Although cancer is often a serious disease, and has a greater negative effect on minority/multicultural populations than others, this can be reversed. However, prevention and control starts with those who are at the greatest risk. Some of the most common causes of cancer can be prevented, and others can often be cured if detected early enough.
Cancer occurs when more body cells or building blocks grow or grow faster in a certain area of the body than they should or old cells in that area don’t die when they should. Normally, new cells in the body grow when they’re needed, replacing old cells that die. When too many new cells are formed or not enough old cells die, they form a mass which is called a tumor, which can be malignant (cancer) or benign. With cancer, cells from a tumor can invade nearby areas, or spread to parts of the body that are various distances away (metastasis). By comparison, with benign tumors, their cells don’t invade the surrounding areas or spread to other areas of the body. Therefore, they are not cancers.
Key Cancer Warning Signals
Change in bowel habit
Change in bladder habit
A sore that doesn’t heal
Thickening in the breast or elsewhere
Lump in the breast or elsewhere
Prolonged or repeated indigestion
Difficulty in swallowing
Obvious change in a wart or mole
Nagging cough or hoarseness
Principal Source: Out-of-print prior American Cancer Society brochure