February is National Cancer Prevention Month
Every year millions of Americans get diagnosed with cancer, and hundreds of thousands of cases result in death. Research shows that up to 50% of cancer cases and about 50% of cancer related deaths are preventable with early detection. Every February, National Cancer Prevention Month serves as a reminder to schedule a cancer screening and talk to your provider about any medical questions or concerns that you have.
National Cancer Prevention Month
National Cancer Prevention Month is dedicated to preventing this disease that affects millions of people annually. There are more than 100 types of cancers. That’s why learning more about cancer prevention is so important.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow abnormally and uncontrollably. It can start anywhere in the body. In the human body, cells grow and multiply to form new cells. When old cells die, new ones take their place. Sometimes abnormal or damaged cells can grow and multiply, causing lumps of tissues called tumors which can be cancerous.
The following terms are important to note when it comes to understanding how cancer spreads:
- Benign: A non cancerous tumor of cells. Benign tumors do not spread and can be removed without the risk of the tumors growing back. However, it’s possible for some of them to cause life-threatening problems if they are left untreated.
- Malignant: Diseased cells that invade and destroy healthy tissue while potentially spreading to other parts of the body. They can travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
- Metastasis: The process of cancerous tumors spreading from their original place to other places in the body. The spread depends on the type of cancer and how fast it is growing.
Is Cancer a Disease?
A disease is an abnormal condition that can negatively affect structure or function in the human body, that is not caused by an external injury. Since cancer is caused by abnormalities in cells inside the human body, it is considered a disease.
How Many Stages of Cancer are there?
Most types of cancer have four stages:
- 0: The cancerous tumor is in place and has not spread to any nearby tissue, and can likely be curable through surgical removal of the tumor.
- I: Best known as “early-stage” cancer as the cancer has not yet spread or grown deeply into nearby tissues.
- II & III: In this stage cancer is spreading into nearby tissue and possibly into the lymph nodes. The cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.
- IV: This stage is referred to as metastatic cancer as it means the cancer has spread to other organs and parts of the body.
Staging helps your doctor determine the best treatment for you. This also helps them forecast the chance of recovery (prognosis).
What Causes Cancer?
Typically, cancer is caused by changes in genes like damage to DNA from environments, errors during cell division, and even inherited mutations from our parents. Our bodies can eliminate cells with damaged DNA, but as we get older, it’s ability to do so goes down. This is why a lot of cancer cases show up later in life.
Be Proactive About Your Health
The best way to be proactive about your own health is to have a conversation with your Ascend Medical to discuss which cancer screenings are right for you. Ascend can provide many cancer screenings from the comfort of your home or arrange the proper testing for you. We also offer a variety of preventive services, including smoking cessation and nutrition and fitness tips — all from the comfort of your own home. Find a provider near you and schedule your appointment today.Schedule Your Appointment Now