Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide and multiply uncontrollably. These cells do not respond to growth-inhibiting signals so as they multiply, they lose shape and boundaries. When these abnormal cells divide, they are formed in excess, which creates a tumor. Sometimes these tumor cells detach and enter the blood system or the lymphatic system. When this occurs, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body which is known as metastasis, which means the spread from one part of the body to another.
Genetics – although rare, some cancers are inherited by an abnormal gene passed down from one generation to another
Smoking – leading cancer causing agent is tar – tar has over 50 know chemicals which are linked to cancer
Sun – ultraviolet radiation (UV exposure)
Other Carcinogens – some examples are asbestos, lead, pollution, etc.
The American Cancer Society developed “C.A.U.T.I.O.N” as a way to identify cancer symptoms.
- C – Change in bowel or bladder habits
- A – A sore that does not heal
- U – Unusual bleeding or discharge
- T – Thickening or lump in the breast or any part of the body
- I – Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
- O – Obvious change in a wart or mole
- N – Nagging cough or hoarseness
The American Cancer Society estimates 1,596,670 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2011. This year alone, they are expecting 571,950 Americans to die from this disease.
I’m saddened every time I hear of a newly diagnosed case. Last year, my daughter’s 1st grade teacher found out that she had breast cancer. In September of 2009, I watched my friends 9 year old daughter lose the fight against brain cancer. It seems that the more and more people I talk with, the more cancer becomes an everyday topic. We have to find a cure! If you are a woman, make sure you get a yearly pap smear, breast exam, and a mammogram (my gynecologist recommends a mammogram at 37 years old). If you are a guy get your prostate checked. If you smoke, try to quit. I know that preventive care can’t catch all types of cancer but it is the step in the right direction.