The prostate gland is a small gland found only in males. It produces the seminal fluid that helps transport the sperms. The prostate gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. As the name itself suggests, prostate cancer begins at the prostate gland, when the cells grow and multiply uncontrollably.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and it may show no signs or symptoms in the early stages. However, patients with prostate cancer have higher chances of complete recovery if the cancer is detected early.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

As mentioned above, prostate cancer does not show any signs or symptoms during the earlier stages. Some common symptoms visible during the advanced stage of prostate cancer are:

  • Trouble urinating, or the need to urinate more often than usual
  • Blood present in the urine
  • Blood in the semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain in the bones – especially the hips, spine, and ribs
  • A feeling of weakness/numbness in the feet
  • Loss of weight

While most of these signs and symptoms may point to several other underlying conditions or diseases, it is necessary to talk to your healthcare provider if these symptoms are persistent or continue to worsen.

What causes prostate cancer?

Though the causes of prostate cancer remain unclear, it is known prostate cancer occurs when the cells in the prostate mutate. The mutation causes cells to grow and multiply rapidly, forming abnormal cells. The abnormal cells continue living, while the healthy cells die. These growing abnormal cells form a tumor and invade the nearby tissues or organs. Gradually, these abnormal cells also spread to the other parts of the body, causing cancer to grow.

Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

Several factors can increase the risk of prostate cancer, such as:

Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. Prostate cancer is more prevalent among men over the age of 50.

Ethnicity: For reasons unknown and undetermined, prostate cancer is more common among men of African-American descent. As per to, African-American men tend to get diagnosed with prostate cancer at an earlier age, and the cancer is likely to be aggressive in growth.

Family History: Men with a family history of prostate cancer have higher chances of being diagnosed with the same. A strong family history of breast cancer can also increase the chances of one developing prostate cancer.

Obesity: People who are obese have higher chances of developing prostate cancer, compared to those who maintain a healthy weight.

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects that you might have prostate cancer, he might enquire about your symptoms such as urinary and sexual problems. He might also ask you about possible risk factors such as your family history to analyze the chances of you developing prostate cancer. after this, the doctor will run several diagnostic tests to diagnose the disease:

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): During this, the doctor might insert a gloved finger into your rectum to examine the prostate, and feel for any bumps or hardened areas. If the doctor finds any abnormalities in the shape or size of the gland, he may advise further tests.

PSA Blood Test: A blood sample is taken and tested for PSA. PSA stands for Prostate-specific Antigen, which is a protein produced by the prostate gland. It is normal for a small amount of PSA to be found in your bloodstream. However, if it is higher than usual, it may be an indication of prostate cancer.

Ultrasound: During this test, a small probe is inserted into the rectum, and uses soundwaves to create images of the prostate gland.

MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan may be suggested by your doctor to create a more detailed picture of your prostate gland.

Biopsy: The doctor may also collect a sample of cells in your prostate gland to check for signs of cancerous cells. This procedure is known as a prostate biopsy. A thin needle is inserted into the prostate to collect a sample of the tissue.

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the doctor may use tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI to determine the stage of cancer.

Treating Prostate Cancer

The treatment for prostate cancer depends on how aggressive the cancer is and the extent it has spread. The right treatment option will also be chosen depending on the side effects and their impact on overall health.

Surgery: This involves removing the prostate gland, along with some nearby tissues and lymph nodes. Surgery is usually performed when the cancer is confined to the prostate. It may also be used to treat advanced prostate cancer combined with other treatment methods.

Radiation Therapy: This involves using high-powered radiation to kill the cancerous cells. This can be performed externally (external beam radiation) or internally (brachytherapy), by placing radiation sources in the prostate tissue.

Cryotherapy: This treatment involves using extremely cold gases to freeze the prostate tissue. After this, the tissue is allowed to thaw, and the procedure is repeated.

Hormone Therapy: This treatment stops the body from producing testosterone, the male hormone. Since prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to grow, cutting the hormone supply may cause the cancerous cells to die.

Chemotherapy: This therapy uses drugs to kill the rapidly growing cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is usually used when cancer has spread to the other organs and areas of the body.

Immunotherapy: As the name itself suggests, this therapy involves using the immune system to fight cancer cells. The immune system usually does not attack cancer cells as they produce proteins that help protect the cancer cells. Immunotherapy interferes with this process.

Targeted Therapy: This treatment emphasizes the abnormalities present in the cancerous cells. Targeted therapy blocks and combats these abnormalities, causing the cancer cells to die.

