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The word ‘cancer‘ comes from the latin "carcinoma" meaning crab. It is the most dreaded disease and refers to all malignant tumors caused by the abnormal growth of a body cell or a group of cells. It is today the second largest killer in the world, next only to heart ailments. The term covers more than 200 diseases.

The majority of cancers occur in the age group 50-60. Sex does not affect the incidence of the disease. It does affect the site of growth. In men, cancer is usually found in the intestines, the prostate, and the lungs. In women, it occurs mostly in the breast tissues, uterus, gallbladder, and thyroid.

The symptoms of cancer vary according to the site of the growth. The American Cancer Society has prescribed seven signs or danger signals in general which may indicate the presence of cancer. That include sores that do not heal; changes in bowel or bladder habits; unusual bleeding or discharge; thickening or lumps in the breast or elsewhere; indigestion or difficulty in swallowing; obvious change in a wart or a mole, and a persistent and nagging cough or hoarseness. Other symptoms may include unexplained loss of weight, a change in skin color and changes in the menstrual periods, especially bleeding between periods.

The prime cause of cancer is not known. Certain cancer-causing substances, known as carcinogens increase the chances of getting the disease. About 80% of cancers are caused by environmental factors. 40% of male cancers are linked with tobacco. The consumption of pan, tobacco, and slaked lime has been linked with lung and throat cancers. Heavy consumption of alcoholic drinks can cause esophageal, stomach and liver cancers. Occupational exposure to industrial pollutants such as asbestos, nickel, tar, soot and high doses of X-rays can lead to skin and lung cancers and leukemia. Other factors contributing to cancer are vital infections, trauma, hormone imbalance, and malnutrition. Many well-known biologists and naturopaths believe that a faulty diet is the root cause of cancer.