What You Really Need to Know about Cancer

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

How does radon cause lung cancer?

radon cause cancerRadon is a gaseous radioactive element. It is an extremely toxic, colorless gas, derived from the radioactive decay of radium, uranium and thorium. It is used in cancer treatment. It has been considered by the Environmental Protection Agency

as the second most leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking based on their mathematical risk estimates derived from many published studies.

Radon is present everywhere and everyone breathes in radon every day. However, people who inhale high level of radon are at high risk of getting lung cancer. Based on the several researches, radon in indoor air is estimated to cause approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths in every year in United States. Mostly smokers have high chance of getting radon-induced lung cancer.

International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that, radon is an independent carcinogenic to human. This conclusion is based on the available evidence on connection between exposure to radon and lung cancer human.

radon cause cancer
There have been studies conducted by many organizations in many nations around the world to examine the relationship of radon exposure and lung cancer. The largest and most recent is the international study led by the national cancer institute, which examined 68,000 underground miners who were exposed to a wide range of radon levels. The study showed that miners are dying of lung cancer 5 times the rate expected for the general population.

Does radon level differ from geographical areas?

Several researches have been performed to analyze the possible correlation between lung cancer and estimated radon levels within the particular geographic regions where environmental radon levels seem to be higher than other geographic regions. Results of such studies are mixed; both positive and negative associations, as well as no significant associations, have been recommended

What is the safe level of radon?

The safer indoor radon level is considered as below 0.4 pCi/L. In US, Environmental Protection Agency has established a practical guideline and a nationwide recommendation for radon gas. It is estimated that a reduction of radon levels to below 2 pCi/L nationwide would likely reduce the yearly lung cancer deaths attributed to radon by 50%.

Why children are at high risk of developing cancer due to high level of radon?

Normal breathing rate in children is higher than a normal adult. This increases the inhaled radon amount in children compare to an adult. Increased inhaled radon lead to increased risk of lung cancer. Risk of lung cancer in children resulting from exposure to radon may be almost twice as high as the risk to adults exposed to the same amount of radon. The risk of getting lung cancer in children increases approximately 20% if they are exposed to tobacco smoking.

How can we limit or prevent radon effect?

radon cause cancerEstablishing a radon transport mechanism, pressure driven airflow from soil to air space. The pressure between soil and occupied space is the primary source of radon entering into the indoor area. So the solution for this is reversing this pressure difference. This can be done through the use active or passive soil depressurization.

How radon causes cancer?

Radon decays faster and leaves radioactive particles. When these radioactive particles are inhaled, it can damage the cell lining of the lung. Body’s defensive mechanism helps to recover the damaged area and keep on renewing the cells. When there is a repeated exposure of the radon and cell line damage, there is a high risk of lung cells to become malignant (start abnormally growing).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chemotherapy Side Effects: Speaking from the experience, Part-2

Guest Post by: David B. Brown

This article is a continuation of Chemotherapy Side Effects: Speaking from the experience, Part-1

Chemotherapy Side Effects: Bleeding

Chemotherapy Side Effects Bleeding
Bleeding in general is a problem due to low platelets and the inability of the blood to coagulate.  This is probably most noticeable with nose bleeds.  I learned quickly not to blow my nose at all because a nose bleed was inevitable.  Mine were not as bad as others I have heard of – I could control them by breathing out my mouth and in by my nose.  In most cases they would get over in five or ten minutes.  The trick was not to forget – blowing your nose is something you often do without thinking.

Chemotherapy Side Effects: Digestive track


Chemotherapy Side Effects Digestive track
The doctors told me that the digestive track needed a lot of good blood, and that explains why most people have most of their side effect problems with some part of the digestive system.  Think about it – it starts with the lips and goes right on through to your waste discharges, so it is a very comprehensive problem.  Different people get hit in different ways, probably due to whatever organ is suffering the most at the time.

Probably the first thing noticed is a metallic taste that soon overwhelms your sense of taste.  Just why you still have taste at all is a puzzle, as well as why it should default to what I called firecrackers going off in your mouth.  Some who are over-weight have taken advantage of this to lose a couple pounds, but even if you can spare some pounds, your body still needs protein and carbohydrates to fuel the recovery from the chemo, so you just have to condition yourself to eat as best you can.  If you are having trouble, try ice cream, protein shakes, or whatever you can stomach.

There is no telling where the problem may manifest itself. 



It could be in some pain in the stomach, gas, or nausea.  Nausea should be attacked as soon as it is suspected – let your nurse know and they will give you something to get ahead of it – do not wait until you are sick to your stomach.  They gave me something in a very small pill and it seemed to stave off the problem.

The remainder of this article will consider some other digestive system issues.



