Cancer
Basic Information

Cancer

In most people's minds there is no scarier diagnosis than that of cancer.  Cancer is often thought of as an untreatable, unbearably painful disease with no cure. However popular this view of cancer may be, it is exaggerated and over-generalized. Cancer is undoubtedly a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012, and the number of new cases expected to rise by about 70% over the next two decades.  However, it is a misconception to think that all forms of cancer are untreatable and deadly. The truth of the matter is that there are multiple types of cancer, many of which can today be effectively treated so as to eliminate, reduce or slow the impact of the disease on patients' lives. While a diagnosis of cancer may still leave patients feeling helpless and out of control, in ma...

 
Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

What is cancer?

  • Normal cells in the body grow and divide for a period of time and then stop growing and dividing, and only reproduce themselves as necessary to replace defective or dying cells.
  • Cancer occurs when this reproduction of cells goes out of control.
  • Cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled, uncoordinated and undesirable cell division.
  • Unlike normal cells, cancer cells continue to grow and divide for their whole lives, replicating into more and more harmful cells.
  • As cancer cells divide and replicate themselves, they often form into a clump of cancer cells known as a tumor.
  • Tumors cause many of the symptoms of cancer by pressuring, crushing and destroying surrounding non-cancerous cells and tissues.
  • Tumors come in two forms.
  • Benign tumors are not cancerous and do not grow and spread to the extent of cancerous tumors. They are usually not life threatening.
  • Malignant tumors grow and spread to other areas of the body in a process known as metastasis.

For more information

What types of cancer can a person get?

  • Though cancer is often thought of as a single disease, there are, in fact, many different types of cancer.
  • Each type has a different set of risk factors, rates of progression, treatment options, and prognosis.
  • The subtypes of cancer get classified and named based on the area of the body where they are originally found.
  • Five of the most common types of cancer are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer.

For more information

What are the causes of cancer?

  • The causes of cancer are not fully understood, but years of research have brought to light risk factors that increase people's chances of getting particular types of cancer.
  • Some of these risk factors are unable to be avoided, while others can be avoided by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle.
  • For example, smoking cigarettes is an avoidable risk factor. Changing your lifestyle to get rid of unhealthy choices such as smoking can be difficult to accomplish (tobacco is an addictive drug and stopping smoking means beating that addiction), but the rewards are real.
  • Stopping smoking and similar healthy lifestyle changes will not insure that you never get cancer, but they will reduce your cancer risk.
  • This is true whether you have never had cancer before, or if you have previously beaten cancer and are wondering what you can do to reduce your chances of relapse.
  • Each specific type of cancer is different and consequently has a different set of associated risk factors.

For more information about risk factors for breast cancer
For more information about risk factors for colorectal cancer
For more information about risk factors for lung cancer
For more information about risk factors for prostate cancer
For more information about risk factors for skin cancer

What are the stages of cancer?

  • Following a positive identification of cancer, doctors will try to establish the stage of the cancer.
  • Cancers are ranked into stages depending on the specific characteristics that they possess; stages correspond with severity.
  • Determining the stage of a given cancer helps doctors to make treatment recommendations, to form a likely outcome scenario for what will happen to the patient (prognosis), and to communicate effectively with other doctors.
  • There are multiple staging scales in use.
  • One of the most common ranks cancers into five progressively more severe stages: 0, I, II, III, and IV. Stage 0 cancer is cancer that is just beginning, involving just a few cells. Stages I, II, III, and IV represent progressively more advanced cancers, characterized by larger tumor sizes, more tumors, the aggressiveness with which the cancer grows and spreads, and the extent to which the cancer has spread to infect adjacent tissues and body organs.
  • Another popular staging system is known as the TNM system, a three dimensional rating of cancer extensiveness. Using the TNM system, doctors rate the cancers they find on each of three scales, where T stands for tumor size, N stands for lymph node involvement, and M stands for metastasis (the degree to which cancer has spread beyond its original locations). Larger scores on each of the three scales indicate more advanced cancer.
  • Still another staging system, called summary staging, is in use by the National Cancer Institute for its SEER program. Summary stages include: "In situ" or early cancer (stage 0 cancer), "localized" cancer which has not yet begun to spread, "regional" cancer which has spread to local lymph nodes but not yet to distant organs, "distant" cancer which has spread to distant organs, and finally, "unknown" cancer to describe anything not fitting elsewhere.

