One of the greatest concerns America has today is cancer. The figures are alarming according to the National Cancer Institute studies a total of 1,372,910 new cases of cancer and 570, 280 deaths were predicted for the year 2005. Approximately one in every four deaths is due to cancer.
Research indicates that the lifetime probability of developing cancer is higher for men at 46% while for women it is 36%.
The National Cancer Institute has put in place a challenge to eliminate suffering and death due to cancer by 2015. To meet this, the nation is tackling the problem on a war footing. And, to this end the creation of awareness has become a priority.
To conquer cancer you must know what the risks are, how lifestyle changes can help, about intervention and preventive care, and where help is available.
The most common cancers are:
- Prostrate. This accounts for approximately 33%.
- Lung and bronchus. Accounts for 13%
- Colon and Rectal. Accounts for 10%
- Urinary and Bladder –7%.
- Melanoma of skin—5%.
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma—4%.
- Kidney and Renal Pelvis—3%.
- Oral Cavity and Pharynx-3%.
- Breast –32%.
- Lung and Bronchus—12%.
- Colon and rectum—11%.
- Uterine Corpus—6%.
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma—4%.
- Melanoma of the skin—4%
- Urinary Bladder—2%.
- Pancreas –2%.
An organization called the CDC is taking giant strides in the field of cancer prevention and control. They advocate adoption of a healthy life style, eating nutritious and well balanced food, regular health checks, and screening for cancer.
Screenings are quite often lifesaving as problems can be nipped in the bud. Many cancers are curable if detected in the early stages.
It is important to know that a cancer is a disease where healthy cells in the body divide uncontrolled to form tumors. This could happen anywhere in the body and some tumors are benign while others are malignant.
Most cancers have different symptoms but to give you an idea, symptoms can include an unexplained lump in any part of the body may feel like a small marble; perceptible growth of a wart or mole; wounds and sores that do not heal; a persistent cough; changes in bowel or bladder habits; indigestion; weight loss or gain; unusual bleeding or discharge.
These are symptoms that are caused by not just cancer but many other diseases.
And, early cancer does not manifest itself in any outward signs so the only way is to undergo health checks. So, you need the help of a doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.
Screening will include routine physical examinations, lab tests, x-rays, and specialized tests like mammograms, CT scans, MRIs, sonography or laparoscopy.
The physician will, after giving you a general check and noting down the history recommend any special tests if he finds anything that requires further investigation.