Cancer » Heart Cancer
Heart cancer, also known as cardiac sarcoma, is an extremely rare form of cancer detected worldwide. The cancerous cells develop primarily in the heart and may spread to other vital organs in the later period. This is also known as primary cancer of the heart. There is another type of cancer known as secondary cancer of the heart. In this type, the cancerous cells develop in the organs other than the heart and may infect the heart or the adjacent areas later. The disease is highly curable but need urgent diagnosis on detection of any lumps or other abnormalities in the heart or nearby areas.
Understanding heart cancer
Heart cancer can be fatal if not treated in time and in the right manner. Heart performs the important function of pumping blood throughout the body. Hence, the presence of cancerous or malignant cells in the heart can severely impact the process of blood flow. Normally, the production of cells in the heart is very limited and occurs only as per necessities. New cells are generated only when the old cells are damaged and thus, the chances of abnormal behavior of cells are very less. This is the main reason for very few numbers of cases relating to the cancer of the heart.
Primary cancer of the heart occurs rarely. Most of the cases relating to the cancer of the heart belong to the secondary type. Cancerous cells can develop in any area of the heart. Angiosarcoma is the most common form of cancerous development in adults and originates mainly in the upper chamber on the right side of the heart (also known as atrium). Angiosarcomas develop in the cells forming the blood vessels lining and penetrate to other areas gradually.
Cardiac rhabdomyosarcoma is another important primary cancer of the heart and occurs mainly in children. It is also the second major type of primary cancer after angiosarcoma occurring in adults. It may develop in any area of the heart but mostly starts in the thick muscular layer of the heart called as myocardium. Other uncommon types of the cancer of the heart include schwannomas, fibrosarcomas, mesotheliomas, fibrous histiocytomas and cardiac liposarcomas.
The cancerous or malignant cells mostly develop in the outer layers and enter the inner layers with an increase in the severity of the disease. These malignant cells severely damage the healthy tissues and prevent them from working efficiently. These infected or damaged tissues are unable to supply blood, oxygen and other necessary resources to the cells present in various areas of the body. Thus, the process of development of cells gets derailed and a condition conducive for the growth of cancerous tumors is formed.
These cancerous cells also replace the normal cells and bring about a rapid division and growth of cells. Also, they prevent the old and normal cells from dying in the regular way and force them to behave abnormally. These excess and abnormal cells form groups and accumulate in the infected area. Thus, a lump is formed. This lump is also known as tumor and can be benign or cancerous.
The main difference between the benign and cancerous tumors is the cancerous ones metastasize rapidly while the benign ones restrict themselves to a particular region. Also, the cancerous tumors damage live and healthy tissues and cells badly while the benign ones do not indulge in such activities. Benign tumors are relatively easy to treat as they do not spread to other parts of the body and show rare chances of recurrence. Surgery is the most common form of treatment recommended for benign tumors. Cancerous tumors are comparatively difficult to eliminate as they can redevelop quite easily. Strong treatments like radiotherapy and chemical therapy is necessary to curb, if not to eliminate, the cancerous tumors.
How to tackle heart cancer?
There is no specific age group in which the cancer of the heart primarily occurs. Any person can be prone to it and the disease is equally common in men and women. People who are addicted to smoking and tobacco chewing are highly prone to the disorder. Also, excess consumption of alcohol must be avoided to minimize the chances of being infected by the cancer.
Weak immune system is another major cause of making your body susceptible to the development of cancerous cells in your heart. Weak immune system provides an atmosphere convenient for the malignant cells to grow comfortably and without any considerable opposition. Strong immune system is necessary to fight the malignant cells effectively and generate sufficient antibodies to protect you from infections.
Heart cancer shows symptoms quite similar to the cardiac arrest. Hence, any unrest or pain in the heart must be diagnosed immediately. Also, difficulties in breathing and sudden pains in the chest are some of the basic indications of the disease. Biopsy, ultrasound and electrocardiography (ECG) are some of the basic tests to detect abnormalities in the heart. Chest X-rays, ultrasound and positron emission tomography (PET) test are also some other common techniques to detect tumors. Some may also opt for endoscopy and computed tomography (CT) scan to examine their body internally.
Weakness, fatigue and unexpected weigh loss require urgent attention and medication. Irregularities in the heart beats are to be taken seriously as they may also lead to severe heart attack. Also, obesity impacts the functioning of heart badly and need to be controlled in time. Balanced diet with regular inclusion of salads is quite advantageous. Also, eating vegetables and fruits will help to protect your immune system and keep you healthy.
Heart cancer is treatable if diagnosed correctly and treated immediately. It is difficult to curb the infection if the tumors get malignant. Surgery is the most common form of treatment recommended in the initial stages of the disease. Chemical and radiation therapy is necessary to control the cancer cells already into an advanced stage. The treatments are strong and have high side effects. They must be taken under proper medical supervision.