10 questions and answers about cancer

prof. dr. Bülent Çitgez answered the most frequently asked questions about cancer because of “April 1-7 Cancer Week”.

1. What should I do to detect cancer early?

The symptoms of each cancer are different. Symptoms can vary depending on the organ where the cancer is located and the function of the organ in the body. For example, while breast cancer patients register because of a tumor in the breast, colon cancer patients consult a doctor with complaints of anemia and constipation. To detect cancer early, it is vital to perform routine health checks at certain times. It is also important to carry out routine checkups according to age and risk group.

2. Do breast masses turn into cancer?

Not every mass in the breast is cancerous, and not every mass turns into cancer. However, it is important to consult a breast surgeon and have the necessary radiologic checks done without wasting time in sudden and rapidly developing and growing masses. As with any cancer, the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the more effective the treatment.

3.Can pets be fed during the treatment process?

There is no harm in feeding pets, provided they are vaccinated and hygiene is maintained during the cancer treatment process. It can even be said that the strong emotional bond between patients and pets positively influences the treatment process.

4. Does the risk of infection increase during treatment? How should he take precautions?

The immune system can be suppressed, especially depending on the drugs taken during chemotherapy. For this reason, patients can inevitably become vulnerable to infectious agents. During this period, it is important to stay away from the crowd and wear a mask, especially in winter. In the summer months, the midday sun should be avoided.

5. Does cancer treatment reduce the chance of having children in young patients?

Because chemotherapy reduces egg reserves, especially in young women, the chance of pregnancy decreases, but this does not mean that these patients cannot have children. The risk of not having a child is greater in patients close to menopause. In the treatment process, measures such as egg collection and freezing can be taken to increase the chances of having a child. This increases the chance of pregnancy at the end of the treatment with the in vitro fertilization method.

6. Does the pain of the mass in the breast indicate that it is malignant?

Not every mass in the breast causes pain. Cystic lesions in the breast and mastitis, called mastitis, can be a source of pain. However, when a mass is detected in the breast, whether or not there is pain, investigation and radiological evaluation are required.

7. Can patients undergoing cancer treatment go abroad or travel?

Whether or not the patient can travel during the treatment period may vary depending on the stage of the disease and the adequacy of the person’s immune system. If the patient’s immune system is suitable, traveling can do no harm.

8. Is it risky to get pregnant during or after chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy can be used during pregnancy. However, pregnancy is not strongly recommended, especially right after the end of breast cancer treatment. Hormone surges during pregnancy can cause breast cancer.

9. What should be considered in nutrition during cancer treatment?

In fact, nutrition is not at the forefront of cancer treatment and etiology. However, it is necessary to stay away from ready-made and packaged foods, foods containing preservatives, smoked, pickled and burnt foods. Seasonal and naturally derived foods should be consumed as much as possible. It is the right approach to consume the foods that are most suitable and plentiful in season. As an example, consuming tomatoes and watermelons in summer and oranges in winter can be mentioned.

10. Should soy products be avoided in patients with breast cancer? Should we check for soy in every product we buy?

Soy and soy products have an oestrogenic effect. For this reason, it is beneficial to stay away from soy and foods containing soy products, especially in patients with risk factors and/or those being treated for breast cancer.

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