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  • Overview
  • CANSPIRE
  • Types of Cancers
  • Patient Care & Health Info
  • Warrior's Stories
  • Patient Support Group

Overview

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases of the same type. When a person is affected by cancer, their body’s cancerous cells begin to divide and spread into surrounding tissues. Cancer can start on any cell of any organ in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

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Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases of the same type. When a person is affected by cancer, their body’s cancerous cells begin to divide and spread into surrounding tissues. Cancer can start on any cell of any organ in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place. When cancer develops, however, this orderly process breaks down. Damaged cells survive, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumors. Many cancers form solid tumors which are masses of tissue. Cancers of the blood, such as leukemia, generally do not form solid tumors. Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can spread onto and invade nearby tissues. In addition, as these tumors grow, some cancer cells can break off and travel to distant places in the body through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor. Unlike malignant tumors, benign tumors do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. Benign tumors can sometimes be quite large. When removed, they usually don’t grow back, whereas malignant tumors sometimes do. Unlike most benign tumors elsewhere in the body, benign brain tumors can be life threatening.

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CANSPIRE

On this World Cancer Day 2021, Aster Medcity Kochi is announcing our commitment in reducing the impact of cancer on the lives patients and promising them proper and authentic treatment by launching our cancer awareness campaign program the 'CANSPIRE'.

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On this World Cancer Day 2021, Aster Medcity Kochi is announcing our commitment in reducing the impact of cancer on the lives patients and promising them proper and authentic treatment by launching our cancer awareness campaign program the 'CANSPIRE'. World Cancer Day is observed internationally to raise awareness of the disease and encourage the prevention of cancer. 70% of the total cancer cases in India are potentially preventable, yet millions of people die from the disease. This situation points to the lack of cancer awareness, diagnosis and proper treatment. Only by raising awareness and education about cancer and by encouraging discussions about the ailment, we can save the lives of millions of innocent people.

Aster Medcity is committed to providing the best treatment to the patients. Aster has a holistic approach to cure the diseases where the integrity of the human body is respected. Our approach to cancer treatment is multidisciplinary and evidence-based. Where countless institutions promise misdiagnosis and quick treatment, we stand for quality treatment, hundred per cent patient satisfaction and commitment to treating them well.

The multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment is the unique attribute of Aster Medcity alone. Our Oncology team studies and interacts with each Centre for Excellences to provide the most accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Our diagnosis is assisted by cutting edge technology and an expert team of specialists that ensures effective treatment.

The CANSPIRE campaign aims to resonate, inspire change and mobilise action in cancer treatment and diagnosis. Our conversations have an enormous impact on the lives of others. In our community where cancer is most dreaded, and the specificities of the treatment are not openly discussed, we want to bring in a change by inspiring people to talk about it. We want to commence the trend of conversations from the patient perspective. Collective actions and discussions can improve cancer awareness among the general public and defend them from the far-spreading misconceptions, fake news, and misdiagnosis.

Cancer treatment at Aster Medcity is aimed to ensure the total wellbeing of the patient, his mind and body. Aster oncology team doesn't believe in hyper-intrusive treatments and excessive chemo sessions that drain the energy out of the patients. Our approach is to attack the cancer cells without harming the entire body. Our Oncology team of expert doctors and specialists ensure that the patient's quality of life is not affected by either the disease or the treatment methods. As the Senior Consultant of Surgical Oncology, Dr Jem Kalathil, quoted; our motto is Minimal treatment at maximum effect while preserving organs.

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CANCER TREATMENT TEAM SPEAKS

Types of Cancers

PROSTATE CANCER

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control. The prostate is a gland found only in males. It makes some of the fluid that is part of semen.

The prostate is below the bladder (the hollow organ where urine is stored) and in front of the rectum (the last part of the intestines). Just behind the prostate are glands called seminal vesicles that make most of the fluid for semen. The urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, goes through the center of the prostate.

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What are the symptoms?

  • Frequent urination
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow, or the need to strain to empty the bladder
  • The urge to urinate frequently at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • New onset of erectile dysfunction
  • Pain or burning during urination, which is much less common

Who is most likely to get prostate cancer?

