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Flashcards in Cancer Deck (103)
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The number one non modifiable risk factor for cancer

- Tends to affect the very young and 65 and older


The number one preventable carcinogen

- Use of tobacco both initiates and promotes cancer


How does cancer begin (cellular)

Begins when an abnormal cell is transformed by the genetic mutation of the cellular DNA. Cell forms a clone and begins to proliferate - ignores growth regulating signals and changes the surrounding tissue. These abnormal cells infiltrate and gain access to lymph nodes and blood vessels, which travel to other areas of the body.


Epidemiology of Cancer

- Tends to affects the very young and 65 and older
- Affects more men than women
- Increased incidence of those who work in industrialized sectors


What is a primary tumor?

Original tumor site


Parent Tissue

Cells identified from which it came from



Primary tumors first extend into the surrounding tissues --> tumor cells secrete enzymes, causing pressure --> cause size increase --> forced cells to invade new territory

- Blood borne metastasis is most common cause of metastasis disease


Three interacting factors influence cancer development

1. Exposure to carcinogen
2. Genetic predisposition
3. Immune function

* These account for variation in cancer development from one person to another - even if exposed to the same hazard


Viral Causes of Cancer

Difficult to evaluate due to their difficulty to isolate. Thought to incorporate themselves in the genetic structure of the cell


Examples of Viral Causes of Cancer

1. Epstein-Barr = primary liver cancer
2. Hepatitis B = primary liver cancer
3. HPV = cervical, vulvar, and other genital carcinomas


Examples of Bacterial Causes of Cancer

Helicobacter pylori = gastric malignancy


Can alcohol cause cancer?

Increases cancer risk of mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectal, and breast
* No more than two drinks per day for men
* One beverage per day for women


Etiology of Cancer: Hormonal Agents

- Breast, prostate, and uterus believed to rely on endogenous hormonal levels for growth
- OCPs and prolonged estrogen therapy associated with hepatocellular, endometrial, and breast cancer
- Menarche of < 12 years, delayed onset of menopause, etc. increase risk of cancer of breast
- Increased number of pregnancies associated with breast endometrial and ovarian


Primary Prevention of Cancer

1. Avoidance of known or potential carcinogens
2. Modifying associated factors
3. Removal of "at risk" tissues
4. Chemoprevention
5. Vaccination



Used for primary prevention of cancer
- Using ASA and Celecoxib to decrease risk of colon cancer
- Vitamin D and Tamoxifen to decrease risk of breast cancer
- Lycopene to reduce risk of prostate cancer


Secondary Prevention of Cancer

- Yearly mammogram for women > 40 years of age
- Clinical breast exam for women > 40 years of age every 3 years
- Colonoscopy at age 50 and then every 10 years
- Yearly fecal occult blood for adults of all ages
- Yearly prostate specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal exam (DRE) for men older than 50


Seven Warning Signs of Cancer

C = change in bowel/bladder habits
A = a sore that doesn't heal
U = unusual bleeding or discharge
T = thickening or lump in breast/elsewhere
I = indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
O = obvious change in wart or mole
N = nagging cough or hoarseness


Three types of cancer staging

1. Clinical
2. Surgical
3. Pathologic


Clinical Staging

Assesses the patient's clinical manifestations and evaluates clinical signs for tumor size and possible spread


Surgical Staging

Assesses the patient's clinical manifestations and evaluates clinical signs for tumor size and possible metastatic disease


Pathologic Staging

Most Definitive Type in determining tumor size, number sites, and spread by pathologic examination of tissues obtained at surgery


Duke's Staging

Stages colon and rectal cancer


Clark's Staging

Stages skin cancer


Three Forms of Cancer Treatment

1. Surgery
2. Radiation therapy
3. Chemotherapy


Prophylactic Surgery

Removal of "at risk" tissue
- removal of mole from a site where there is constant irritation


Diagnostic Surgery

Removal of part or all of a suspected lesion
- provides proof of the presence of cancer


Curative Surgery

Removal of the entire neoplasm
- Prostatectomy


Cytoreductive Surgery

Known as "cancer control"; removing part of the tumor and leaving a known amount of gross tumor
- known as "debulking"; reduces the number of cancer cells and increases the chances that other therapies can be successful


Palliative Surgery

Focus is to improve the quality of one's life - not focused on a cure
- Removal of tumor that is causing pain or causing obstruction


Second Look Surgery

This is a "rediagnosis" surgery after the patient has went through some type of treatment, such as radiation or chemo
- most common type of surgery used with ovarian cancer