Though several factors increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, early detection and following a healthy lifestyle can help nip prostate cancer in the bud. Though certain risks such as age, family history, and ethnicity cannot be avoided, other factors such as obesity can be avoided by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Talk to your healthcare provider immediately if you notice certain symptoms and take the necessary precautions!

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. According to the World Health Organization, there were 2.21 million cases in the year 2020. It is the most common cause of death around the world. Patients have a 13 times better chance of living for five years if they are diagnosed early. Lung Cancer Awareness Month (LCAM) is celebrated every year in November to raise awareness about the disease and continue to challenge the stigma associated with lung cancer.

The goal of the month is to urge individuals to seek medical assistance sooner rather than later, to encourage early diagnosis so that patients have the best chance of a successful treatment, and to emphasise other key aspects that affect patient outcomes. Educating people on the complexity of lung cancer, the vast spectrum of people who are affected, and the harmful effects of lung cancer stigma can aid in earlier diagnosis and better patient treatment. Furthermore, LCAM is also an occasion to highlight therapeutic developments, advocate for global access to care, and, most importantly, demonstrate our support for patients and their loved ones.

Facing the stigma

Lung cancer is often misunderstood to be solely a smoker’s disease. However, more than half of individuals diagnosed are former smokers or non-smokers. This misunderstanding has been associated with poor outcomes due to factors like waiting too long to seek treatment, disease-related distress, a lack of social support, and poor care quality.

What you need to know about Lung cancer

Cancer is a condition in which the cells of the body grow out of control. Lung cancer is cancer that starts in the lungs and spreads throughout the body. Lung cancer begins in the lungs and can spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body, including the brain. Cancer that has spread to other organs may extend to the lungs as well. Metastases are the spread of cancer cells from one organ to another.

There are two types of lung cancer:

Small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) are the two forms of lung cancer. This classification is based on the appearance of tumour cells under a microscope. Making the distinction between these two types of tumours is critical since they develop, spread, and are treated differently.

SCLC accounts for roughly 10% to 15% of all lung malignancies. This form of lung cancer is the most aggressive and fastest-growing of all. Cigarette smoking is highly linked to SCLC. SCLCs spread quickly throughout the body, and they are usually detected after they have spread widely.

The most common type of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for roughly 85% of all occurrences. NSCLC is divided into three categories based on the cells detected in the tumour. They are as follows:

  • Adenocarcinomas, like other lung cancers, are linked to smoking, this form is also seen in nonsmokers, particularly women, who get lung cancer. The majority of adenocarcinomas develop in the lungs’ periphery. They have a proclivity for spreading to lymph nodes and beyond.
  • Squamous cell carcinomas used to be more common than adenocarcinomas, but now they make up around 25% to 30% of all lung cancer cases. Squamous cell tumours are most common in the bronchi of the central chest. This type of lung cancer tends to stay in the lung, spread to lymph nodes, and grow large enough to produce a cavity.
  • Large cell carcinomas, also known as undifferentiated carcinomas, are the least prevalent kind of NSCLC, accounting for 10% to 15% of all lung cancer cases. This malignancy has a significant proclivity for spreading to lymph nodes and distant locations.
  • Adenocarcinomas, like other lung cancers, are linked to smoking, this form is also seen in nonsmokers, particularly women, who get lung cancer. The majority of adenocarcinomas develop in the lungs’ periphery. They have a proclivity for spreading to lymph nodes and beyond.
  • Squamous cell carcinomas used to be more common than adenocarcinomas, but now they make up around 25% to 30% of all lung cancer cases. Squamous cell tumours are most common in the bronchi of the central chest. This type of lung cancer tends to stay in the lung, spread to lymph nodes, and grow large enough to produce a cavity.
  • Large cell carcinomas, also known as undifferentiated carcinomas, are the least prevalent kind of NSCLC, accounting for 10% to 15% of all lung cancer cases. This malignancy has a significant proclivity for spreading to lymph nodes and distant locations.

Types of Treatment

Depending on the type of lung cancer and how far it has gone, there are numerous treatment options. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatments can be used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is usually treated with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

  • Surgery: A procedure in which surgeons remove cancerous tissue from the body.
  • Chemotherapy: Special medications are used to shrink or kill cancer cells. The drugs can be pills that you consume or medicines that are injected into your veins, or both.
  • Radiation therapy: Treatment that involves the use of to kill cancer, high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) are used.
  • Target therapy: Drugs are used to stop cancer cells from growing and spreading. The drugs can be taken orally or administered intravenously. Before targeted therapy is employed, tests will be performed to determine if it is appropriate for your cancer type.

