Important Cancer Information

Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer 

More than 70,000 young adults (up to age 29) are diagnosed with cancer each year. We think that is a pretty alarming number. Please take the time to read the information below and help reduce your risk of some of the most common cancers that affect us today.

This information was compiled to make it easier for young adults to become aware of the risks and screening procedures of cancer. Our hope is that it could lead to early detection and increase their chances of a cure. Most of this information was taken directly from the America Cancer Society’s, CURESEARCH and the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s website. Please see the references below to find more screening and prevention information. We are not physicians and it is VERY important to talk to your primary care doctor with any questions you may have concerning your own health.

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which cells grow and divide with little or no control. There are many different types of cancer. Cancers are typically named for the organ or the cell where the cancer begins. Some cancers can spread from the original site and move to other places in the body.

This is a great video created by CURESEARCH with more information on cancer and treatment - 

How Cancer Starts?

Cells are the basic building blocks of the body. There are many different types of cells and they make up all of the tissues and organs in the body. Within each cell are thousands of genes (also known as genetic material) that act as a command center for the cell. Genes provide instructions for what role the cell will play in the body. Each gene has a unique job to perform either by itself, or in combination with other genes.

Cells divide to make new cells to replace damaged or old cells. As cells duplicate, they pass along copies of their genetic material to the new cells.

The process of cells dividing and passing along genes is usually well controlled, ensuring that the right kinds and numbers of cells are present for the different parts of the body to function correctly. The body and the cells can usually recognize when something has changed in a cell and will work to repair or destroy the abnormal cell.

What Causes Cancer in Children? 

Cancer in children occurs when formerly-healthy cells mutate, and replicate much more than they should. When that happens, they can also destroy nearby healthy cells and invade different parts of the body.

Researchers still do not know much about what causes cancer in children. Most children’s cancers are caused by random genetic mutations that can lead to cancer. For some of these mutations, there are some environmental and genetic factors that can contribute to the cancer growing. But we still do not know what causes most childhood cancers.

Each year, more than 15,700 children are diagnosed with cancer. Today, nearly 90% of these children will survive.

 

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Melanoma

While melanoma mostly occurs in older people, it is a cancer that can be found in many young people today. It is one of the most common cancers in people under the age of 30. Melanoma is hereditary and may occur in families at a younger age.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most melanomas. Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation, which can damage the genes in your skin cells. Tanning lamps and beds are also sources of UV radiation. People with high levels of exposure to light from these sources are at greater risk for skin cancer, including melanoma.

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Women’s Cancer Information

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.

Women should begin breast self-exams in their early 20’s and report any abnormalities, bumps or changes promptly to their health care provider.

Between the ages of 20 and 40 women should have a clinics breast exam every three years. Women 40 or older should have one done yearly. Yearly mammograms are also recommended for women starting at the age of 40.

How To Examine Your Breasts

Lie down on your back and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.

Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.

Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed to feel the tissue closest to the skin; medium pressure to feel a little deeper; and firm pressure to feel the tissue closest to the chest and ribs. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you're not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.

Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).

While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)

Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

This procedure for doing breast self-exam is different from previous recommendations. These changes represent an extensive review of the medical literature and input from an expert advisory group. There is evidence that this position (lying down), the area felt, pattern of coverage of the breast, and use of different amounts of pressure increase a woman's ability to find abnormal areas.

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Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix -- the lower part of the uterus (womb). This is sometimes called the uterine cervix. The fetus grows in the body of the uterus (the upper part). The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal).

The cervix has two different parts and is covered with two different types of cells.

  • The part of the cervix closest to the body of the uterus is called the endocervix and is covered with glandular cells.
  • The part next to the vagina is the exocervix (or ectocervixand is covered in squamous cells.

The American Cancer Society recommends the following:

The best way to find cervical cancer early is to have regular screening with a Pap test (which may be combined with a test for human papilloma virus or HPV). As Pap testing became routine in this country, finding pre-invasive lesions (pre-cancers) of the cervix became far more common than finding invasive cancer. Being alert to any signs and symptoms of cervical cancer can also help avoid unnecessary delays in diagnosis. Early detection greatly improves the chances of successful treatment and can prevent any early cervical cell changes from becoming cancerous.

More information about using the Pap test and the HPV test to find cervical cancer early, including the American Cancer Society’s Guidelines for cervical cancer screening can be found in Cervical Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.

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Men’s Cancer Information

Testicular Cancer

Nine out of 10 cases of testicular cancers occur in men between the ages of 20 and 54. But this cancer can affect males of any age, including infants and older men.

White American men are about 5 times more likely to get testicular cancer than are African-American men. Whites have more than 3 times the risk of Asian-American and American Indian men. The risk for Hispanics falls between that of Asians and non-Hispanic whites. The reason for these differences is not known.

Testicular Self-Exam

The best time for you to examine your testicles is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.

You should be aware that each normal testis has an epididymis, which can feel like a small bump on the upper or middle outer side of the testis. Normal testicles also contain blood vessels, supporting tissues, and tubes that conduct sperm. Some men may confuse these with cancer at first. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor.

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Prostate Cancer

About 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. More than 2 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.

We don't yet completely understand the causes of prostate cancer, but researchers have found several factors that may change the risk of getting it. Age is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is very rare before the age of 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races. Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean islands. Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor.

For more information about prostate cancer risks or screening please contact your primary care physician.

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References

CURESEARCH For Children's Cancer. Accessed December 4, 2017.  https://curesearch.org
The American Cancer Society, Inc., Learn About Cancer. Accessed December 4, 2017. www.cancer.org/cancer/index.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. Cancer In Young Adults. Accessed June 4, 2011. HYPERLINK "http://www.cancer.net"www.cancer.net