For more information 

What are the symptoms of cancer?

  • Every type of cancer is different, and has a unique set of symptoms associated with it.
  • Some cancer symptoms are manifest outwardly, and are relatively easy to notice and identify (such as a lump in the breast for breast cancer, or blood in the stool corresponding to colorectal cancer).
  • Other symptoms are observable, but harder to decipher.
  • Still other forms of cancer produce no observable symptoms until they are at a very advanced (and therefore hard to treat) stage.
  • Specific symptom detail for cancer subtypes is provided in our cancer subtype documents.

For more information about breast cancer symptoms
For more information about colorectal cancer symptoms
For more information about lung cancer symptoms
For more information about prostate cancer symptoms
For more information about skin cancer symptoms

What are treatments for cancer?

  • Treatments vary based on the type, location, and size of the cancer being treated, as well as patient's age, medical history, and overall health.
  • Each form of cancer is different and calls for a different set of treatment approaches.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are two common approaches used to treat almost all types of cancer.
  • Chemotherapy is commonly used for patients whose cancer has possibly spread to various locations in the body. It can be used to reduce cancer symptoms and pain, and to slow the growth of cancerous tumors.
  • Chemotherapy uses a powerful combination of drugs that are either taken by mouth or injected directly into the bloodstream to target cells in the body that divide and grow quickly and are usually able to destroy these cells.
  • Chemotherapy drugs also kill some regular healthy cells causing side effects such as fatigue, nausea, and hair loss.
  • Radiation therapy is most commonly used to treat cancer that has not spread from its original location.
  • The goal of radiation therapy is to kill cancer cells or at least limit their ability to grow and divide by damaging their genetic material.
  • Like chemotherapy, some normal, healthy cells can also become damaged through radiation therapy.

For more information about breast cancer treatment
For more information about colorectal cancer treatment
For more information about lung cancer treatment
For more information about prostate cancer treatment
For more information about skin cancer treatment

What is recovery from cancer like?

  • Being diagnosed with cancer of any type is a frightening and discouraging prospect which can shatter the illusion control that allows most people to live relatively carefree lives.
  • In the aftermath of cancer, it is normal to experience a sort of hyper-vigilance for health symptoms, and associated fears that even benign aches and pains may indicate a recurrence of cancer.
  • Cognitive psychotherapy can be helpful in learning to manage anxiety symptoms.
  • Careful and systematic cancer monitoring with your physician and avoidance of cancer causing risk factors will insure you are doing all you can to avoid relapse.

For more information about recovering from breast cancer
For more information about recovering from colorectal cancer
For more information about recovering from lung cancer
For more information about recovering from prostate cancer
For more information about recovering from skin cancer