In the treatment of lung cancer, doctors from various specialties frequently collaborate. Pulmonologists are doctors who specialise in lung illnesses. Surgeons are medical professionals who carry out procedures. Thoracic surgeons specialise in surgery of the chest, heart, and lungs. Medical oncologists are doctors who specialise in using medications to treat cancer. Radiation oncologists are doctors who use radiation to treat cancer.

It is important to educate yourself and your loved ones about the most common type of cancer so that lives can be saved. If you notice anything unusual contact your doctor immediately.

While the thought of cancer as a whole is daunting, one needs to understand that the disease presents itself in different forms. In essence, cancer is when the cells within a body start to mutate at an unnatural pace & cannot be stopped. While this is the common form, many women suffer from a variation of it called Ovarian Cancer.

Ovarian cancer occurs when cancerous growths begin at the ovaries. The female reproductive system has two ovaries on either side of the uterus. The ovaries are responsible for producing eggs (ova) as well as releasing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Ovarian cancer usually goes undetected in the early stages. In most cases, it is detected only when cancer has spread to the pelvis and the abdomen, making it difficult to treat. If the tumors are benign (non-cancerous) in nature, they are confined to the ovaries and do not spread. However, if the tumors are malignant, they spread to the nearby organs and can be fatal.

What are the types of ovarian cancer?

The ovaries are made up of three types of cells. Each of them can develop into a different kind of ovarian cancer. The different types of ovarian cancer are:

Epithelial Tumors: These tumors begin from the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovaries. Over 90% of ovarian cancers are epithelial tumors. These tumors can be benign (non-cancerous), borderline (low malignant potential), or malignant (cancerous).

Ovarian Stromal Tumors: These tumors start from the structural tissue cell that produces the female hormones – estrogen and progesterone. These tumors can be diagnosed at an earlier stage as compared to the other types of ovarian tumors.

Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors: Germ cells are responsible for producing eggs (ova) in women. These tumors begin in the germ cells. Most germ cell tumors are usually benign. This rare type of ovarian cancer tends to occur in younger women.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

In the early stage, ovarian cancer hardly causes any symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. Advanced-stage ovarian cancer may cause certain symptoms that may often be mistaken for other common, benign conditions or illnesses.

Some of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating/swelling in the abdomen, feeling full quickly while eating, change in bowel habits, pain/discomfort in the pelvic area, frequent urination, and loss of weight.

In case these symptoms are more frequent and don’t go away soon, it is advisable to visit your doctor and rule out the possibilities of ovarian cancer. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer, you may talk to a medical practitioner about the risk of developing the same.

How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

After analyzing your symptoms, if the doctor suspects ovarian cancer, he/she will conduct a pelvic exam to diagnose the condition. During the pelvic exam, the doctor will insert gloved fingers into the vagina, while simultaneously pressing the abdomen to examine your pelvic organs. The doctor also examines your external genitalia and cervix visually.

The doctor may also suggest imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan to determine the size and the shape of the ovaries. Imaging tests can also show if a mass of tissue is present in the pelvic area, but they cannot confirm if the mass is cancerous. Blood tests may also be conducted to determine the presence of tumor markers that indicate ovarian cancer.

After diagnosing ovarian cancer, the next step would be to stage cancer to finalize the treatment options.

What does ovarian cancer surgery involve?

Surgery is not only one of the main treatment methods for ovarian cancer, but it is also a diagnostic tool to determine ovarian cancer. The goal of the surgery for ovarian cancer is to know how far cancer has spread and removed as much of the tumor as possible. The type of surgery will depend on the stage of cancer and your overall health.

Before the surgery, your doctor may run blood and urine tests a week before to ensure that you are healthy enough to undergo the surgery. Your doctor may also take a chest x-ray and ECG to check your heart rhythm.

Surgery for ovarian epithelial tumors:

The surgery for ovarian epithelial cancer has 2 main goals – staging and debulking.

Staging: This is the first goal of ovarian cancer surgery. Staging is done to see how far cancer has spread from the ovary to the organs. This process involves removing the uterus, along with both the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Some samples of the lymph nodes in the pelvis and abdomen are taken through biopsy. Staging is extremely important as it helps determine the best way to treat the condition.

Debulking: The next goal of the surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible. This is known as debulking. This is especially important if cancer has spread across the abdomen. Debulking is done to ensure that no tumor larger than 1 cm is left behind.

Surgery for ovarian stromal tumors:

In most cases, ovarian stromal tumors are confined to just one ovary. So, the affected ovary will be removed through the surgical procedure. If cancer has spread further, the tissues in the surrounding areas may have been removed. The main goal of the surgery for ovarian stromal tumors is to remove cancer.

