What is Cancer?
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Cancer cells grow and divide like normal cells. However, they outlive normal cells and continue to create more abnormal cells. There are more than 100 different types of cancer which are usually named by the organ or location of the body they affect. Metastasis, or the spreading of cancer, usually occurs through the bloodstream or lymph system. In addition to spreading, cancer cells also tend to form tumors (lumps or masses), but not all tumors are cancerous.
- Benign Tumors – are not cancerous and don’t usually spread to other parts of the body. If they are found, they are normally removed.
- Malignant Tumors – are cancerous and can spread to near by tissue and other parts of the body.
What Causes Cancer?
Anybody can get cancer, and cancer may be diagnosed at any age. The causes of cancer are unknown, and research to discover causes and cures continues today. Different types of cancer have different risk factors, understanding more about these risk factors can help you prevent cancer. If you have a risk factor, your chance for getting cancer is increased. Fortunately, you can reduce or eliminate some risk factors. Not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, and getting plenty of exercise can all help reduce your risk for cancer. Other risk factors, such as your age, ethnicity, family history and inherited genes, cannot be changed.
Cancer Prevention & Early Detection
There are various ways to prevent different types of cancer. Three simple ways to help prevent many types of cancer for adults and children:
- Don’t smoke.
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet.
- Get plenty of exercise.
What cancer screenings should you have—and when?
Last year, an estimated 1.4 million Americans learned they had cancer. Many of these cases were identified through routine screenings given or ordered by primary care physicians. For easy reference, use the chart for women and men below, which is based on the American Cancer Society recommendations. Remember–if you are at high risk for a particular kind of cancer due to your family history or other risk factors, you may be advised by your doctor to be tested earlier or more often. In addition to administering the right tests at the right time, your doctors can also work with you to make lifestyle changes that may protect you against cancer.