• Cancer


    Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.

    Symptoms

    Symptoms of cancer depend on the type and location of the tumor. For example, lung cancer can cause coughing, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Colon cancer often causes diarrhea, constipation, and blood in the stool.

    Some cancers may not have any symptoms at all. In certain cancers, such as gallbladder cancer, symptoms often do not start until the disease has reached an advanced stage.

    The following symptoms can occur with most cancers:

    Chills
    Fatigue
    Fever
    Loss of appetite
    Malaise
    Night sweats
    Weight loss

    Treatment

    Treatment also varies based on the type of cancer and its stage. The stage of a cancer refers to how much it has grown and whether the tumor has spread from its original location.

    If the cancer is confined to one location and has not spread, the most common goals for treatment are surgery and cure. This is often the case with skin cancers, as well as cancers of the lung, breast, and colon.

    If the tumor has spread to local lymph nodes only, sometimes these can also be removed.

    If surgery cannot remove all of the cancer, the options for treatment include radiation, chemotherapy, or both. Some cancers require a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

    Although treatment for cancer can be difficult, there are many ways to keep up your strength.

    If you have radiation treatment, know that:

    Radiation treatment is painless.

    Treatment is usually scheduled every weekday.

    You should allow 30 minutes for each treatment session, although the treatment itself usually takes only a few minutes.

    You should get plenty of rest and eat a well-balanced diet during the course of your radiation therapy.

    Skin in the treated area may become sensitive and easily irritated.

    Side effects of radiation treatment are usually temporary. They vary depending on the area of the body that is being treated.

    If you are going through chemotherapy, you should eat right. Chemotherapy causes your immune system to weaken, so you should avoid people with colds or the flu. You should also get plenty of rest, and don’t feel as though you have to accomplish tasks all at once.

    It will help you to talk with family, friends, or a support group about your feelings. Work with your health care providers throughout your treatment. Helping yourself can make you feel more in control.

    Causes

    Cells are the building blocks of living things. Cancer grows out of normal cells in the body. Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when the body doesn’t need them. Cancer appears to occur when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too quickly. It can also occur when cells “forget” how to die.

    There are many different kinds of cancers. Cancer can develop in almost any organ or tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin, bones, or nerve tissue.

    There are many causes of cancers, including:

    Benzene and other chemicals
    Certain poisonous mushrooms and a type of poison that can grow on peanut plants (aflatoxins)
    Certain viruses
    Radiation
    Sunlight
    Tobacco

    However, the cause of many cancers remains unknown.

    The most common cause of cancer-related death is lung cancer.

    The three most common cancers in men in the United States are:

    Prostate cancer
    Lung cancer
    Colon cancer

    In women in the U.S., the three most common cancers are:

    Breast cancer
    Colon cancer
    Lung cancer

    Some cancers are more common in certain parts of the world. For example, in Japan, there are many cases of gastric cancer, but in the U.S. this type of cancer is pretty rare. Differences in diet may play a role.

    Some other types of cancers include:

    Brain cancer
    Cervical cancer
    Hodgkin’s lymphoma
    Kidney cancer
    Leukemia
    Liver cancer
    Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
    Ovarian cancer
    Skin cancer
    Testicular cancer
    Thyroid cancer
    Uterine cancer

    Tests & diagnosis

    Like symptoms, the signs of cancer vary based on the type and location of the tumor. Common tests include the following:

    Biopsy of the tumor
    Blood chemistries
    Bone marrow biopsy (for lymphoma or leukemia)
    Chest x-ray
    Complete blood count (CBC)
    CT scan

    Most cancers are diagnosed by biopsy. Depending on the location of the tumor, the biopsy may be a simple procedure or a serious operation. Most patients with cancer have CT scans to determine the exact location and size of the tumor or tumors.

    A cancer diagnosis is difficult to cope with. It is important, however, that you discuss the type, size, and location of the cancer with your doctor when you are diagnosed. You also will want to ask about treatment options, along with their benefits and risks.

    It’s a good idea to have someone with you at the doctor’s office to help you get through the diagnosis. If you have trouble asking questions after hearing about your diagnosis, the person you bring with you can ask them for you.

    Prognosis

    The outlook depends on the type of cancer. Even among people with one type of cancer, the outcome varies depending on the stage of the tumor when they are diagnosed.

    Some cancers can be cured. Some cancers that are not curable can still be treated well. And some patients can live for many years with their cancer. Other tumors are quickly life-threatening.

    Prevention

    One of the best ways to prevent cancer is to not smoke or chew tobacco. Many cancers can be prevented by avoiding risk factors such as excessive exposure to sunlight and heavy drinking.