 
Latest News
New Guidelines Could Double Number Eligible for Lung Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer Caught Earlier in U.S. States With Expanded Medicaid: Study
Obamacare Helps Poorer Americans Spot Cancer Earlier: Study
Common Blood Pressure Meds May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
How Insurance Plans Keep Black Patients From Cancer Care
Statins Tied to Significantly Lower Death Rate From Ovarian Cancer
New Blood Test May Improve Liver Cancer Screening
Cancer Patients Less Likely to Be Prescribed Heart Meds: Study
Breast Cancer Takes Big Financial Toll on Some Young Patients
Loving Partners May Be Key to Breast Cancer Survivors' Health
'Lab-on-a-Chip' Blood Test Could Spot Breast Cancer Early
Black Melanoma Patients Face Treatment Delays: Study
Latest in Cancer Prevention: Move More, Ditch Beer and Bacon
At-Home Gene Test for Breast, Ovarian Cancers Looks Effective
Drug Could Boost Survival From Lung Cancer Affecting Non-Smokers
Protect Yourself From Sun to Prevent Skin Cancer
Very Early-Stage Breast Cancer Ups Long-Term Odds for Invasive Tumors: Study
Hydroxychloroquine May Worsen Odds for Cancer Patients With COVID-19
Tumors Have Their Own Bacterial Colonies That Could Guide Cancer Care
'Major Financial Hardship' Hits Most Patients Battling Advanced Colon Cancer
As Summer Starts, Sun Safety Slashes Skin Cancer Risk
With PSA Test Out of Favor, Cases of Advanced Prostate Cancer Are Rising
Black and White Women Share the Same Genetic Risk for Breast Cancer
Kids With Cancer Not at Greater Risk for Severe COVID-19
Don't Delay If Cancer Symptoms Appear – Call Your Doctor
Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion Might Have Cut U.S. Cancer Deaths
Drug Combo Offers Hope Against Advanced Bladder Cancer
Pandemic Is Putting Cutting-Edge Cancer Research on Hold: Survey
FDA Approves Retevmo for Certain Lung, Thyroid Cancers
Breaks in Health Insurance Hurt Cancer Care, Survival
Fewer Kids in Cancer Trials, Which Might Not Be a Bad Thing
Shun the Sun to Prevent Skin Cancer
Could AI Help Doctors Map Out Treatments for Brain Cancers?
FDA Approves Trodelvy for Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Bacterial Blood Infections Tied to Heightened Colon Cancer Risk
Pemazyre Approved for Treatment of Advanced Cholangiocarcinoma
Tukysa Approved for Unresectable, Metastatic HER2-Positive Breast Cancer
Parent or Sibling With Colon Cancer? You May Need Colonoscopy Earlier
Breast Cancer Group Issues Treatment Guidelines for Coronavirus Pandemic
Blood Test Might Spot Pancreatic Cancer Early
In Nonsmokers, COPD May Up Lung Cancer Risk
Blood Test Could Spot 50 Different Cancers
COVID-19 May Force Some Cancer Patients to Delay Treatment
Coping With Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Statins Might Reduce Harms From Breast Cancer Chemo
U.S. Sees Big Drop in Deaths From Melanoma
Certain Cancers Linked to Higher A-Fib Risk, Study Finds
Racial Bias Persists in Clinical Trial Recruitment
Minorities Less Likely to Get Recommended Lung Cancer Imaging
Exercise Helps Men During Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer: Study
 
