Risk Factors for Cancer
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Cancer doesn't discriminate, and anyone can get this disease. However, some factors can increase your likelihood of developing cancer.
Transcript: Anyone can develop cancer, and many people do. Some form of this disease is likely to affect one-third...
Anyone can develop cancer, and many people do. Some form of this disease is likely to affect one-third of American women and one-half of American men in their lifetimes. Cancer stems from genetic mutations in the body's DNA. The result is the rapid growth of unhealthy cancerous cells in the body. If left undiagnosed, or if treatment fails, these cells can migrate, or spread, to vital organs. The result can be severe illness or even death. Cancer-causing DNA mutations occur for a variety of reasons, some of them uncontrollable.For example, more than 75 percent of new cases are diagnosed in people who are 55 years of age and older. Heredity plays a role in 10 percent of cancers, whereby a mutation is passed from one generation to the next. Prostate cancer in men, and breast cancer in women, are especially likely to be hereditary. Perhaps 15 percent of cancers stem from viral infection. Notably, the human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a sexually transmitted virus that can result in genital warts or cervical cancer. Another STD, hepatitis B, can lead to the development of liver cancer. In addition, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can lead to several potentially deadly cancers such as Kaposi's sarcoma or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. However, having protected sex, and engaging in intercourse with a limited number of partners can help reduce the risk of contracting cancer-causing viruses. Even better, some cancer risk factors ARE controllable, like the use of tobacco products. Last year, more than one-third of cancer-related deaths were from lung cancer. Another third of cancer-related deaths, such as those from thyroid and colon, may have been preventable by engaging in certain healthy lifestyle choices, like regular exercise and excellent nutrition. In addition, the one million cases of skin cancer which are diagnosed each year are often related to overexposure to the sun's rays. Even one's environment can lead to cancer. Children and spouses of smokers, for example, are much more likely to develop lung cancer. Chemicals like asbestos can still be found in some workplaces and homes and can lead to cancer of the lung, kidneys, and larynx. While these factors are very real, a number of myths regarding cancer abound. These so-called risk factors actually have no bearing on the development of cancer. For example, there's no conclusive evidence that using underarm deodorant causes breast cancer, or that microwaving plastic containers or wraps releases cancer-causing toxins. Even more importantly, cancer is NOT contagious, which means you can not catch it from spending time with someone else. That's good news, because with the millions of new cancer cases diagnosed each year, you probably know someone with the disease. Although many cancers are not preventable, some, such as cervical, breast and prostate can be slowed or even eradicated with early detection. For this reason, people with multiple risk factors should talk to their doctors about regular screening.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-17 | Tags »
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Over a million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Understand cancer better and you may minimize your risk and cope with it better if you or a loved one is diagnosed with it.
Transcript: This year in the United States, 1.4 million people will be diagnosed with cancer, a group of diseases...
This year in the United States, 1.4 million people will be diagnosed with cancer, a group of diseases characterized by abnormal cell growth in the body. To understand the effect of these abnormal cells, it helps to look first at how healthy cells function. Each of us is made up of millions of cells, the "building blocks" of the body. Cells make up tissue, and tissue comprises organs. Healthy cells grow in a controlled way, living for a period and then dying naturally. When a cell dies, the body replaces it with another. A set of "instructions" are located in the body's DNA that tell each cell how to complete this life process. Sometimes, however, mutations occur in parts of a cell's DNA. The result can be the formation of harmful, cancerous cells which grow in an uncontrolled manner. This initial mutation can occur from within the body; for example, as a hereditary trait, or as the result of an invading virus. Or, the mutation can be the result of external factors, such as chemicals, tobacco, or radiation from the sun. Whatever the cause of DNA mutation, once it occurs, cancerous cells often begin to grow and divide at a very rapid rate. This can lead to a built-up mass of cells known as a tumor. Sometimes a tumor will be benign, meaning that it remains self-contained. Other tumors are malignant, or cancerous, and actually attract their own blood supply. This means that the body unwittingly provides the nutrients and oxygen that a tumor needs to grow. Cancer becomes more serious when cells break away from a malignant tumor and metastasize, or spread, through the bloodstream or lymphatic system, to either adjacent or distant organs. The lymphatic system is one of the body's first defenses against disease. It includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and lymphatic vessels, which are tubes that carry infection-fighting white blood cells. Some severe cancers, like lymphoma, actually FORM in the lymphatic system and therefore do not manifest as tumors. Regardless of the type of cancer, if malignant cells are carried to vital organs in the body and settle there, the result can be death. Although cancer can spread, its classification is based on the area where the malignant cells originated. For example, breast cancer, one of the most common forms in women, begins with mutations in the breast. Similarly, the most common form in men, prostate cancer, originates in that gland. No matter the type of cancer, however, its diagnosis is NOT necessarily a death sentence! Today, early detection and advanced treatment methods make the prognosis for people with cancer better than ever before. Cancer can be curable, but it is still the second leading cause of death in the United States. If you are concerned about this disease, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss screening.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-17 | Tags »
Cancer, cancer basics, causes of cancer, types of cancer, abnormal cell growth, breast cancer, malignant, tumor, DNA, lymphatic system, bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, infection-fighting, white blood cells, lymphoma, benign tumors cell function, cell mutation, chemicals, tobacco, radiation conditions, cancer
Millions of Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year. But cancer treatment today offers hope for a better future, in many cases. To learn more about cancer treatment, watch this video.