    Cancer screenings, such as mammography and breast examination for breast cancer and colonoscopy for colon cancer, may help catch these cancers at their early stages when they are most treatable. Some people at high risk for developing certain cancers can take medication to reduce their risk.

    Complications

    One complication is that the cancer may spread. Other complications vary with the type and stage of the tumor.

    When to contact a doctor

    Contact your health care provider if you develop symptoms of cancer.

    3-D Mammogram, A New Weapon In Fight Against Breast Cancer
    June 26, 2014 – 3-D mammograms may be better at finding cancer than regular scans, a large study suggests, although whether that means saving more lives isn’t known.
    African American Women At Higher Risk For Deadlier Breast Cancers
    June 9, 2014 – In the United States, BC is less frequent in African-American females (AAF); however mortality is higher, particularly among younger women. Disparities in health care, and a higher proportion of unfavorable subtypes of breast cancer in AAF may account for this difference in outcome.
    Lower Risk Of Prostate Cancer Seen In Circumcised Blacks: Study
    June 6, 2014 – A new study on prostate cancer suggests that circumcision might have a preventive effect in black men and men who undergo the procedure later in life.
    Tough-To-Treat Breast Cancer Nearly Twice As Common In Black Women: Study
    May 16, 2014 – Black women are nearly twice as likely as white women to be diagnosed with a hard-to-treat breast cancer known as triple-negative breast cancer, a new study says.
    Cancer Screenings Could Cost Medicare Upwards Of $2 Billion A Year, Report Says
    May 15, 2014 – Every person covered by Medicare would shell out an additional $3 a month if the government agreed to pay to screen certain current and former smokers for lung cancer, a new study estimates.
    U.S. Cervical Cancer Rates Higher Than Thought And Even Higher For Black Women
    May 12, 2014 – A new study finds that cervical cancer rates in the United States are much higher than previously reported, especially among women in their 60s and black women.
    ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott Is Battling Cancer
    “I never ask what stage I’m in,” he said recently over lunch. “I haven’t wanted to know. It won’t change anything to me. All I know is that it would cause more worry and a higher degree of freakout. Stage 1, 2 or 8, it doesn’t matter. I’m trying to fight it the best I can.”
    Study Discovers Metastasis Process Of Brain Cancer
    Carcinogenic cells establish themselves in the brain and form new tumors as they cling to capillary blood vessels and synthesize proteins that block the brain’s natural defenses against them, according to a study published in Cell magazine.
    Cancer And African Americans
    African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers.
    Preventing And Detecting Skin Cancer In People Of Color
    People of color have a lower risk of developing skin cancer than Caucasians, but they are not immune to the disease. In fact, skin cancer is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage in people of color, which can make it more difficult to treat.
    Study On Nearly 90,000 Women Shows Mammograms Don’t Lower Risk Of Dying
    A Canadian study that many experts say has major flaws has revived debate about the value of mammograms. The research suggests that these screening X-rays do not lower the risk of dying of breast cancer while finding many tumors that do not need treatment.
    Guitarist Nile Rodgers: ‘I’m All Clear’ Of Cancer
    Nile Rodgers got some good news from his doctor earlier this week. The Chic guitarist and Daft Punk collaborator was given the all-clear in his fight against prostate cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2010.
    ‘Motown: The Musical’ Star Valisia LeKae Striken With Ovarian Cancer
    The budding Broadway star who played Diana Ross in the hit show “Motown the Musical” was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in late 2013. She went through surgery and this week endured the first of six planned rounds of chemotherapy.
    Lung Cancer Screenings Highly Recommended — Just Not For Everyone
    Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation’s top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday — even as they stressed that the tests aren’t for everyone.
    Exercise Linked To Lower Breast Cancer Risk In Black Women
    Vigorous exercise on a regular basis might help protect black women against an aggressive form of breast cancer, researchers have found.
    Provocative New Study Suggests Many Lung Cancer Tumors Are Harmless
    Harmless lung cancer? A provocative study found that nearly 1 in 5 lung tumors detected on CT scans are probably so slow-growing that they would never cause problems.
    Blacks Less Likely to See Cancer Specialists, Study Finds
    Black Americans with advanced colorectal cancer are less likely than white patients to see cancer specialists or to receive cancer treatments, according to a new study.
    Nuts Tied To Lower Risk Of Cancer And Heart Disease, Study Finds
    Help yourself to some nuts this holiday season: Regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease — in fact, were less likely to die of any cause — during a 30-year Harvard study.
    Treatment, Survival For Colon Cancer Differs By Race
    Black people with advanced colon cancer are less likely to get consultations with specialists and treatment with complex medicines than white people, according to a new study.