Chemotherapy Side Effects: Acid Reflux

Chemotherapy Side Effects Acid Reflux
I felt that this had something to do with not being able to burp myself because I was laying down.  I would advise drinking plenty of water but no carbonated beverages.  I did not have this problem until close to the end of my last round of chemo, but everyone is different.  It actually showed itself as a pain in my throat – but nothing like a sore throat or anything else I had had before, so this was a bit scary.  They sent me to a nose and throat doctor and she concluded that it was something that could be treated with Nexium (or it’s generic).  And once my blood numbers came back, I slowly got off of it.

Chemotherapy Side Effects: Diarrhea

Chemotherapy Side Effects Diarrhea
This is a difficult issue to resolve because it could be caused by some undefined bacteria, and so they will typically not administer what you might consider to be the standard remedies.  Since something like this can be extremely serious, the rules that I had were that they had to test the stool for at least three days before they could give me anything for it.  So this one takes a lot of patience with the medical staff.  The samples are taken in what the nurses called the hat because of its shape.  It fit down over the toilet seat. My major problem was that I hated to afflict the nurses with something so obnoxious, but they took it in stride.  In both cases my system worked on through it and I do not think I needed to take anything for it directly – or it could be they slipped something into my IV.  I was not keeping up with that. 


Chemotherapy Side Effects: Constipation

Chemotherapy Side Effects Constipation
One tends to follow the other, especially if you over-medicate, so be very careful of the dosage on stool softeners or anti-diarrhea medications.  When the intestines are not getting enough good blood it is hard to say just how they will respond.  Any interruption in the diet can also trigger it and this is another reason to keep the normal amount of your typical food in your stomach.  The worst case I had caught me by surprise, and I cannot identify any cause for it.  It felt like my colon was being rasped.  It was so bad that I did not want to take a chance on it happening again, so I took two stool softeners in a short period of time, and they did their job all too well.  Balance is the key thing to strive for, but it is difficult when being assaulted by the extremes, one way or the other.  It is very important to watch your diet and make every attempt to keep your food intake as normal for you as possible.  Between the metallic taste and the boring hospital food, this can get to be a real problem, but it is important to at least keep this in mind as the goal.


Chemotherapy Side Effects: Gas

I guess I could try to be funny and say “this one was life threatening.”  But not.  It did cause me some embarrassment at times.  Recognize that your lower digestive tract – your large intestines and whatever, are also going to be disabled.  So total digestion could be a real problem, and partial digestion results in a large amount of gas being generated.  I have heard others express this problem, so do not feel that you are alone.  But I can sympathize with your embarrassment – it seemed that the nurse (or someone) would always come in right after I relieved myself, and the volume would fill the whole room.  You might just warn them to stay out for a few minutes.

The remedy for this as well as general churning in the large intestine is simethicone ,  which one of the nurses told me was identical to GasX (and probably some other OTC remedies).  This is a chewable tablet and it comes in some other forms as well now that make it easy to take and very quick to work.  You might ask them if you can get an extra one in case you need it in the middle of the night, but you will have to pledge not to take more than one every four or so hours.  Usually they want to keep total record of everything that you are taking and when you took it.  But hospital bureaucracy can be a problem – sometimes they have to get the resident MD to approve, and that can take a while.

Chemotherapy Side Effects: Speaking from the experience, Part-1

Guest Post by: David B. Brown
chemotherapy side effects

The major objective of this article is to take the mystery out of what to expect when you go into chemo.  I had no idea of the side effects, and what I heard was not accurate, so for the most part I discovered it for myself.  If you want to do the same, no problem.  But I believe that the fear of the unknown is by far the worst side effect, and that is what this article is intended to eliminate.  We will not pull punches, so the choice is yours.  I apologize in advance for some of the nastier things, but that goes with the turf and is part of a complete treatment of the subject.



First, all chemo does not have to be accompanied by severe suffering.  I have a very close friend who had chemo for CML and while at times it was a bit uncomfortable, it was (and still is) tolerable to the point that she has assumed all of the normal responsibilities of a full time job and raising a child.  But what I will cover here is probably worst case analysis, since I had some of the most intensive chemo that is given.  So take heart that it does not have to be as difficult as what I outline below – check with your oncologist for guidance.

The side effects of the chemo itself generally do not come for a few days after the complete round of chemo is administered.  The blood needs time to die off from its being poisoned by the chemo.  The side effects come from the blood not supplying what various parts of your body need – few people have problems with the chemo itself per se – it has to do its job, so the problems are secondarily related to it – this is good to understand.  If the chemo did not kill the blasts (mutant blood cells) it would not be doing its job, so the side effects are a necessary evil.