Surgery for ovarian germ cell tumors:

For most ovarian germ cell tumors, the uterus, both ovaries, and the fallopian tubes are removed. If the cancer is confined to just one ovary and you want to retain the ability to bear children, only the affected ovary and the fallopian tube are removed.

Depending on the type and stage of ovarian cancer, your doctor may choose the type of surgery along with other treatment methods such as chemotherapy. Though the surgery will ensure that the cancerous tumors have been removed, it is important to follow up with your healthcare practitioner on the after-care and the possible side effects of the surgery. You can also incorporate certain lifestyle changes to keep yourself healthy and prevent a relapse.

Cancer refers to a disease/condition in which cells grow and multiply uncontrollably in one organ to form a tumor, and spreads to the other parts of the body. Tumors can either be cancerous or benign. As the name itself suggests, ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the ovaries. The female reproductive system contains two ovaries on each side of the uterus, which are responsible for producing eggs and estrogen.

Though not common, ovarian cancer causes more deaths among women than other types of cancers. In most cases, it is difficult to detect ovarian cancer in the early stages. Ovarian cancer goes undetected until it has spread to the pelvis, abdomen, and nearby areas.  In this advanced stage, the cancer is quite difficult to treat. However, early-stage ovarian cancer that is confined to the ovaries is more likely to be treated successfully.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

As mentioned earlier, ovarian cancer is unlikely to be detected in the earlier stages as there may be fewer to no symptoms. The early symptoms may also resemble those of other conditions such as premenstrual syndrome and other bladder-related problems. However, it is important to consult with your medical practitioner if the symptoms persist. Some of the most common ovarian cancer symptoms include:

  • Immense pain or pressure in the pelvic area
  • Abnormal bloating
  • Pain in the back/abdomen
  • Unusually frequent/less frequent urination
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal bleeding

The symptoms also tend to change when cancer spreads to other parts of the body. It is important to make an appointment with your doctor if any of these symptoms worry you, or if you have a family history of ovarian cancer.

Causes of Ovarian Cancer

Though there are no definitive causes that lead to ovarian cancer, there are several factors that can increase the risk of one being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. These risk factors include:


The risk of developing ovarian cancer increases with age. Ovarian cancer mostly develops in women who have reached menopause. Around 50% of ovarian cancer cases are found in women above the age of 63.

Family history of cancer

Having a near family member with a history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or even colorectal cancer, can increase the risk of developing the condition. This is because cancer can be caused by an inherited mutation in certain genes.

Hormone replacement therapy

Women undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) after menopause is at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The longer the Hormone Replacement Therapy is given, the higher the risk. However, the risk reduces when the treatment stops.

Reproductive history

Women who have undergone one or more full-term pregnancies are at a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding also contributes to reducing the risk of ovarian cancer. However, having children after the age of 35 or never having a full-term pregnancy can increase the risk.

Breast cancer

Women diagnosed with breast cancer or with a history of breast cancer are also at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. This is mostly due to the changes in the BRCA gene.


Obesity has been linked to the risk of developing many types of cancer. Women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30 are more likely to develop breast cancer.


Having high levels of androgens (male hormones), such as testosterone may increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Certain androgens lead to specific types of ovarian cancers.

Prevention of  Ovarian Cancer

Most women are likely to have one or more risk factors that may lead to ovarian cancer. Like most cancers, though there aren’t sure-shot ways to prevent ovarian cancer, you can work towards reducing and eliminating certain risk factors that may lead to the condition. Some of the precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk are:

Maintain a healthy weight

One of the most common causes/risk factors for all cancers is obesity. Ensure that you maintain a healthy weight and follow good dietary habits with an exercise routine to keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) in check.

Avoid HRT

Avoiding Estrogen Hormone Replacement Therapy after menopause can reduce the risk of developing the disease considerably.

Birth control pills

Using oral contraceptives, commonly known as birth control pills, decreases the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Talk to your healthcare provider about birth control pills and which ones may be right for you. However, birth control pills also have certain side effects and other associated risks, so discuss the advantages and disadvantages before taking them.

Gynecologic surgeries

Gynecologic procedures such as tubal ligation and hysterectomy may help in reducing the risk of certain types of ovarian cancer. However, these procedures have to be done only for valid medical conditions, and not just the reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Women who have had one or more full-term pregnancies before the age of 26 have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer as compared to women who have not. Breastfeeding helps in lowering the risk even further.

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you can discuss with your medical practitioner about the various treatment methods. You need to understand the pros and cons of each treatment option before finalizing one. Some of the most common treatment options for ovarian cancer include surgery to remove the tumors, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Treatment can also vary depending on the type and stage of ovarian cancer.

