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The diagnosis of cancer does not have to be a death sentence any more. Thanks to effective medicines, it is possible to live with cancer or even be cured today.

Cancer: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

In Germany alone around 480,000 people are newly diagnosed with cancer each year. According to information from the Robert Koch Institute (Zentrum für Krebsregisterdaten/ZfKD [Centre for Cancer Registry Data]), breast cancer and prostate cancer are still the most common tumour diseases in men and women today. The diagnosis "cancer" is still a life-changing experience for patients, although not every cancer has to be fatal. Advances in medical and pharmaceutical research, i.e., advances in early detection, diagnosis, and in treatment options with in part innovative drugs, make many peoples' course of cancer better, and often even cure it. In addition to genetic factors, avoidable risk factors play a role in cancer development. Tobacco consumption is the number one factor. But obesity, lack of exercise, and alcohol consumption can also promote the development of cancer.

How to recognise cancer

Cancer usually does not cause symptoms, especially in the early stage. But there are warning signals that can be indicators of the disease:

•    Palpable swelling, hardness, lumps on the skin, mucosa or in soft tissue, often not painful
•    Changes of the skin, moles or warts with respect to size, shape, and colour; jaundice; reddened and blotchy palms, or spider veins (web-like dilated blood vessels in the skin)
•    Pain of unclear origin
•    Changes in the breast or testes
•    Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpits, groin, or neck
•    Changes to an existing goitre
•    Persisting cough or changes in a long persisting cough and constant urge to cough
•    Bloody discharge when coughing
•    Chronic hoarseness
•    Shortness of breath
•    Persistent difficulties in swallowing
•    Blood in the seminal fluid
•    Bleeding after menopause or spotting between menstrual periods

Source: Deutsche Krebsgesellschaft [German Cancer Society]

How cancer is treated

In addition to surgery and radiation therapy, targeted treatment with drugs is a cornerstone in the fight against cancer. Aside from the required "anti-tumour effect", improving the quality of life and maintaining "activities of daily living" to the greatest extent possible is in the foreground, i.e. the ability to participate in daily life with the usual social activities. You can find a well structured overview on the various forms of cancer treatment on the pages of the Deutsche Krebsgesellschaft [German Cancer Society].


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