Introduction- An Overview of Cancer
Our body contains about a trillion cells which constantly keep dividing to form new cells and replaces the old ones. It is only when a type of cells start dividing incessantly and directionless, it turns into what we call cancer. Cancer is a much wider term for a group of related disorders.
Once the cancer is developed, the new cells formed are no longer defined in terms of size, shape or function. The cancerous cells are abnormal and do not perform any function. In the malignant form of cancer, they can spread and invade the surrounding cells, and also reach distant places through blood or the lymphatic system to form new tumors. However, benign tumors are usually confined to one place and do not spread to the surrounding areas.
Note – All benign tumors are usually harmless except the brain benign tumors, which can be life-threatening.
Why is Turkey a preferred destination for cancer treatment?
Turkey is a worldwide popular destination across the globe for medical treatment. The country tops the list when it comes to its cultural and historical appeal. Also, the panorama is such that, the medical tourists feel relaxed during their treatment leading to increased chances of improvement and positive results. Not only this, Turkey has been attracting a lot of international patients due to its hospital infrastructure, which is a result of years of large-scale investments by both the public and private sectors.
For instance, according to the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council, in the year 2017, the country rendered its medical services to approximately 765,000 patients from 144 countries.
In addition to this, Turkey has great connectivity internationally. The airlines are increasing the number of flights to Turkey each passing year. Turkish Airlines have started providing flight rates at much-discounted prices.
Some other advantages of getting a cancer treatment done in Turkey are:
- Adequate cost of cancer treatment.
- Quality medical care
- Precise diagnosis
- No language barrier
- Standardization of every treatment in terms of quality.
- No waiting list
Some of the most common treatments done in Turkey for cancer are:
- Robotic surgeries by Da Vinci robotic technologies
- Surgical intervention
- Hormonal therapy
Cancer causes and symptoms
Causes of cancer
The doctors think that there is no single cause for behind cancer. Instead, it is a combination of multiple factors which poses a risk or a threat for cancer. These factors may be social, environmental or genetic. Some of the most common risk factors for cancer are:
- Family history or genetics – Anyone who has a family member such as a parent, grandparent or sibling having a medical history of cancer, is more prone to develop cancer.
- Lifestyle – Certain lifestyle habits such as excessive smoking, drinking, or increased consumption of junk food act as a great threat for cancer in adults.
- Occupational factors such as working with toxic chemicals for years may also lead to cancer.
- Exposure to certain viruses – Viruses including Epstein-Barr Virus and HIV are the main causes behind AIDS (Auto-Immune Deficiency Syndrome), which in turn leads to an increased risk behind cancer, especially in children. Some of the examples for such cases are Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. Moreover, a virus may also alter the cell structure in some way and these changes become cancerous and produce more cancer cells.
- Environmental factors – Continuous exposure to environmental chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. Such types of chemicals may also cause cancer in prenatal and infant stage.
- Other than this, children who are exposed to high-dose chemotherapy or radiation in the prenatal stage or otherwise have increased chances of malignancy later. Even a cancer treatment or a different type of cancer can lead to a second malignancy.
Role of gene mutations in causing cancer:
A gene mutation is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence. A gene mutation can alter the functioning of a healthy cell in the following ways:
- A gene mutation can instruct a cell to grow and divide more rapidly.
- A mutation may also suppress the gene that tells the cells when to stop dividing.
- A mutation in a DNA repair gene may cause hindrance in the correction of errors.
A gene mutation can be caused as a result of the following reasons:
- An infant may be born with a genetic mutation inherited from the parents.
- Other mutations can occur as a result of smoking, radiation, hormonal imbalance, viruses, chronic inflammation or cancer-causing chemicals known as carcinogens.
Signs and symptoms
The exact signs and symptoms of cancer depend upon the type of cancer and where it has occurred or areas affected.
What are the ways in which cancer can affect our body? There are multiple ways:
- As a tumor grows, it pushes the surrounding structures such as nearby organs, blood vessels, or nerves.
- Any tumor in critical areas such as the brain, even a small tumor can cause severe symptoms.
- On the other hand, in organs such as the pancreas, cancer may not manifest any symptoms until it grows large enough.
- Tumors growing around bile duct blocks the flow of bile juices and show symptoms of jaundice.
- Other than the area-specific symptoms, cancer can also involve some general signs and symptoms such as fatigue, fever, or unexplained weight loss. This is because the cancerous cells also consume most of the body’s energy and also affect the immune system.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with cancer are:
- Abnormal weight changes
- Lump under the skin
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising
- Hoarseness of voice
- Changes in bladder or bowel habits
- Difficulty breathing
- Changes in skin colour
- Joint or muscle pain
Cost of cancer treatment in Turkey
On average the cancer treatment can cost you around 2000 USD in Turkey. However, the exact cost may vary from case to case. The cost may be as low as 600 USD and as high as 3000 USD. Here is a cost comparison for cancer treatment in the top three medical destinations across the globe.
Several factors contribute to deciding the exact cost of cancer treatment. These factors are:
The complexity of the case– Patients with a complicated and critical case may be charged higher than others as even a minute mistake can lead to fatal consequences.
The reputation of the hospital – some hospitals, which are popular for their treatment charge higher than the other hospitals to all patients.
Fees of the doctor– Doctors who are highly experienced and renowned in their fields usually charge more fees than others.
Cost of living – The cost of your accommodation place and commuting from one place to another also adds to the overall cost of your treatment.
City – some cities are more expensive than others in terms of general living expenses. For example, Gurgaon and New Delhi are more expensive than cities like Hyderabad.