Information for Patients

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. If the spread is not controlled, it can result in death.

Although cancer is often referred to as a single condition, it actually consists of more than 100 different diseases. These diseases are characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Cancer can arise in many sites and behave differently depending on its organ of origin. Breast cancer, for example, has different characteristics than those of lung cancer. It is important to understand that cancer originating in one body organ takes its characteristics with it even if it spreads to another part of the body. For example, metastatic breast cancer in the lungs continues to behave like breast cancer when viewed under a microscope, and it continues to look like a cancer that originated in the breast.

Types of Cancers

Cancers are classified in two ways: by primary site, or the location in the body where the cancer first developed; and by the type of tissue in which the cancer originates (histological type). This section introduces the first method: cancer classification based on primary site.

In this sense, main cancers are:

Risk Factors

Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths. Another 10% is due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity and drinking alcohol. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation and environmental pollutants. In the developing world nearly 20% of cancers are due to infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human papillomavirus (HPV). These factors act, at least partly, by changing the genes of a cell. Typically many genetic changes are required before cancer develops. Finally, approximately 5–10% of cancers are due to inherited genetic defects from a person’s parents.

Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer can be detected by certain signs and symptoms, such as a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss and a change in bowel movements (although these symptoms may indicate cancer, they may have other causes than cancer). Cancer can also be detected by screening tests that typically suggest to be further investigated by doctors with medical imaging and confirmed by biopsy, as well as other procedures, such as our Innovative Diagnosis Solutions, based on non invasive blood tests.

Prognosis

Cancer can be treated very well for many people. In fact, more people than ever before lead full lives after cancer treatment, but it is important to note that cancer that is diagnosed at an early stage, before it’s had the chance to get too big or spread is more likely to be treated successfully. If the cancer has spread, treatment becomes more difficult, and generally a person’s chances of surviving are much lower, and that is the mission of BIOPROGNOS: “To improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for cancer, by developing innovative, non-invasive, accurate, and cost-effective diagnosis solutions”.