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Common Cancers

Cancer, a term seems distant yet familiar. Cancer is closely related to anyone of us; it may appear from nowhere and turn your life upside down without any warning signs. Indeed, it accounts for 30% death in Hong Kong, which is the main cause of death. Thus, it is vital for us to learn about what cancer is and its preventive measures. Let’s start from the ten most common cancers in Hong Kong.

Lung cancer has been leading cause of cancer death in Hong Kong for both men and women since the HK Cancer Registry opened in 1983. The high mortality rate is due to late presentation as majority of patients do not have symptoms when the disease is still at its early stages.

Link of smoking to lung cancer has been recorded for hundreds of years. The landmark study was carried out in the UK by Doll and Hill. It was a prospective study of 40,000 male doctors that compared cigarette consumption with lung cancer deaths, finding a strong dose response relationship.

As lung cancer has such a high incidence and mortality rate. Public should increase their awareness towards this disease starting at a young age. This booklet gives you information on the prevention, screening methods, classifications, clinical symptoms, diagnostic tests, staging and treatment plans for lung cancer.

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Colorectal cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the most common cancer since 2012. It is also one of the most preventable types of cancer. Some common clinical presentations of colorectal cancer include change of bowel habit, abnormality stool observed (narrow shaped/ red or dark blood in stool), abdominal pain, fatigue, etc. Cancer screening like colonoscopy could be done if one is over 50 years old and repeat regularly according to the findings. Colorectal cancer often develops from colonic polyps, colonoscopy can help removing these polyps and biopsy tests can be performed to determine its nature.

Once colorectal cancer is confirmed, over 80% of them can be cured by combination of colectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or targeted therapy. However, a stoma may be left as a consequence of the treatment. Patient and patient’s relatives have to learn about the care of it and psychological counseling may be needed to let them accept this new part of the body.

This book is very informative which is written by many experts specialized in different fields, including doctors, nurses, dietitian and statistician. It talks about the incidence, trend, risk factors, symptoms, preventions, diet principle and different treatment methods of colorectal cancers. It also educates people about stoma care and other nursing cares for colorectal cancer patients.

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Woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer has increased rapidly over the past ten years. The median age with the disease diagnosed is around 50 years old in Hong Kong. It is also the third most deadly cancer among woman population in Hong Kong. These worrying numbers remind women it is time to pay more attention on this topic.

Besides an unhealthy lifestyle, late menopause, woman without childbirth or breastfeeding also increases the chance of developing breast cancer. Early detection can maximize the prognosis of breast cancer. Breast Self-Examination is encouraged to perform by every woman regularly, if there is any abnormalities found (breast lumps, nipple discharged, skin changes), clinical breast examination and mammography should be performed as soon as possible.

Mastectomy, Breast Conservation Treatment can be done to remove the primary breast tumor; some cases may be followed by radiotherapy to reduce the chance of recurrence. Other treatment methods like chemotherapy and hormonal therapy are also useful in treating breast cancer.

Based on the researches and statistics conducted in Hong Kong and the practical situations encountered by Hong Kong patients, this book uses a very interactive approach to introduce breast cancer and its treatments. In the format of Questions and Answers, in order to let the public understand this complicated disease more easily.

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Liver cancer is a common and venomous cancer in Hong Kong. Men are much more likely to have liver cancer than women. According to the Hong Kong Cancer Registry, over 75% of people who suffer from this disease are men.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common liver cancer in Hong Kong and over 80% of it is related to hepatitis B infection. Therefore hepatitis B and hepatitis C carriers are high risk population. Chronic hepatitis can lead to liver cirrhosis, which highly increases the chance of developing liver cancer. Alcohol is another risk factor of developing liver cirrhosis therefore Hepatitis B carriers must quit smoking and drinking. Liver is a very important organ which responsible for multifunction in our bodies. For example detoxification, regulate blood glucose level, break down hemoglobin, produce bile and kill bacteria. Damage of this organ is fatal, therefore many researches have been done to improve the prognosis of liver cancer patients.

As a result, a variety of treatment choices are available to suit different needs of the patients. Methods like hepatic resection, liver transplantation, Lipiodol chemoembolization, cryosurgery, and radiofrequency ablation, high intensity focused ultrasound and targeted therapy are in use to combat liver cancers.

Yet the best treatment is prevention. By reading this booklet, not only can you know about how to prevent liver cancer, you can also learn more about the functions of liver, the causes of liver cancer, its incidence and trends. Last but not least, the pros and cons of various treatment methods are included.

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The numbers of prostate cancer new cases have increased tremendously over past few years. However, over 80% of the people who diagnosed with prostate cancer is 65 years old or above and it is a slow growing disease. Therefore the aging population is believed to be one of the reasons for this increasing trend; however other factors cannot be eliminated too. Some common symptoms of prostate cancer are difficulty in passing urine, blood in urine, frequency of urination and bone pain. Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) performed by doctors and blood test for Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) are common screening methods for prostate cancer. However, there is not enough evidence to support their effectiveness on reducing mortality rate successfully. Therefore population screening for prostate cancer is not recommended by experts in both Hong Kong or overseas. Nevertheless, there are still many treatment options for people who diagnosed with prostate cancer. Depending on the staging and the patient’s condition, suitable treatments like prostatectomy, radiotherapy (external/ brachytherapy), chemotherapy or hormonal therapy will be given to maximize patient’s benefit. This booklet will talk about the incidence, risk factors, symptoms and diagnostic tests of prostate cancer. Different treatments with pros and cons will also be elaborated more comprehensively.

