Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. If the spread is not controlled, it can lead to death. Currently, one in four deaths in the United States is due to cancer.

There are several types of cancer. Breast cancer forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). Cervical cancer forms in tissues of the cervix (the organ connecting the uterus and vagina). It is usually a slow-growing cancer that may not have symptoms but can be found with regular Pap tests (a procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix and looked at under a microscope). Colorectal cancer develops in the colon (the longest part of the large intestine) and/or the rectum (the last several inches of the large intestine before the anus). Lung cancer forms in the tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages. Prostate cancer forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Skin cancer forms in tissues of the skin. Stomach cancer forms in tissues lining the stomach. Testicular cancer forms in tissues of the testis (one of two egg-shaped glands inside the scrotum that make sperm and male hormones).

There is a strong association between tobacco use and cancers of many sites. Evidence also shows that excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and obesity increase the incidence of certain cancers. The risk of many cancers can be greatly reduced if these factors are taken into consideration.

The Facts:

  • Over 1,500 people die daily from cancer.
  • Approximately 1,444,920 new cancer cases are predicted to be diagnosed in 2007.
  • Approximately 559,650 Americans are expected to die of cancer this year.
  • Prostate, lung and bronchus, and colon and rectum cancers account for approximately 54% of new incidents in men.
  • Breast, lung and bronchus, and colon and rectum cancers account for approximately 52% of new incidents in women.
  • Breast cancer accounts for 26% of all new cancers diagnosis in women.

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