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Cancer

Measuring Blood <br />Pressure Explained



Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, only surpassed by heart disease. Each year more than a million Americans get medical care for cancer and over 330,000 die from the disease. More than 200 kinds of cancer affect human beings.

In 1900, cancer was almost always fatal. In the 1930s fewer than one of every five patients were saved. Today, doctors successfully treat one of every three people who get cancer. Some experts believe that at least half of all cancer patients could be saved if all present knowledge were used promptly in every case.

Cancer is a general term for more than 250 diseases that are characterized by uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells. Cancer cells can spread through the blood and lymph, the clear fluid that bathes body cells. Spreading cancer cells can start new cancers in other parts of the body. Cancer cells reproduce more rapidly than normal cells and ignore normal regulations of when, how, and where to grow.

Normal cells are more concerned with function than growth. Cancer cells are more concerned with growth than function. Cancer cells seem to be able to grow anywhere in the body. Different kinds of cancer grow at different rates and respond to different kinds of treatments. But all produce useless tissue and keep normal cells from getting nourishment. Cancer cells that are not treated displace normal cells and eventually destroy them.

Classification

Cancers are classified into two ways. The first way is the part of the body where the cancer cells first develop, and the second is the type of body tissue where the cancer begins. Cancer that starts in the tissue that forms the skin and linings of the body organs is called carcinoma. Cancers of the skin, breast, and body systems are carcinomas and are the most common cancer that begins in the tissue that forms the body’s supporting structures is sarcoma. Some examples are cancers thast start in bones, muscles and cartilage.

Cancer can grow in skin, lung, colo-rectal, breast, uterine, cervix, ovary, vaginal, testicular, mouth and throat, larynx, esophageal, stomach, pancreas, liver, bone and other locations.

How Cancer Is Diagnosed Cancer has often been called the silent killer. It gives no warning of it’s presence in the early stages. Cancer can be diagnosed during a physical examination. In women a doctor can check for cancer of the cervix by a pap smear test. The doctor can also use X-ray technology to detect some cancers. A biopsy is another method of accurately diagnosing cancer. Doctors urge that every person have at least one complete physical each year.

Seven Warning Signs

There are seven warning signs that a person should be aware of. If one experiences any of these symptoms, one should consult a doctor promptly:
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge.
  • A lump or thickening in the breast or elsewhere.
  • A sore that does not heal.
  • Change in bowel or bladder habits.
  • Hoarseness or a continuing cough.
  • Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing.
  • Change in a wart or mole.

Causes

No one knows exactly what causes cancer. Most scientists believe that there is no single cause and that many factors maybe involved:
  • Viruses may cause cancer-producing changes in DNA.
  • Contact with certain kinds of chemicals may cause cancer.
  • A tendency to develop certain types of cancer may be inherited.
  • Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can increase susceptability to cancer.
  • Cigarette smoking and air pollution are two main factors that are increasing lung cancer.



More on Cancer:  See Cancer Treatment


What’s Ahead? Because of our aging population, it is expected that an increase will be seen in the numbers of seniors diagnosed with cancer. We will be attempting to provide a useful source of information for staying updated on current prevention and treatment approaches.





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The information about senior health presented here is not meant to be medical advice nor to act as a substitute for medical advice. Serious side-effects, including death, could result if one were to take any prescription medicine without the supervision of a physician.




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