What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease that affects the body’s cells.  Under normal circumstances, cells reproduce allowing the body to heal, replacing worn out cells.  Sometimes cells are reproduced abnormally and continue to grow in an uncontrolled manner becoming cancerous.  These cells can damage the tissue that surrounds them as well as travel to other parts of the body causing secondary cancers or metastases.  Tumours consisting of non-cancerous cells that don’t spread beyond their immediate area are benign or not dangerous in their current state.  However they can be precancerous and require treatment.  If the cells start to spread to other areas of the body, the tumour becomes malignant or cancerous.

How can I prevent cancer and what are the risk factors?

Not all of the risks and causes of cancer are known.  But, there are various biological, chemical and physical agents called carcinogens that have been identified as catalysts for cancer.  To reduce your risk, it’s important to avoid carcinogens by:

  • Quitting smoking, one in nine cancers and one in five cancer deaths are due to smoking.Talk to your nearest Ramsay Pharmacy team regarding ways to help you quit smoking
  • Reduce alcohol consumption, about 3% of cancers are related to alcohol consumption
  • Maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables
  • Always wear sunscreen to reduce the risk of exposure to ultraviolet radiation.Chat with your Ramsay Pharmacist regarding the best sunscreen protection for your skin
  • Vaccinate, some cancers such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection can be associated with cervical and other cancers.Hepatitis B or C infection can be associated with liver cancer
  • Be vigilant and protect yourself if exposed to agents such as chemicals, dusts and industrial processes
  • Some cancers are unavoidable, being the result of inherited faulty genes so it’s important to understand your family health history in relation to cancer, always consult your GP

How is cancer treated?

Various treatments for cancer include surgery, drug and radiation therapy.  Your doctor will recommend the best approach based on the type of cancer you have, your general health, the treatments available, where the cancer started and where it may have spread. 

What are the symptoms experienced from cancer treatments and how can we help?

Different treatments may cause different reactions in people.  Symptoms may include vomiting and nausea, mouth ulcers or a feeling of constant dry mouth, dry or itchy skin and scalp.  As part of the Ramsay Health Care team, we understand the potential side effects and are here to support you with professional and quality care.   

Our knowledgeable and friendly pharmacy team are experienced in providing advice to manage the side effects experienced during treatment.  We provide a free consultation with a pharmacist to discuss treatment symptoms and develop a plan, in consultation with your doctor, to support you through your treatment.  To find your closest Ramsay Pharmacy, click here for locations.