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What is Cancer?
• Cancer is a
condition in which
body cells become
abnormal and
within the body
• Normally, cells die
as they grow old
or become
damaged. The
dead cells are
replaced by new
cells. Cancer
develops when the
old or damaged
cells fail to die and
continue to
• These are
examples of old
cells that are
replaced by new
• The green cells
are the bad cells
that do not die and
continue to divide.
They have the
potential to
become cancer.
• The bad cells
continue to grow
until they form a
mass called a
“tumor” or
• The tumor
continues to divide
until it eventually
forms a lump and
disrupts the
organization of a
body part
• Tumors or
neoplasms refer to
“new growths”.
Not all of them are
malignant or
• Benign tumors,
rarely, if at all,
cause patients to
die from the
• Benign tumors
remain within the
original part of the
body where they
started to grow
• Malignant tumors
or cancers are
capable of
invading the blood
vessels, migrate
and grow in other
parts of the body.
• This process is
known as
• Example, if breast
cancer cells start
to grow in the
bone, how do we
name these
cancers now? Will
they be called
bone cancer?
• The breast cancer
cells growing in
the bone is now
called Metastatic
Breast Cancer
NOT bone cancer.
• The cancer cells
that metastasize
share the name of
the original tumor
Why is cancer dangerous?
• Cancer is dangerous
because it can grow in
other parts of the body
and disrupt
the functions
of these
other organs
Do all patients diagnosed with
cancer die from their disease?
• SOME cancers that
are detected early
can be cured.
Generally, these are
cancers that have not
yet metastasized
(“transferred”) to
other parts of the
• Unfortunately, not
all cancers have
especially if the
cancer is at an
early stage.
• Some cancers
have symptoms
only when they
have already
metastasized to
other parts of the
How will I know if I have
• The signs and symptoms of cancer
will depend on where the cancer is,
its size and how it affects other
organs or structures.
– A symptom is an indication of disease. It may be felt
or noticed by a person but may not be easily noticed
by anyone else.
– A sign is defined as an observation made by a doctor,
nurse, or other health care professional

• If cancer spreads, symptoms may

appear in different parts of the body
Signs & Symptoms of Cancer
are not specific
• That is why it is
important to
“screening” for
some cancers
especially if the
person has “risk
What is Screening?
• Screening refers
to testing persons
for cancer in the
absence of signs
or symptoms
• Screening
methods are
designed to check
for cancer in
people with no
signs or symptoms
• Detecting the cancer early through
screening allows doctors to detect
the cancer when it is small and less
likely to have spread to other parts
of the body. This also increases the
chances of successful treatment or
What are risk factors?
• Risk factors are
those things that
increase a
person’s chances
of developing
• Examples of risk
– Cigarette smoking
– Family history
– Dietary habits
– Exposure to
If a person undergoes screening,
does it mean that he will not
develop cancer?
• There is no test
that can detect all
kinds of cancer
• Screening tests
are only available
– Breast cancer
– Cervical cancer
– Colon & rectal
– Prostate cancer
– Lung cancer
What are the
Signs & Symptoms of
There are no signs or symptoms that
exclusively indicate presence of
cancer. However, the following are
conditions that MUST prompt a
person to consult a doctor.
These symptoms must not be
neglected especially if they have
been present for a long time or are
getting worse
Possible Signs & Symptoms of

Weight loss, night sweats & fever

Possible Signs & Symptoms of
Persistent cough or
blood-tinged saliva

Unexplained anemia
low blood count
Possible Signs & Symptoms of

• Blood in the
• Change in
bowel habits
Possible Signs & Symptoms of
Breast lump
Possible Signs & Symptoms of

Breast discharge
Possible Signs & Symptoms of

• Change in
• Blood in the urine
Possible Signs & Symptoms of
• Changes in wart or mole

• Non-healing sores in the mouth

Possible Signs & Symptoms of

Lump in the testicles

Possible Signs & Symptoms of

• Persistent lump or
swollen glands
Possible Signs & Symptoms of

swallowing Hoarseness
The above conditions do not
automatically indicate presence of
cancer. These conditions can also
be present in harmless situations but
it would be best for the person to be
seen by a doctor.
The Nine Warning Signs
C •Change in bowel or bladder habits.
A •A sore that does not heal.
U •Unusual bleeding or discharge.
T •Thickening of a lump in breast or elsewhere.
I •Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing.
O •Obvious change in a wart or mole.
N •Nagging cough or hoarseness.
U •Unexplained anemia.
S •Sudden, unexplained weight loss.
If you notice any major changes in
the way your body functions or the
way you feel, especially if they last
for a long time or get worse, let your
doctor know.
How can I prevent cancer?
Cancer Prevention Step 1

Don't use tobacco

Cancer Prevention Step 2

Eat your fruits &

Cancer Prevention Step 3

Watch the meats

you eat, choose
low fat meats
Cancer Prevention Step 4

Limit salt intake

Cancer Prevention Step 5

Limit cured, smoked

& processed foods
Cancer Prevention Step 6

Limit alcohol intake

Cancer Prevention Step 7

Stay active and

maintain a healthy
Cancer Prevention Step 8

Get immunized
Cancer Prevention Step 9

Avoid risky
Cancer Prevention Step 10

Get screened
The Philippine College of Physicians wishes to
acknowledge the following for their
invaluable efforts in the preparation of this

Denky dela Rosa, MD

Philippine Society of Medical