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Cancer

There are over 100 types of cancer affecting all parts of the body. Symptoms vary depending on the type of cancer. Some of the most common types are:

  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Skin cancer

Cancer Types

Causes

There are many causes of cancer including genetics, environmental exposures, and lifestyle.

Risks

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Sun burns
  • Poor diet and sedentary lifestyle
  • Exposure to asbestos or other known cancer-causing substances
  • Family history

Diagnosis

Be sure to keep up with all of the preventive screenings recommended for you. In most cases, the earlier cancer is detected, the better treatment will work. Waiting until a tumor can be felt may make your treatment more complicated.

Sometimes you may detect unusual changes to your body during a routine self-exam and sometimes it is found incidentally to another medical condition for which you are being seen.

Your doctor will most likely begin the diagnosis process with an exam and lab tests. If a tumor is suspected, he may refer you for tests such as x-rays, a CT, or MRI. A biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Screening Tests

Stages

A cancer is always referred to by the stage it was given at diagnosis. Although there are different staging systems, most include the following information:

  • Where the tumor is located in the body
  • The cell type
  • The tumor size
  • Whether cancer has spread to lymph nodes
  • Whether cancer has spread to another part of the body
  • How abnormal the cancer cells look and how likely they are to grow and spread

Your doctor will explain which staging system was used in your diagnosis and what it means.

Treatment

Treatments depend on the type and stage of cancer. They may include chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, surgery, or a combination of these.

Types of Cancer Treatment

Managing Your Condition

  • Talk to your doctor about how to manage pain and nausea.
  • Nutrition and exercise are important parts of your treatment program.
  • Consider joining a support group. Emotional wellness is critical.
  • Get plenty of rest and try to relax with activities you enjoy.

Finding Support Services

Remission

Your doctor will recommend follow up after you finish treatment for several years to be sure that you haven’t had a recurrence of cancer.

Additional resources