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Stomach cancer is related to poor eating habits, consuming too much processed food is one of the causes of it. Besides, an infection caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori is also a common risk factor of stomach cancer.

Early screening tests can help preventing or detecting stomach cancers, examinations like oseophago-gastrodudenoscopy (OGD) or imaging tests like CT scan and PET scan can be done to confirm the diagnose and the stages of it. However, the prognosis is not good for people who are suffering from stomach cancer. There are 4 stages of stomach cancer; the 5-year survival for a curative resection is 30-50% for stage II cases, lower if the staging is higher.

This booklet tells you more about the risk factors, the information on Helicobacter pylori, signs and symptoms of stomach cancer, its diagnosis, treatment methods and their complications accordingly. The interesting part of this book is not only does it recommend the diet for prevention of stomach cancer, it also suggests what stomach cancer patients should or should not eat, a few healthy recipes are recommended for your reference.

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Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is more common in males than females, unlike other cancer; the incidence rate of NPC is the highest in middle aged men (40-50 years old). However, with the help of new drugs, early detection and better imaging, the incidence rate and mortality rate of NPC are both declining gradually over the past 10 years.

NPC is hard to detect at early stages, people with family history or history of EBV infection should perform the diagnostic tests like MRI, CT scan, EBV serology and blood tests as soon as possible. The survival rate is much higher (almost doubled) if NPC is detected in early stages.

Despite the incidence, causes, investigations and staging of NPC, this book also mentions some early warning signs of NPC, their treatments at different stages and clarifications of some false assumptions made by public.

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The incidence of skin cancer has increased by almost 100% in the past decade. In local Chinese, the most common skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma (BCC), which accounts for 60% of all skin cancers, followed by squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) then melanomas. Both BCC and SCC are non-melanoma skin cancers in which most cases can be cured by surgical excision or radiotherapy, whereas melanoma has a much higher mortality rate.

The spiking of skin cancer incidence may be related to some common false assumptions in people’s mind, for example occasional sun bathing for prolonged time is safe, children do not need sunscreen, artificial solar tanning is harmless, etc. With the correction of these wrong concepts, skin cancer is actually highly preventable.

This booklet highlights the features of different types of skin cancers, their prognosis, treatments and preventions in order to increase people’s awareness to skin cancers and at the same time, correct the false assumptions made by public.

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There are two main types of lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphomas and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a more deadly disease than Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The risk factors of lymphoma are not completely certain, but experts believe it is related to EBV infection, autoimmune diseases, family history and exposure to certain chemicals. There are many subtypes of lymphomas even after dividing into Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the exact types of lymphoma can be determined by tests like tissue biopsy, blood test and bone marrow aspiration. Traditional treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be used, while immunotherapy and radio-immunotherapy are also some new breakthrough in the treatment of lymphomas. With the right treatments, 80-90% of early stages of Hodgkin’s lymphomas can be cured while 60-70% for late stages. For non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas however, only around 70% of patients with early stages can be cured and 30-50% for late stages.

This booklet mentions the differences between Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, their causes, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and staging, traditional and advancing treatment methods, prognosis and the nursing care for patients who receive different treatments.

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Brain tumor is not a very common cancer. Its recovery chance actually reaches around 60% if it is detected earlier. However, the causes of it still remain uncertain.

There are mainly two types of malignant brain tumors, primary and secondary. Primary starts in the cells of the brain while secondary is transferred from another part of the body through bloodstream. As different parts of brain responsible for different functions, patients with brain tumors may present different signs and symptoms. Some may have seizure, tinnitus, vomiting, limbs numbness or loss of memory. Diagnosis should be confirmed with scanning like MRI scan and NM scan then suitable treatments like operation, chemotherapy or radiotherapy should be given according to the needs of patients.

This booklet gives a general picture of brain tumors, it includes the trend, brain anatomy, signs and symptoms, types of tumors, diagnostic tests and treatments in order to increase public’s understanding towards this disease and diminish their fear towards brain tumors.

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Cervical cancer is closely related to HPV infection. Women who practice early sex, unsafe sex or having multi-sex partners are more prone to cervical cancers. If someone got infected with HPV, with early detection, it is highly curable. It usually takes 5-8 years for an infected cervix to become cancerous.

For confirmed cervical cancers, stage I and stage II cases usually have 65-96% of 5-year survival rate after appropriate treatments while 35-50% for stage III cases and 15-20% for stage IV cases.

This booklet introduces the pathology, risk factors, screening tests and their abnormal findings, methods of prevention, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, staging, treatment methods and their complications and recurrence rate of cervical cancers. It also suggested some Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) where women can receive screening tests for gynecological matters.

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There are more than four hundred new ovarian cancer cases each year in Hong Kong, mostly diagnosed after menopause with 51 years old the median age of incidence. This booklet introduces the risk factors, diagnostic methods, staging and treatments of Ovarian Cancer.

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Thyroid cancers diagnosed in Hong Kong are usually found early, with the advancement of treatments, they are highly curable. Therefore the mortality of thyroid cancers is rather low in Hong Kong. However, due to the slow growing nature of the tumor, regular follow up is essential to prevent cancer recurrence. This booklet mainly introduces the causes, classifications, trends and treatments of thyroid cancers.

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