Cancer; what to do, who to talk to, resources & more...

Accountable for around twenty percent of all deaths in the United States, cancer is a disease that has baffled the medical profession for many years.

This disease develops when cells in a part of the body mutate or grow out of control. These abnormal cells can be the cause of many different types of cancer. Unlike normal cells, which die off, cancer cells divide to form additional abnormal cells, which then go on to replace the dying normal cells. The cell abnormality is due to damage in the person's D.N.A., which can be inherited or can be caused by environmental factors such as smoke or sun.

Many cancers take the form of a tumor; others, such as leukaemia, circulate through the blood and affect other bodily tissues as well. Sometimes cancer cells will go through a process called metastasis, where they travel to another part of the body, replacing normal cells and tissue with abnormal and mutated cells. There are many different types of cancer, all of which respond to different treatments and grow at various rates. Cancer treatment has to be tailored depending upon the type of cancer from which the patient suffers.

It is a frightening statistic, but it is likely that half of all men and one third of women in the Unites States will develop cancer at some point in their lives. This disease is the second leading cause of death in the Unites States, and there are millions of people who either have or have had cancer. There are ways of reducing the chances of contracting this disease, often referred to as 'the big C'. Lifestyle related changes, such as quitting smoking, changing the diet and reducing stress levels can help. However, cancer can be inherited, which means that the person's D.N.A. is already affected.

Over one million people each year get cancer, and 77% of diagnoses are made in people aged 55 and over...

Although there is no real cure for the disease at the moment, it can be treated and sent into remission. However, to maximise the chances of effective treatment, it is vital that the disease is detected early on. There are many risk factors that can increase the chances of getting caner. Some of these relate to medical and family history, some to lifestyle (such as smoking and diet), and some to environmental issues (such as long-term exposure to the sun). Cancers such as those of the lungs, cervix, pancreas, kidneys, larynx and bladder are strongly linked to tobacco use. Skin cancers are related to exposure to direct and strong sunlight; and breast cancer is normally linked to a family history of the disease, as well as age, hormone levels and obesity. Prostate cancer in men is also linked to family history, as well as age, race and diet.

It is highly recommended that all adults, especially those exposed to risk factors such as smokers or those with a relevant medical/family history, attend screening examinations to check for early signs of cancer. If it is detected early enough, the disease can be treated and controlled.


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