All men are at risk for prostate cancer. Out of every 100 men, about 13 will get prostate cancer during their lifetime. The most common risk factor is age. The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer.

Can you ever be cured of prostate cancer?

The short answer is yes, prostate cancer can be cured when detected and treated early. The vast majority of prostate cancer cases (more than 90 percent) are discovered in the early stages, making the tumors more likely to respond to treatment.

What is the main cause of prostate cancer?

Doctors know that prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate develop changes in their DNA. A cell's DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do. The changes tell the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do. The abnormal cells continue living, when other cells would die.

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LYMPHOMA

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. It develops in lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell. These cells help fight disease in the body and play an essential role in the body’s immune defenses.

As this type of cancer is present in the lymph system, it can quickly metastasize, or spread, to different tissues and organs throughout the body. Lymphoma most often spreads to the liver, bone marrow, or lungs.

People of any age can develop lymphoma, but it is among the most common causes of cancer in children and young adults aged 15–24 years. It is often treatable.

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What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of lymphoma are similar to those of some viral diseases, such as the common cold. However, they typically continue for a more extended period.

Some people will not experience any symptoms. Others may notice a swelling of the lymph nodes. There are lymph nodes all around the body. Swelling often occurs in the neck, groin, abdomen, or armpits.

The swellings are often painless. They may become painful if the enlarged glands press on organs, bones, and other structures. Some people confuse lymphoma with back pain.

Lymph nodes can also swell during common infections, such as a cold. In lymphoma, the swelling does not resolve. Pain is also more likely to accompany the swelling if it has occurred due to an infection.

The overlap of symptoms can lead to misdiagnosis. Anyone who has persistently swollen glands should see their doctor for a consultation.

How long could you have lymphoma without knowing?

These grow so slowly that patients can live for many years mostly without symptoms, although some may experience pain from an enlarged lymph gland. After five to 10 years, low-grade disorders begin to progress rapidly to become aggressive or high-grade and produce more severe symptoms.

Can lymphoma be completely cured?

In a few cases, chemotherapy may be combined with steroid medication. Surgery isn't generally used to treat the condition, except for the biopsy used to diagnose it. Overall, treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is highly effective and most people with the condition are eventually cured.

How is lymphoma detected early?

The best way to find lymphoma early is to pay attention to the possible signs and symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is enlargement of one or more lymph nodes, causing a lump or bump under the skin which is usually not painful. This is most often on the side of the neck, in the armpit, or in the groin.

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HEAD AND NECK CANCER

What is head and neck cancer?

Head and neck cancer is a general term used by doctors. It describes the diverse group of malignant tumors that can occur in the head and neck region.

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What are the Symptoms?

  • Mouth ulcer
  • Lump in the neck, jaw, or mouth
  • Pain or weakness in the face
  • Neck pain
  • Difficulty moving the jaw
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Ear pain or hearing loss
  • Trouble breathing
  • Sore throat
  • White or red patches in the mouth or throat
  • Weight loss

Who is at risk for head and neck cancer?

  • People over the age of 40
  • Poor oral and dental hygiene
  • Poor care of the mouth and teeth may increase the risk of head and neck cancer
  • Environmental or occupational inhalants

What does a cancerous lump in the neck feel like?

Cancerous lymph nodes can occur anywhere on the neck and are typically described as firm, painless, and sometimes may be immovable.

Can you feel cancer in your neck?

  • A lump in the neck may be a sign of thyroid cancer, or it may be caused by an enlarged lymph node. Swelling in one or more lymph nodes in the neck is a common symptom of head and neck cancer, including mouth cancer and salivary gland cancer.
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LUNG CANCER

What is lung cancer?

Cancer of the lung, like all cancers, results from an abnormality in the body's basic unit of life, the cell. Normally, the body maintains a system of checks and balances on cell growth so that cells divide to produce new cells only when new cells are needed. Disruption of this system of checks and balances on cell growth results in an uncontrolled division and proliferation of cells that eventually forms a mass known as a tumor.