    Racial Differences Seen In Pancreatic Cancer Death Rates
    Death rates from pancreatic cancer in the United States are increasing among whites and decreasing among blacks, but rates among blacks remain much higher than among whites, study findings show.
    U.S. May See Leveling Off Of Colon Cancer Testing
    After years of steady increases, testing for colon cancer may be leveling off, a federal report suggests.
    Young Cancer Patients Freezing Eggs For Future Pregnancy
    For women diagnosed with cancer– freezing their eggs before treatment, so they can still have children later, is becoming more and more common. Unfortunately, it is expensive, but, there is a program that’s helping patients make it happen.
    Young Black Women In The UK Less Likely To Survive Breast Cancer
    Young black women in the UK diagnosed with breast cancer aged 40 or younger have poorer overall survival than white women in the same age group, according to a Cancer Research UK study published in the British Journal of Cancer.
    FDA Approves First Medicine To Treat Breast Cancer Before Surgery
    A biotech drug from Roche has become the first medicine approved to treat breast cancer before surgery, offering an earlier approach against one of the deadliest forms of the disease.
    Obese Cancer Patients Shorted On Chemo Doses, Affecting Their Likelihood To Survive
    Doctors often short them on chemotherapy by not basing the dose on size, as they should. They use ideal weight or cap the dose out of fear about how much treatment an obese patient can bear. Yet research shows that bigger people handle chemo better than smaller people do.
    Baby Boomers Facing Cancer Care Crisis, Report Finds
    A report from government advisers shows that the U.S. is facing a crisis in how to deliver cancer care. While baby boomers reach their tumor-prone years, doctors have a hard time keeping up with complex new treatments.
    New Study Reveals Risk Of Prostate Cancer Could Be Significantly Reduced
    A drug used to treat enlarged prostate and male pattern baldness also reduces a man’s risk of prostate cancer by nearly a third, according to a large new study.
    In Fight Against Lung Cancer, Anti-Smoking Battle Moves Outdoors
    City parks, public beaches, college campuses and other outdoor venues across the country are putting up signs telling smokers they can’t light up.
    Dogs Help Sniff Out Ovarian Cancer In Pennsylvania
    Researchers trying to develop a diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer are hoping dogs’ keen sense of smell will lead them down the right path.
    New Clues To Why Black Women Fare Worse Against Breast Cancer
    The survival differences between black women and white women diagnosed with breast cancer has long been recognized, but now a new study focuses on the reasons why black women don’t fare as well.
    New Surgical Knife Can Detect Cancer Instantly
    An experimental surgical knife can help surgeons make sure they’ve removed all the cancerous tissue, doctors reported Wednesday.
    Even With Equal Care, Racial Disparity Persists In Blood Cancer
    Black Americans with blood cancer do not live as long as white patients with the disease, a new study finds, even when they receive equal levels of care.
    ‘Low-Risk’ Prostate Cancer Diagnosis May Not Work for Black Men
    Black men diagnosed with very-low-risk prostate cancer are much more likely than white men with the same diagnosis to actually have aggressive cancer that is not detected by current diagnostic methods, a new study reveals.
    Observation For Prostate Cancer Questioned In Blacks
    African American men with very low-risk prostate cancer may not do as well with a wait-and-see treatment approach as white men, suggests a new study.
    Many Black Women Prone to Gene-Driven Breast Cancer
    In an attempt to better understand the genetics of breast cancer, new research suggests that about 20 percent of black women with the disease have an abnormality on at least one of 18 genes previously linked to breast cancer vulnerability.
    Black Prostate Cancer Patients More Likely To Delay Treatment
    Black men with prostate cancer wait a bit longer to begin treatment following their diagnosis than white men, a new study shows.
    Minority Cancer Awareness: Everyday Steps To Help Lower Your Risk
    Every April the American Cancer Society and other organizations work together to raise awareness about cancer among minorities in honor of National Minority Health Month and National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, celebrated this year April 15-21.
    Breast Cancer Death Rates Higher for Black Women
    Black breast cancer patients are more likely to die than white patients, regardless of the type of cancer, according to a new study.
    Hair Loss and Men’s Health – Prostate Cancer
    In a brand new study from the University of Pennsylvania, researchers were able to make a connection between baldness and increased risk of prostate cancer among African-American men.
    Black Breast Cancer Survivors Face Higher Heart Failure Risk
    Black breast cancer survivors seem more likely to develop heart failure than other women, a new study says.
    Cancer Rates Dropping Among Black Americans
    A new report finds that cancer rates among blacks in the United States are on the decline, especially among black men, and the improvement may have saved almost 200,000 people from dying of the disease since the early 1990s.
    Video Showcase – Steve Harvey Undergoes A Colonoscopy
