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Cancer at Stay Healthy 4Life


Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. It is a disease that affects cells, the body’s basic unit of life. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. To understand any type of cancer, it is helpful to know about normal cells and what happens when they become cancerous.

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The body is made up of many types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide, and produce more cells when they are needed. This process keeps the body healthy and functioning properly. Sometimes, however, cells keep dividing when new cells are not needed. The mass of extra cells forms a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant.

Benign tumors are not cancer. They usually can be removed and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. Most important, benign tumors are rarely a threat to life. Malignant tumors are cancer. Cells in malignant tumors are abnormal and divide without control or order. These cancer cells can invade and destroy the tissue around them. Cancer cells can also break away from a malignant tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system (the tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infection and other diseases). This process, called metastasis, is how cancer spreads from the original (primary) tumor to form new (secondary) tumors in other parts of the body.

Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start; for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in basal cells of the skin is called basal cell carcinoma.

Cancer types can be grouped into broader categories. The main categories of cancer include:-

Carcinoma
Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.

Sarcoma
Cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.

Leukemia
Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.

Lymphoma and myeloma
Cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.

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

Origins of cancer

All cancers begin in cells, the body’s basic unit of life. To understand cancer, it’s helpful to know what happens when normal cells become cancer cells. The body is made up of many types of cells. These cells grow and divide in a controlled way to produce more cells as they are needed to keep the body healthy. When cells become old or damaged, they die and are replaced with new cells.

However, sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. The genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. When this happens, cells do not die when they should and new cells form when the body does not need them. The extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumor.

Not all tumors are cancerous and theses tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren’t cancerous. They can often be removed, and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous. Cells in these tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis.

Some cancers do not form tumors. For example, leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.

Cancer statistics

A new report from the nation’s leading cancer organizations shows cancer death rates decreased on average 2.1 percent per year from 2002 through 2004, nearly twice the annual decrease of 1.1 percent per year from 1993 through 2002. For the entire year of 2008, there will be an estimated 1.437,180 new cases of cancer (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers) and deaths resulting from cancer would be estimated to be 565,650.

What are the most common types of cancer? The list of common cancer types includes cancers that are diagnosed with the greatest frequency in the United States. Cancer incidence statistics from the American Cancer Society and other resources were used to create the list. To qualify as a common cancer, the estimated annual incidence for 2008 had to be 35,000 cases or more.

The most common type of cancer on the list is nonmelanoma skin cancer, with more than 1,000,000 new cases expected in the United States in 2008. Nonmelanoma skin cancers represent about half of all cancers diagnosed in this country. The cancer on the list with the lowest incidence is thyroid cancer. The estimated number of new cases of thyroid cancer for 2008 is 37,340.

Because colon and rectal cancers are often referred to as “colorectal cancers,” these two cancer types were combined for the list. For 2008, the estimated number of new cases of colon cancer is 108,070, and the estimated number of new cases of rectal cancer is 40,740.

Kidney cancers can be divided into two major groups, renal parenchyma cancers and renal pelvis cancers. Approximately 85 percent of kidney cancers develop in the renal parenchyma, and nearly all of these cancers are renal cell cancers. The estimated number of new cases of renal cell cancer for 2008 is 46,232.

Leukemia as a cancer type includes acute lymphoblastic (or lymphoid) leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, chronic myelogenous (or myeloid) leukemia, and other forms of leukemia. It is estimated that more than 44,270 new cases of leukemia will be diagnosed in the United States in 2008, with chronic lymphocytic leukemia being the most common type with an approximate 15,110 new cases.

Cancers that are diagnosed with the greatest frequency in the United States are:-

Bladder Cancer
Melanoma
Breast Cancer
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Colon and Rectal Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer
Endometrial Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Kidney Cancer
Skin Cancer (Nonmelanoma)
Leukemia
Thyroid Cancer
Lung Cancer
The risk of developing many types of cancer can be reduced by practicing healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and not smoking. Also, the sooner a cancer is found and treatment begins, the better the chances are that the treatment will be successful.

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