Chemotherapy Side Effects: General Weakness and Lightheadedness


This was a problem for me from the outset even before my diagnosis.  The blasts (mutant blood cells) had taken over, and my body (and brain) could not get the nourishment they needed.  Chemo will not help this in the short run, so it is something you have to get used to and after a while you just adapt to it.  Getting up quickly can make you light-headed under these circumstances.  Get up very gradually and if you get to feeling like you might pass out (e.g., seeing stars) sit back down and relax – don’t push it.  You can black out on your feet and fall and hit your head.  So, recognized the problem and do not try to fight it.  Recognize how hard it is to get up and avoid getting down on your knees.

Chemotherapy Side Effects: Mouth Soreness.


Chemotherapy Side Effects: Mouth Soreness
The first thing that most people notice is the effect of lack of good blood in the digestive system.  Soreness in the mouth was the first sign for me that things were starting to degenerate.  I scratching the roof of my mouth with toast slightly before the low numbers hit, and that was a very BAD thing to do.  Avoid toast or anything rough, spicy or overly hot.  Eventually it got to a point where I could no longer fully close my mouth.  Some of the literature on the subject indicates the trade off between keeping your teeth clean and injuring your gums with a stiff toothbrush.  It is important to use a soft toothbrush and to not over-do it, although it is also important to keep your mouth clean – hence the trade off.  When it mouth soreness do not panic – it is normal.

They prescribed something that is quite effective and quite available: a solution of salt and baking soda.  Just a couple tablespoons of each in a liter of water.  You swish your mouth out with it and gargle a little, and it was best not to rinse it out too much when you were finished.  As soon as I increased my frequency of using this mouth wash the problem seemed to abate somewhat, but it did not disappear until my platelet and neutrophils count came back up.  You learn to live with it by not chewing so hard, which is good anyway because the last thing you want at this point is to bite your tongue or have to go to the dentist with a broken tooth (something that they probably would not allow in any event).  I did not have it as bad as some who have bleeding from the mouth.  It was something that the medical people checked every day.  The nurse encouraged me to get in the habit of using the solution whenever I went into the bathroom, day or night.

The lips are not spared either.  Here some type of a lip balm is beneficial – the thick kind that comes in those little bottles.  You do not want anything thin that will run off, or the chap stick type that could create additional problems.

Saline fluid build-up.


The gentle salt/baking soda mouthwash whenever you go to the bathroom is a good idea.  When on chemo in the hospital this can be quite often – at times once every 15 or 20 minutes.  The frequent bathroom visits were caused mainly by the saline solution that they gave me with the chemo to flood my system.  The saline was necessary, especially with the induction treatments.  Later on I was able to talk them out of having me hooked up to the saline around the clock, but that was way into the consolidation treatments, so that was not permitted at early on.  It is necessary to keep the chemo from damaging your kidneys and perhaps some other organs.

As the days progress you will see your legs swelling up due to the excess and you might gain five to ten pounds because of it.  Don’t worry – it is just a temporary thing.  I would guess that the circumference of my legs almost doubled.  They encouraged me to keep walking, and that surely helped.  But there would be no relief until they cut the saline.  It was quite an experience being so overweight that I could not put on my socks or reach my feet while showering.  With swollen legs comes swollen feet – and my normal shoes did not fit.  Fortunately I had a pair of slip-ons that were not for any definite size.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Penile cancer: Carcinoma of the penis

penile cancer
Penile cancer is the growth of malignant cells (cancer cells) in tissues of the penis. Penile cancer usually occurs uncircumcised men and it suggests that there is a correlation between circumcision and penile cancer. Circumcision decreases the concentration in smegma and reduces the chances of infections developing in the foreskin, like potentially oncogenic human papilloma virus. Human Papilloma Virus DNA is seen in approximately 50% of cases diagnosed with penile cancer. Usually penile cancer is common among men ages between 40 and 70.

The survival of the case is depend on the clinical stages, degree, and histological grades of the tumor. Usually patient with stage 1 penile cancer can be cured. 

Penile cancer signs and symptoms

  • Sores
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Lump or swelling on penis
  • Abnormal discharges
  • Bleeding

Penile cancer risk factors

  • Men age above 40
  • Poor Personal Hygiene
  • Phimosis (a condition in which the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back over the glans).
  • Having Multiple Sexual Partners
  • Smoking

Penile cancer morphology

Gross Appearance
Squamous cells carcinoma of penis usually starts on the glans and inner surface layer of the prepuce, forming papillary and flat masses. The papillary ulcers (lesions) may form a cauliflower like fungating masses. Most cases a flat like lesions appear as some regions of epithelial thickening is accompanied by graying and fissuring of the mucosal surface. In some cases, due to ulceration, sever bleeding and hemorrhagic are observed.

Penile cancer metastasis

Penile cancer cells metastasize deeply along with penile shaft and spread to inguinal lymph nodes, and then iliac lymph nodes, and disseminate to distant organs in later stages.

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