    Steve Harvey creates a video chronicling his colonoscopy experience to inform African American men and women that cancer is not a death sentence and can be prevented or cured if caught early.
    African American Men And Prostate Cancer: Be Your Own Advocate And Understand Screening
    For reasons that are still unknown, African American men are more likely to get prostate cancer than men from other racial/ethnic groups. They are also twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as other men.
    Cancer Fact Or Fiction: Separating Myths From Good Information
    To many, cancer remains one of the most frightening diagnoses in modern medicine. But much of this fear is a result of myths that have circulated for years in spite of the good information that is available.
    Genetic Link To Prostate Cancer Found In Europeans, African-Americans
    African-American and European men have an increased risk of prostate cancer due to changes in one of their immune system genes, claims a new study published online in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
    Racial Disparities Still Seen In Use Of Breast Cancer Treatments
    Black women with breast cancer are less likely than their white peers to benefit from improved surgical techniques used to treat their disease, according to a new study.
    Oprah Winfrey Reveals Breast Cancer Scare
    The media queen took the stage in mid-October at an annual conference in Los Angeles for O, The Oprah Magazine, and revealed to more than 5,000 fans that the week before she had thought she might have breast cancer.
    Black Women Have Higher Death Rates From Breast Cancer Than Other Women
    Breast cancer deaths are going down the fastest among white women compared to women of other races and ethnicities. Black women have the highest death rates of all racial and ethnic groups and are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.
    Black Breast Cancer Patients May Have Higher Death Risk in First 3 Years
    Black women with breast cancer are much more likely to die within three years of diagnosis than white women with the disease, researchers have found.
    Aspirin May Fight Some Colon Cancers
    One of the world’s oldest and cheapest drugs is showing promise in fighting cancer. A new study has shown patients who regularly took aspirin lived longer than those who didn’t. These individuals had a mutation in a gene that’s thought to play a role in colon cancer.
    Race, Income Tied To Late Colon Cancer Diagnoses
    A study from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas also revealed that blacks and those in high-poverty areas are more likely than others to be diagnosed with colon cancer in an emergency situation. The researchers noted when cancer diagnoses are delayed until an emergency arises, the risk for complications and death increases.
    New Wonder Bra That Can Detect Cancer In Its Early Stages
    The makers of the First Warning Systems bra claim it can detect cancer in its earliest stages by continually monitoring the breasts for temperature changes associated with growing tumors.
    Multivitamins May Lower Cancer Risk In Men, Study Suggests
    A new study has found multivitamins modestly lowered the risk of cancer in healthy male doctors who took them for more than a decade.
    Breast Cancer: New Findings Could Lead To More Effective Treatments
    The new finding offers hints that one type of breast cancer might be vulnerable to drugs that already work against ovarian cancer.
    Radiation May Spike Up Breast Cancer Risk
    Mammograms aimed at finding breast cancer might actually raise the chances of developing it in young women whose genes put them at higher risk for the disease, a study by leading European cancer agencies suggests.
    Race May Affect Quality of Prostate Cancer Surgical Care
    Black prostate cancer patients may receive lower-quality surgical care than white patients, according to a new study.
    Race Determines A Patients’ Prostate Surgery Quality
    Black men needing surgery for advanced prostate cancer seem to have worse outcomes than white men, according to a new study.
    Surviving Cancer, Eating Well
    Moving Forward is a six-month cognitive-behavioral community-based weight loss intervention that was developed in collaboration with AA BC survivors.
    Blacks With Throat Cancer Get Harsher Therapy
    Blacks in the U.S. with throat cancer are more likely than whites to have surgery that leaves them unable to speak than to get gentler voice-preserving treatments, a new study finds.
    Colorectal Cancer Is Preventable: Information For African Americans
    Many people who fear cancer don’t realize that some types of cancer are preventable. Cancer of the colon or rectum (together referred to as colorectal cancer) is one of these.
    Yvette Wilson Dead At 48: ‘Moesha’ Actress Loses Battle With Cervical Cancer
    Actress Yvette Wilson died Thursday (6/14/12) after losing her battle with stage 4 cervical cancer, according to multiple reports. She was 48.
    Health Care Disparities Might Affect Black Kids’ Cancer Survival
    Equal access to health care would reduce the disparity in survival rates between white and black children with cancer, a new study suggests.
    Black Women More Likely To Die Of Breast Cancer
    More than 1,700 black women die of breast cancer every year in the United States because of racial disparities in cancer risks and access to care, suggests a new study.
    U.S. Blacks More Likely To Die Of Colon Cancer Than Whites
