New Facts about Cancer May Surprise You

New Facts about Cancer May Surprise You

The facts about cancer are changing, and new facts about cancer may surprise you. Research by the World Health Organization shows a sharp increase in the number of cancer cases worldwide. According to an article in USA Today, the number of cancer cases will increase within two decades to approximately 22 million a year from 14 million a year in 2012.

Conversely, these estimates come at a time when cancer patients in America are experiencing better outcomes overall. While more than one million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, cancer is more survivable today than at any time in America’s history.

Today, more than 10 million Americans with a history of cancer have entered remission, are receiving treatment, or are considered cured, according to the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. And cancers overall have a 65 percent survival rate.

But while survival rates are higher, more people die each year from cancer as the U.S. population grows. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, individuals can take steps to help lessen their odds of getting the disease.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, being vigilant about check-ups and knowing the signs of cancer are essential to helping prevent cancers and ensuring that cancers are caught early enough for successful treatment. That’s where you come in.

Recognizing the early signs of cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, you should take C-A-U-T-I-O-N when trying to recognize the early signs of cancer:

Change in bowel or bladder habits

A sore that does not heal

Unusual bleeding or discharge

Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or anywhere else on the body

Indigestion or difficulty swallowing

Obvious change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole, or mouth sore

Nagging cough or hoarseness

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see a doctor right away.

Contributing Factors

There are many factors that contribute to an increased chance of developing cancer:

  • Genetics
  • Tobacco Use
  • Diet and Physical Activity
  • Sun and UV Exposure
  • Exposure to Radiation
  • Carcinogens
How can you decrease your chances of getting 12 types of cancer? Experts say healthy diet and exercise are the key.

How can you decrease your chances of getting 12 types of cancer? Experts say healthy diet and exercise are the key.

How can I change my lifestyle to decrease my chances of developing cancer?

The American Cancer Society reports that approximately one-third of the more than 500,000 cancer-related deaths each year are directly linked to poor nutrition, physical inactivity and/or being overweight or obese.

By making conscious choices to adopt or maintain healthy habits, chances of developing cancer decrease. Here are a few suggestions:

Don’t smoke

Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States and is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths, killing more people than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide and illegal drugs combined, according to The American Cancer Society.

Stay active and eat healthy

Being physically active and eating healthy are the top two ways to reduce your risk of developing cancer, besides not smoking. Those who are overweight or obese have an increased chance of developing several cancers including, breast, colon and rectum, endometrium, esophagus, pancreas, kidney and others, according to the American Cancer Society.

Adults should be completing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week.

Children should engage in 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity each day.

Sedentary behavior should be limited for both groups.

A healthy diet is also crucial. For a full list of dietary recommendations visit the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

It’s never too late to start. Start today.

Protect yourself from UV rays

Seek shade when spending long periods of time outdoors always use sunscreen. The sun is the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so it is best to limit sun exposure during these peak times. Hats and sunglasses are useful tools as well that protect the delicate skin on our heads and faces.

Types of Cancer

In most cases, cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of cells that form a tumor. Cancers of the blood do not form tumors. According to the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, more than 100 different diseases are identified as cancer. These cancers are categorized into five main groups, according to the National Cancer Institute. These include the following:

Central nervous system cancers begin in the spinal cord and tissues of the brain.

  • Leukemia starts in blood-forming tissues and causes mass production of abnormal blood cells to enter the blood.
  • Lymphoma and myeloma begins in the immune system cells.
  • Carcinoma begins in the skin or in the tissues that line or cover the internal organs. Sub-categories of carcinoma include adenocarcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and transitional cell carcinoma.
  • Sarcoma begins in connective or supportive tissue such as bone, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels.

Common Types of Cancer

The most common types of cancer diagnosed in the United States include the following:

  • Breast
  • Prostate
  • Lung
  • Melanoma
  • Bladder
  • Colon and Rectal
  • Endometrial
  • Kidney
  • Leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic
  • Prostate
  • Thyroid

What are different treatment options for cancer?

  • Surgery is used for cancers that appear to be localized. Other treatments may be used in conjunction with surgery.
  • Chemotherapy is used to treat cancer cells that have spread to different parts of the body. It can be used to cure cancer, keep the cancer from spreading, slow the cancer’s growth and to kill cancer cells based on the stage of the cancer.
  • Radiation is used for localized cancer and destroys cancer cells through either high-energy rays or implants in the body that are placed near the tumor.
  • Biologic Therapy strengthens the immune system to fight cancer, slow down cancer cell growth or repair normal cells that have been damaged by other cancer treatments such as radiation.

During the month of February, the American Cancer Society is promoting cancer prevention and, on Tuesday, Feb. 4, the entire world will join forces to fight cancer for World Cancer Day 2014.

Learn more about preventing cancer and treatment options from these sources:

The American Cancer Society

USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center



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