– AN OVERVIEW**
ABSTRACT: Cancer a malignant tumor is not such a
disease as with single etiology, definite identifiable
clinical features and established planned management
with definite outcome. The etiology is diverse, some of
which are known and many others are yet to be revealed.
The clinical features may mimic benign tumors, metabolic
and other disorders. The cancer risk has been found to
be predominantly related to environmental factors which
is about 65%. Heritable factors contribute about 26% to
42%. The tumor may remain localised for some period. But
the most critical problem regarding character of cancer
is its mode of unpredictable and uncertain spread
(Metastasis) to distant places which may be revealed or
occult and solitary or at multiple sites anywhere in the
body. The spread is commonly by lymph or blood.
Metastasis is the prime hindrance to assess the disease
status. All these factors create unrest in the mind of
clinician regarding plan of management and to foresee
the outcome of treatment, and prognosis. The most
hopeful part is that cancer risk from environmental
factors is about 65% and that this risk can be
drastically reduced adopting related preventive measures
viz. change in food habit, life style, vulnerable
occupations; total abstainment from addictions like
smoking or smokeless tobacco use, alcohol;
identification of heritable factors, high risk group and
preneoplastic conditions. Now a days cancer is not out
of reach. Many can be prevented, some can be cured and
others can be provided better life style or at least a
* Pallabi Apartment, Flat No. 3, 50/1, 50/2,
Street, Uttarpara, Hooghly-712 258. Former Head, Dept.
of Surgery, Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata.
** Based on lecture delivered at the XX Training Programme
on Science Communication and Media Practice-2006.