    Although colorectal cancer death rates in the United States have fallen across the board over the last 20 years, the dip has been smaller among blacks than whites, a new study indicates.
    Fewer Dying in U.S. From Throat, Mouth Cancer, Study Finds
    Death rates for U.S. patients with throat and mouth cancers decreased between 1993 and 2007, a new study shows.
    Blacks Fare Worse Than Whites After Colon Cancer Surgery
    Black Americans who have surgery for stage 2 and stage 3 colon cancer have worse overall and recurrence-free survival rates than whites, a new study finds.
    Downsides Of Cancer Care Rarely Seen In Black Media
    Few media stories on cancer venture into issues of death, dying and end-of-life care — and outlets directed at African Americans are particularly unlikely to do so, a new study suggests.
    Higher Risk Of Second Breast Cancer Seen In Black Women
    Black women who develop breast cancer are more likely than white women to suffer a second cancer in the other breast, and those who are diagnosed under age 45 are more likely to get a primary breast cancer of a more aggressive form, new research indicates.
    Genes May Explain Blacks’ Bleaker Prostate Cancer Stats
    Differences in the genetic makeup of prostate cells could explain why black men in the United States are more likely to get prostate cancer and die from it than white men, a new study suggests.
    Actor Hill Harper Battling Thyroid Cancer
    Actor Hill Harper is battling thyroid cancer. Harper says he noticed something was wrong while filming Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” last summer in Atlanta.
    Black Women Less Likely To Breast Feed Therefore At Higher Risk For Breast Cancer
    Black women are more likely to have two or more children and are less likely to breast-feed, putting them at greater risk of developing a difficult-to-treat type of breast cancer, according to a new study.
    Black Men Are At A Higher Risk For Prostate Cancer
    Men of African-American descent are at a significantly higher risk of developing prostate cancer than white men. Among black men, 19 percent — nearly one in five — will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and five percent of those will die from this disease…..
    Blacks Still Dying More From Cancer Than Whites
    Breast and colon cancers are deadlier for black women than they are for white women. Blacks also have a worse five-year survival rate than whites for all cancers—57 percent compared to 66 percent, according to the report.
    Breast Cancer More Lethal In Blacks, Reason Unknown
    It is still a mystery why black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than whites, according to a new study that shows the racial disparity can’t be chalked up to obesity differences.
    Cancer Disparities Exist Despite Good Insurance
    Despite having equal access to health care through military health insurance, black women with breast cancer are less likely than white women to receive certain aggressive treatments, according to the findings of a new study.
    Skin Cancer: A Fact Of Life In Skin Of Color
    People of all races and colors get skin cancer. This common cancer develops in people of African, Asian, Latino, and Native American descent. Even Aboriginal Australians have heard the diagnosis, “You have skin cancer.” When skin cancer develops in skin of color, the cancer is more often advanced by the time it is diagnosed. Researchers are not sure why. It could be that the cancer is not recognized until the later stages in skin of color.
    Liver Cancer Survival Rates May Be Worse for Blacks
    Black Americans with early-stage liver cancer are more likely to die of the disease than Asian, Hispanic or white patients, say researchers.
    Health Care Gap May Raise Rates Of Colorectal Cancer Death in Blacks
    Unequal health care may explain why black colorectal cancer patients have a much higher death rate than white patients, a new U.S. study suggests.
    8 Natural Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer
    To prevent breast cancer you need to take action. Otherwise, your odds of getting breast cancer, the disease women fear the most, are 1 in 8.
    Black Women Wait Longer For Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment
    Insured black women and uninsured white women waited more than twice as long to be given a definitive breast cancer diagnosis than insured white women…..
    Breast Cancer Stats Differ Racially Despite Similar Mammogram Rates
    Black women are 30 percent to 90 percent more likely to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer than white women, researchers report.
    African Americans Disproportionately Affected By Lung Cancer
    Despite similar smoking rates, African Americans are more likely to develop and die from lung cancer than white Americans, according to a new report from the American Lung Association (ALA)…
    Are You At Risk For Oral Cancer? What African American Men Need To Know
    African American men are one of the groups at highest risk for oral cancer but many don’t know it.
    Minorities And Colorectal Cancer
    African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in later stages of the disease. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among both African-American men and women.
    Blacks With Cancer More Inclined To Exhaust Funds To Prolong Life
    White patients with lung or colorectal cancer are less willing than patients of other races or ethnicities to use up their personal financial resources to prolong their life, a new study finds.