Cancer is defined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal malignant cells.
Cancer occurs in a number of different forms. Each form carrying with it different treatments and symptoms. Below are a few major forms of cancer.
Breast Cancer: Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant cells are found in the tissues of the breast. Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women and the sixth leading cause of death among this cohort. Today, given the great strides in breast cancer medical research and diagnosis and detection practices, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1990. According to the American Cancer Society, there are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.
Lung Cancer: The second most common cancer in both men and women, lung cancer affects approximately 219,000 new cases every year in this country. This deadly disease has the highest cancer death rate of any cancer. The most significant risk factor of lung cancer is smoking but other factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and genetics also play a role in the development of this disease.
Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men with the exception of skin cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer death. This walnut-size male reproductive gland located underneath the bladder is responsible for making and producing seminal fluid. Cancer occurs when the cells of the prostrate gland mutate into cancer cells. The severity of the cancer is determined by stages of development which refer to where the cancer cells have spread. Age, genetics, diet, medication and environmental exposure are the most common risk factors.
Ovarian: One of the most deadly of all cancers, ovarian cancer is also referred to as the Silent Killer because usually by the time the cancer is detected, it has spread to other areas of the body. There are approximately 21,000 new cases of ovarian cancer each year and an estimated 14,000 women die from this disease each year. The ovaries are two small organs that make up the female reproductive system which produce eggs for ovulation and fertilization. They also play a significant role in the production and regulation of the hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Age, obesity, never having children, and taking certain medications have been linked to the onset of ovarian cancer.
Cervical Cancer: One of the most curable forms of cancer when caught early, cervical cancer is also one of the most prevalent, affecting approximately 12,000 women each year. Cervical cancer, or cancer of the cervix is often detected through a routine Pap smear which looks for pre-cancerous cell growth within the cervix. Nearly all cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is transmitted via sexual intercourse. Today, the vaccine, Gardisil prevents the two most common strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
Skin Cancer: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer among men and women. Marked by an abnormal growth of cancer cells on the skin, approximately one million Americans are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer each year and approximately 11,000 deaths are attributed to this disease each year. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell, squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma. The first two are very curable and but melanomas are a very deadly form of skin cancer. Many skin cancers are caused by direct exposure to UV rays either via the sunlight or a tanning bed. If caught early, most non-melanoma skin cancers can be treated.