Though there are no definitive ways to prevent ovarian cancer, it is important to be aware and fully informed of the symptoms. Approach your doctor or healthcare provider immediately, if you notice one or more of these symptoms in you or your loved ones; as early detection saves lives. You can also work towards reducing certain risks associated with the disease by following a healthy lifestyle and taking precautions. Remember, prevention is better than cure!

Ovarian cancer is the third most common gynecological cancer in Indian women. and it causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. While the rate at which ovarian cancer can be fatal is 1 in 108, it is a hopeful statistic that the rate at which women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer has been slowly falling over the past 20 years.

What is Ovarian Cancer?

The ovaries are small organs located on either side of the uterus. Their function is to produce eggs for reproduction. Ovarian cancer can form in different parts of the ovary.

Germ cells are the cells that become eggs in the ovaries, stromal cells make up the substance of the ovary,  and epithelial cells are the outer layer of the ovary. Ovarian cancer can start in either of these cells.

Genetic mutations that are responsible for cancer may be hereditary or they can be acquired. Doctors studying ovarian cancer are trying to identify which of these mutations are responsible for cancer. Ovarian cancer can develop in a woman of any age, although it is most commonly diagnosed in postmenopausal women between the ages of 55 and 64

How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?

Pelvic Exam

Pelvic exams are routine exams done by a primary-care doctor or an obstetrician-gynecologist. The doctor feels for an enlarged ovary and any signs of fluid in the abdomen by inserting two gloved fingers into the vagina and places the other hand on the abdomen. This helps the doctor to check the size, shape, and consistency of the ovaries and uterus.

A pelvic exam may also help to detect conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical polyps, uterine fibroids, genital warts, bacterial vaginosis, etc.

While detecting ovarian cancer through a pelvic exam is rare. The doctor may ask the patient to take a few more tests to confirm a diagnosis.

Imaging tests

Transvaginal ultrasound:

Imaging tests such as a transvaginal ultrasound uses high-energy sound waves to detect abnormalities like ovarian tumors, etc. These abnormalities may appear as solid or as a fluid-filled cyst. This imaging test also helps visualize the size of the ovary along with other irregularities in the reproductive system, i.e, the vagina, the bladder, the fallopian tubes.

The doctor or ultrasound technician inserts a probe into the vagina to capture images of the organs and tissues.

Ovarian biopsy: While ultrasound can detect an irregularity, it can’t determine whether the mass is cancerous or not. This requires a biopsy.

A CT scan or a Computed tomography is used to locate a tumor before surgery. It can also help determine tumor size, and detect whether or not the other organs are affected. An MRI or magnetic resonance imaging has greater soft tissue contrast than a CT scan and hence is extremely useful in detecting tumors or recurrences in other organs in the body. This is why an MRI is often used in combination with other tests as part of the evaluation process.

Positron emission tomography-computed tomography or a (PET/CT) scan is sometimes used to help diagnose ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer. The scan can measure a tumor’s ability to use a type of sugar: glucose. Faster growing cells utilize more sugar and show up brighter on this imaging test, hence indicating the presence of cancer.

Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

The treatment of ovarian cancer depends on factors such as the type of ovarian cancer, the stage at which it is, and whether or not one wants to have children in the future.


Once the diagnosis and the stage of the cancer are determined, cancer can be removed via surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon will remove all the tissue that contains cancer. The doctor might also ask the patient to take a biopsy to see if cancer has spread.

If one wants to have children in the future but has stage 1 cancer, the surgery can include the following modifications:

  • removal of the ovary that has cancer
  • biopsy of the other ovary
  • biopsies of other tissues and collection of fluid inside of the abdomen for further evaluation
  • removal of the fatty tissue, or omentum connecting to the abdominal organs
  • removal of abdominal and pelvic lymph nodes

Advanced ovarian cancer surgery

If one has stage 2.3 or 4 cancer, and one does not want to have children in the future, the surgery is more extensive.

The procedure includes the complete removal of areas and organs involved with cancer

Removal of:

  • The Uterus
  • Both the ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • The omentum
  • As much tissue that has cancer cells

And biopsies of any tissue that might be cancerous.


Chemotherapy is usually the next step after surgery. Medications can be given through the abdomen or intravenously.

Some side effects of chemotherapy can include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • hair loss
  • fatigue
  • problems sleeping

Ovarian cancer is a serious condition that comes with a physical as well as an emotional toll on the patient. It is highly advisable that one that is experiencing the symptoms mentioned above immediately consult their doctor to undergo the proper diagnosis. It is important to understand every aspect of the condition before going into treatment.