Thomas J. Purgason, MD, FACP, PA

Internal Medicine located in Arlington, TX

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, and you might be unsure where to turn. At his private practice in Arlington, Texas, internal medicine physician, Thomas J. Purgason, MD, FACP, PA, works alongside other skilled professionals to help you determine the best way to treat your cancer, improve your lifestyle and wellness, and lower your risks. The right medical support, guidance, and treatments are crucial during this time. Dr. Purgason provides comprehensive care to assist in the treatment of different types of cancer. Call the office for more information.

Cancer Q & A

What is cancer?

Cancer is an umbrella term for numerous diseases that involve the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and can infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. Cancer can often spread throughout the body.

What are the symptoms of cancer?

Some general symptoms and signs that might be associated with cancer include:

  • Fatigue
  • A lump or an area of thickening that you can feel under your skin
  • Weight fluctuations, such as unintended weight loss or gain
  • Skin changes, such as darkening, yellowing, or redness of the skin, changes to existing moles, or sores that won't heal
  • Changes in bladder or bowel habits
  • Difficulty breathing or persistent cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent discomfort or indigestion after eating
  • Persistent unexplained joint or muscle pain
  • Persistent unexplained night sweats or fevers
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding

If you have any concerns or experience any unusual symptoms, visit Dr. Purgason for an evaluation.

What causes cancer?

Cancer is caused by DNA mutations or changes within the cells. The DNA inside each of your cells is packaged into a large number of individual genes that each contain a set of instructions telling the cell which functions to perform and how to grow and divide.

When errors occur in these instructions, the cell can stop its normal function and may become cancerous.

A gene mutation can tell a healthy cell to:

  • Grow and divide more rapidly
  • Fail to stop uncontrolled cell growth
  • Make mistakes when repairing errors in the DNA

Most gene mutations occur after birth and can be caused or exacerbated by a number of factors, such as smoking, radiation, cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens), viruses, obesity, hormones, a lack of exercise, and chronic inflammation.

In other instances, you might be born with gene mutations that you inherited from your parents.

Gene mutations do occur regularly as a normal part of cell growth; however, cells contain a mechanism that acknowledges when a mistake occurs and repairs the mistake to keep you healthy. If a mistake is missed a cell can become cancerous.

How is cancer treated?

After testing, such as a biopsy, imaging, and bloodwork, Dr. Purgason might recommend various treatments, including:

  • Lifestyle changes, including nutrition and appropriate exercise
  • Stress management
  • Assistance with smoking cessation
  • Medications to help treat inflammation, pain, or other symptoms

Dr. Purgason might recommend a surgery referral. Other treatments for cancer include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplant, hormone therapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy is a promising treatment that involves using your body’s immune system to identify and fight cancer.

If you’re dealing with cancer or would like to learn more information, call Dr. Purgason.