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What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of lung cancer are varied depending upon where and how widespread the tumor is. Warning signs of lung cancer are not always present or easy to identify. Lung cancer may not cause pain or other symptoms in some cases. A person with lung cancer may have the following symptoms:

● Symptoms related to cancer:

The growth of cancer and invasion of lung tissues and surrounding tissue may interfere with breathing, leading to symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, and coughing up blood (hemoptysis). If cancer has invaded nerves, it may cause shoulder pain or other difficulties. For example, if it has invaded the shoulder nerves, it may cause shoulder pain that travels down the outside of the arm (called Pancoast syndrome) or paralysis of the vocal cords leading to hoarseness. Invasion of the esophagus may lead to difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). If there is an obstruction of a large airway, collapse of a portion of the lung may occur and cause infections (abscesses, pneumonia) in the obstructed area.

● Symptoms related to metastasis:

Lung cancer that has spread to the bones may produce excruciating pain at the sites of bone involvement. Cancer that has spread to the brain may cause several neurologic symptoms that may include blurred vision, headaches, seizures, or cause symptoms of stroke such as weakness or loss of sensation in parts of the body.

Paraneoplastic symptoms: Symptoms that result from the production of hormone-like substances by the tumor cells frequently accompany lung cancers. These paraneoplastic syndromes occur most commonly with SCLC but may occur with any tumor type. A common paraneoplastic syndrome associated with SCLC is the production of a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) by the cancer cells. Subsequently, adrenal glands (Cushing's syndrome) produces excess cortisol hormone. The most frequent paraneoplastic syndrome seen with NSCLC is the generation of a substance similar to parathyroid hormone, resulting in a high level of calcium in the bloodstream.

● Nonspecific symptoms:

Nonspecific symptoms are seen with many cancers, including lung cancers, such as weight loss, weakness, and fatigue. Psychological symptoms like depression and mood changes also are common.

How does lung cancer start?

Lung cancer starts when abnormal cells grow out of control in the lung. They invade nearby tissues and form tumors. Lung cancer can start anywhere in the lungs and affect any part of the respiratory system. The cancer cells can spread, or metastasize, to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

At what stage is lung cancer usually diagnosed?

In most cases, patients first diagnosed with either type have stage IV disease. As their names suggest, these lung cancers are diagnosed when a pathologist identifies a specific type of diseased cell. Designating the type of lung cancer is the critical first step in understanding treatment options.

Can you have lung cancer for years and not know it?

Patients can (and usually do) live with lung cancer for many years before it becomes apparent. Early lung cancer is mostly asymptomatic. Internalization of tumors does not alert patients by visible physical changes.

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GYNECOLOGIC CANCERS

The female reproductive system performs several functions. The ovaries produce the egg cells, called the ova or oocytes. The oocytes are transported to the fallopian tube, where fertilization by a sperm may occur. The fertilized egg then moves to the uterus, where the uterine lining has thickened in response to the normal hormones of the reproductive cycle. Once in the uterus, the fertilized egg can implant into the thickened uterine lining and continue to develop. If implantation does not take place, the uterine lining is shed as menstrual flow. Also, the female reproductive system produces female sex hormones that maintain the reproductive cycle.

During menopause, the female reproductive system gradually stops making the female hormones necessary for the reproductive cycle to work. At this point, menstrual cycles can become irregular and eventually stop. One year after menstrual cycles cease, the woman is considered to be menopausal.

A. Uterine cancer:

What is uterine cancer?

Uterine cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the uterus. Most uterine cancer begins in the layer of cells that form the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. Risk factors include being overweight and starting periods at an early age.

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What are the symptoms?

  • Pain areas: in the pelvis
  • Pain circumstances: can occur during sexual intercourse.
  • Menstrual: abnormal menstruation, heavy menstruation, or irregular menstruation
  • Also common: abnormal vaginal bleeding or weight loss

Does uterine cancer spread quickly?

The most common type of endometrial cancer grows slowly. It is most often is found only inside of the uterus. It grows more rapidly and tends to spread to other parts of the body.

How dangerous is uterus cancer?

If left untreated, endometrial cancer can spread to the bladder, rectum, vagina, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and many other distant organs as well. Fortunately, endometrial cancer grows slowly and, with regular checkups, is usually found before spreading very far.

What causes cancer of the uterus?