Transcript: There are more than 10 million Americans who have undergone some form of cancer treatment. The goal of...
There are more than 10 million Americans who have undergone some form of cancer treatment. The goal of this treatment is always the same: Remove all cancer with minimal damage to the rest of the body. Still, no two treatment programs are identical. Each takes the location and severity of the cancer into account. In addition, the mental and physical state of the patient is considered. One method for treating cancer is surgical excision, or removal of the cancer from the affected area. A mastectomy for removing breast cancer is a common example. While surgery can be effective, its usefulness is limited once a cancer has begun to metastasize, or spread, to other areas of the bodyIn addition, surgery is not an option for people with leukemia and lymphoma, which originate in the bone marrow and lympathic system, respectively, and therefore do not manifest as tumors. For people whose cancers have spread, or who have one of these blood cancers, radiation therapy may be used to kill the cancer cells. This method uses ionizing radiation, a form of treatment that destroys the genetic make-up, or DNA, of the cells in the target treatment area. The downside to radiation is that it also destroys some healthy cells in the body. However, the majority of these are usually able to recover from the treatments, while targeted cancerous cells, which are not native to the body, ARE destroyed. Perhaps the most well known form of cancer treatment is chemotherapy, which involves taking a high-dosage of prescription medication to kill cancer cells. Because cancer cells divide and multiply at very rapid rates, these cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs target all cells that behave in this manner. The downside is that chemotherapeutics have the potential to harm healthy tissue with a naturally high replacement rate, such as those found in the intestinal lining. There are other methods of treating and eradicating cancer, many of which are undergoing intensive research by medical scientists. Among them are immunotherapy, which induces the patient's own immune system to fight invading cancer cells, and hormonal therapy, which inhibits the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors, such as those in prostate cancer. In addition, alternative treatments, like yoga, acupuncture, meditation, and visual imagery have become very popular with come cancer patients. In some cases, cancer cannot be eradicated, and, as an alternative to treating the disease, the pain of cancer is treated. Pain medication is also used to curb the side-effects of aggressive chemotherapy or radiation. Some common medications used for this purpose are morphine and oxycodone, or OxyContin, both of which ease pain and suppress nausea and vomiting. These improve a patient's quality of life, and are therefore an invaluable part of some cancer treatment programs. This year, 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. If you or a loved one are among them, speak to your doctor in detail about the treatment options that may be right for you.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-26 | Tags »
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Anticipating chemotherapy can be tough due to fear and doubt throughout the process. Watch this video to learn more about anticipationg chemo.
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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AnneMarie, Kelly and Paul agreed that the first round of cancer treatment wasn't too bad. Here's what to expect.
Last Modified: 2012-11-20 | Tags »
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Kelly wiped every chair down with anti-bacterial wipes and AnneMarie didn't dare touch any hand railings. Learn what other precautions patients took to protect themselves.
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After AnneMarie's third treatment she said, " I'm done. I'm not doing this anymore." Learn what got her and other patients through their toughest parts of treatment.
Last Modified: 2012-11-20 | Tags »
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Whether it's making fun of yourself for going bald or facing challenges with a positive attitude, there are many ways to not lose hope.
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Learn more about AnneMarie's chemotherapy journey and what symptoms she experienced throughout. Watch this video for information.
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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From the devastating news of discovering about cancer to being completely cured, Kelly's chemotherapy journey is a story of strength and will power. Watch the video.
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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Are you dealing with cancer in your 20s? Find out how this differs from other age group cancers and learn about available cancer treatments here.
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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Chemobrain is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Find out more about chemobrain by checking out this video.
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Cancer and cancer treatment exacts a heavy toll on a patient's emotional, mental and physical health, even after he or she goes into remission. Learn how a rehabilitation program can help.
Last Modified: 2012-10-18 | Tags »
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