent physical change may have a more lasting effect on your body image.

    Examples of temporary changes that can affect your body image:
    • Hair loss
    • Weight loss
    • Weight gain
    Examples of permanent changes that can affect your body image:
    • Amputations, such as, limbs or mastectomies where prostheses
             can be fitted
    • Permanent stomas, e.g. colostomy or ileostomy (an opening on the
             abdomen created surgically to empty contents of bowel into
             a bag)
    • Infertility
    • Scars from surgery or tattoo markings from radiation fields
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    Cancer and treatment can affect survivors in different ways. One area of life that might change is the ability to have or enjoy sex. These types of changes in women following cancer or treatment are sometimes referred to as female sexual dysfunction. The cause may be physical or emotional.

    The following may be indicators that it is time to talk with your doctor about concerns related to sex after cancer treatment:

    • Loss of desire for sex
    • Negative thoughts and feelings during sex
    • Difficulty reaching climax
    • Vaginal dryness and tightness
    • Pain during sex or when your genital area is touched.
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    Tumors cause destruction in three common ways:

    • They put pressure on nearby tissues and/or organs.
    • They invade tissues and organs directly (direct extension), often damaging or disabling them in the process.
    • They make invaded tissues and/or organs susceptible to infection.
    Tumors can also release substances that destroy tissues in close proximity to them.

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    Complications of ganglioneuroblastomas include the following:

    • Horner's syndrome: This typically occurs with tumors located in the cervix or in the thoracic (chest) region and involves only one side of the face. It is characterized by a drooping eyelid, a constricted pupil, and reduced facial sweat.
    • Hutchinson syndrome: This may occur when the tumor has metastasized (spread) to the bone, and it is characterized by limping and irritability.
    • Kerner-Morrison syndrome: Dehydration and hypokalemia (low potassium levels) may result. This is observed with tumors that secrete vasoactive intestinal polypeptides, hormones that cause the intestine to secrete water and electrolytes. Hypokalemia may cause arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).
    • Opsoclonus-myoclonus-ataxia syndrome: This may occur due to the body producing antibodies against the tumor, and it manifests as uncontrolled jerking movements of the arms, legs, and chest, and rapid eye movements. Developmental delays in the child may result.
    • Spinal cord compression (SCC): This may occur in children when the tumor has spread to areas surrounding the spinal cord. Signs and symptoms of SCC include back pain, loss of sensation, numbness, stiffness in the arms or legs, and loss of bladder or bowel control.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Nausea and vomiting are among the most troubling complications of cancer. If nothing is done. The patient gradually loses a large amount of weight. This wasting away, called cachexia is a sign that the body has started to use up all of its energy reserves. After it burns all the energy stored in fat cells, it begins using the muscle cells. Rapid weight loss is one of the most serious signs of trouble for a cancer patient.

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