What’s the Issue?

Our bodies are made up of cells which grow, divide and die off within an organized system. When the cells in a certain part of the body growout of control, cancer is the result. There are many types of cancer,but they all develop because of the wild, disorganized growth of cells.

Cancer can develop in the lungs, breasts, colon, skin, bladder,reproductive organs, and other parts of the body. Cancer sometimes runsin families and certain behaviors can increase your risk for differentkinds of cancer.

For example, smoking can increase your risk of lung, bladder,cervical and possibly breast cancer. Obesity and an unhealthy diet havebeen linked to breast and colon cancer. Unprotected sun exposureincreases your chances of getting skin cancer.

Why Should I Care?

Cancer is the second leading cause of death among women and it can affect men and women differently.

Here are a few facts you should know:

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the UnitedStates. More women die from lung cancer each year than from breastcancer. Most lung cancers are caused by cigarette smoke, but about onein five cases is caused by something else, such as asbestos, radon andother cancer- causing agents. Read our fact sheet on lung cancer .
  • More women die from breast cancer than men die from prostate cancer, but the death rates have been going down since 1990, probably due tomammography and better treatment options. Read our fact sheet on breast cancer .
  • Colon cancer is not a man’s disease. It is the third most commoncancer in women behind lung and breast. Many deaths from colorectalcancer can be prevented with proper screening.
  • Bladder cancer is more common in men than women, but women who smoke are at greater risk for the disease.
  • Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is the most common cancer among women between the ages of 25 and 29.
  • The risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood and lymph system cancer, is higher among women smokers than men smokers.

What Can I Do?

Behavior that raises your chance of getting a disease is called arisk factor. There are steps that you can take to lower your cancerrisk:

  • Smoking and drinking alcohol has been linked to certain cancers. Avoiding these substances can help.
  • Staying in the shade and using sunscreen can lower your chance of getting skin cancer.
  • Eating a well-balanced diet and exercising have both been shown to lower the risk of many types of cancer.

Talk to your relatives to see if you have a family history of cancer. If there is a history of cancer in your family, tell your doctor. There are screening tests that can help find cancer early. Early detection of cancer is the key to a good outcome.

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