Although the exact causes of uterine cancers are not known, there are several risk factors. Common risk factors include women with endometrial overgrowth (hyperplasia), obesity, women who have never had children, menses beginning before age 12, menopause after age 55, estrogen therapy, taking tamoxifen, radiation to the pelvis, and a family history of uterine cancer.

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B. Cervical cancer

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, play a crucial role in causing most cervical cancer.

When exposed to HPV, the body's immune system typically prevents the virus from harming. However, in a small percentage of people, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to become cancer cells. You can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by having screening tests and receiving a vaccine that protects against HPV infection.

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What are the symptoms?

It can be asymptomatic but people may also experience:

  • Pain areas: in the pelvis
  • Pain circumstances: can occur during sexual intercourse.
  • Menstrual: abnormal menstruation, heavy menstruation, irregular menstruation, or spotting
  • Groin: abnormal vaginal bleeding or abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Also common: fatigue, nausea, or weight loss

How do you get cervical cancer?

All women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women over age 30. Long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the leading cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sex.

At what age does cervical cancer occur?

Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44. The average age of diagnosis is 50. It rarely develops in women younger than 20.

How do you beat cervical cancer?

  • Cryosurgery- This treatment kills cancer cells by freezing them.
  • Laser surgery- This treatment uses a laser to burn off cancer cells.
  • Conization- It is also called a cone biopsy.
  • Hysterectomy- A hysterectomy takes out the uterus and cervix.
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C. Ovarian Cancer

Cancer begins in the female organs that produce eggs (ovaries).

Ovarian cancer often has no symptoms in the early stages. Later stages are associated with symptoms, but they can be non-specific, such as loss of appetite and weight loss. Surgery and chemotherapy are the most common treatment options.

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What are the symptoms?

  • Can have no symptoms, but people may experience:
  • Pain areas: in the abdomen or pelvis
  • Gastrointestinal: bloating, change in bowel habits, indigestion, or nausea
  • Abdominal: abdominal fullness, fluid in the abdomen, or lump in the abdomen
  • Whole-body: cancer-related fatigue or loss of appetite
  • Also common: weight loss

What is the primary reason for ovarian cancer?

Inherited gene mutations are the leading cause of ovarian cancers. A small percentage of ovarian cancers are caused by gene mutations you inherit from your parents. The genes known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer are called breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2). These genes also increase the risk of breast cancer.

Do you bleed with ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is cancer in one or both of the ovaries. It is vital to know the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. These can include bloating, frequent urination (with no infection), back pain, heartburn, and pain during intercourse and unexplained bleeding.

How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

  • Transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS). TVUS is a type of imaging test that uses sound waves to detect tumors in the reproductive organs, including the ovaries.
  • Abdominal and pelvic CT scan.
  • A blood test to measure cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) levels.
  • Biopsy.

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Patient Care & Health Info

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Warrior's Stories

Patient Support Group

Aster Medcity has launched Aster cancer support group, Samasta, and Aster one-stop breast clinic as part of the breast cancer awareness month programmes on Saturday. Actor Aparna Balamurali inaugurated the cancer support group and Commander Jelson Kavalakkat, CEO, Aster Medcity, the one- stop breast clinic at a function held at the hospital.

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Aster Medcity has launched Aster cancer support group, Samasta, and Aster one-stop breast clinic as part of the breast cancer awareness month programmes on Saturday. Actor Aparna Balamurali inaugurated the cancer support group and Commander Jelson Kavalakkat, CEO, Aster Medcity, the one- stop breast clinic at a function held at the hospital.

The cancer support group was launched with an intention of creating a rapport between the cancer survivors, who had undergone treatment Aster Medcity, and patients who are currently undergoing treatment at the hospital. According to the hospital authorities, Samasta will provide a platform for the patients to share their experience in-between and it will give them emotional support and counseling.

Aster one-stop breast clinic was launched with the aim of facilitating breast cancer detection early. At the one-stop breast clinic, a person with suspected case of breast cancer will be provided consultation and investigation on the same day. It will enable diagnosis on the second day itself and thereby avoid agony of waiting for a definitive diagnosis.

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Patient Testimonials

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