Videos
A New Treatment for Ovarian Cancer
Brain Cancer or Cancer in the Brain?
Recognizing Uterine Cancer
Detecting and Treating Endometrial Cancer
Screening for Colon Cancer
Getting Radiation During Breast Cancer Surgery
Risks for Breast Cancer
Acupuncture for Chemo
Pancreatic Cancer, What You Need to Know
Navigating Cancer
Surgery Is Becoming an Option for More Pancreatic Cancer Patients
Surveillance Rather than Surgery for Many Patients with Prostate Cancer
Keeping your Appetite During Cancer Treatment
Eating During Cancer Treatment
New Way of Looking at Lung Cancer
Most Preventable Cancers
New Treatments for Ovarian Cancer
Preventing Cancer: Genetics, Lifestyle and Environment
Breast Cancer in Younger Women
A Safer Technique for Breast Cancer Treatment
What is Multiple Myeloma?
Feeling Whole After Mastectomy
Cornerstone of Cancer Treatment
Finding Female Cancers
Oral Contraceptives and Ovarian Cancer
Making Cancer Manageable
Myths about Breast Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer Q&A: Symptoms and Genetics
Using Genomics to Outsmart Cancer
Surgical Management of Breast Cancer
Diagnosis and Initial Management of Cervical and Uterine Cancer
Skin Lesions and Cancers: When is a Spot More than a Spot?
Preventing Cervical Cancer in the 21st Century
How and Why Prostate Cancer Treatment Affects Men’s Lives
What Is Cervical Cancer?
Colon Cancer: Risk, Prevention, and Screening
What You Need to Know About Testicular Cancer
Colon Cancer Screening
Advances in Treatments of Blood Cancers
3 Types of Skin Cancer
Prevention and Control of Skin Cancer
Cancer in Your Genes
Food for the Fight- Nutrition Counseling for Cancer
Older Men & PSA
Colon Cancer Under 40
Health Risks for Breast Cancer Survivors
Treating Cancer in the Liver
The Role of Family History in Breast Cancer
Ovarian cancer: beyond resistance
Breast Cancer: Catching it Early
Detecting Breast Cancer Early
Testing your Genes for Cancer
Non-Smokers Getting Lung Cancer
Protecting the Heart During Cancer Treatment
CDC: Tips From Former Smokers – Julia and Mark's Ad
Turning the Immune System Against Lung Cancer
What Women Need to Know about Ovarian Cancer
Oral Cancer Patients Face Better Outcomes
What is a BRCA Gene Mutation?
BRCA Genes and Breast Cancer
Lisa: Be Your Own Health Advocate
Lisa: Start the Conversation About Family History of Breast Cancer
Combining a Targeted Drug with Chemotherapy Offers Longer Life to Patients with B-Cell Cancers
Cancer Clinical Trials: What is a Clinical Trial?
Young People May Need Colonoscopy
Colorectal cancer: A disease of development
Targeting cancer cell metabolism
Prostate Cancer - Now What?
Breast Cancer Risk And Lifestyle Strategies to Reduce It
Options for Breast Cancer Surgery
Prostate Cancer 101
Palliative Care: The Extra Layer of Support
Radiation: What to Expect
Chemotherapy: What to Expect
Talking with a Friend who has Cancer
New Treatment Option for Women with Advanced Breast Cancer
How to Prevent and Detect Skin Cancer
Studies Support Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy
Melanoma Rates Rising
Addressing the Needs of Cancer Patients
Location Matters with Colorectal Cancer
Leading experts prescribe how to make cancer drugs more affordable
Testicular Cancer: Facts and Fictions
Overcoming Cancer-Related Fatigue
BRCA Gene and Ovarian Cancer
Looking into Non-Smoker’s Lung Cancer
Cancer - What does it mean that a chemical causes an increase in cancer risk?
Computing Cancer
Riding the Cancer Wave - Spiritually Speaking
A Patient’s Story: Colonoscopy Cuts Cancer Risk
Childhood Cancer facts and treatment information
Tumour immunology and immunotherapy
Changing Face of Oral Cancer Patients
New Drug Offers Greater Hope for Some Patients with Lung Cancer
New Horizon for Pancreatic Cancer
New Method for Detecting and Managing Prostate Cancer
Virtual Colonoscopy: A Kinder Gentler Way to Prevent Colon Cancer
Thyroid Nodules and Thyroid Cancer: What You Need to Know
Hidden Cancers
Role of Preventive Surgery for Women at High Risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Reviewed
Cancer: Planning for the Future
Screening Options for Colorectal Cancer
Lung Cancer-Not Just For Smokers Anymore
Preventive Cardiology: Cardiac Complications in Cancer
Cancer Incidence and Mortality Through 2020
Colorectal Cancer Update
Cancer Screening: When Less is More
New Advances in Treating Skin Cancer
Treating Thyroid Cancer
New Techniques for Treating Children with Cancer
When to get Screened for Prostate Cancer
Ovarian Cancer Overview
Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy
9 Ways to Manage Your Cancer Fatigue
Myth Buster: What Causes Breast Cancer?
New Breast Cancer Drug Study Results Are Promising
Detecting Vaginal Cancer
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
Should I Get Tested for Prostate Cancer?
When to Screen for Prostate Cancer
Gynecologic Cancers: What to Ask Your OB/GYN
 
Links
 
Book Reviews
 
Self-Help Groups
 
Resources
Basic InformationLatest NewsVideosLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Medical Disorders
Pain Management




Facebook

Amazon Smile

 

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net