Early Detection is Good Medicine
Every day, some of the cells in your body die off, and new cells form to replace them. If this process goes awry, abnormal cells form and multiply uncontrollably. Cancer starts when these cells are malignant and start to invade nearby tissues and organs.
When cancerous cells spread to other parts of the body — for example, if breast cancer spreads to the lymph nodes — it is said to have metastasized.
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death among women in the United States — only heart disease ranks higher. Just over a third of all women in the country will develop cancer during their lifetimes; breast cancer tops this list as the most common cancer among women, followed by lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
Women also need to be aware of their risk for “female only” cancers such as uterine, ovarian and cervical cancer, which often have vague or no symptoms until the cancer has reached an advanced stage.
Your risk of developing cancer depends on a number of variables, including the type of cancer itself. Genetics, diet and lifestyle often influence your risk as well. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and what you can do to minimize them.
Also, be sure to get recommended screening exams such as clinical breast exams, mammograms, and Pap smears. These are vitally important in helping detect these diseases at their earliest stages. The sooner most cancers are diagnosed, the better the likelihood of successful treatment.
If you are diagnosed with cancer, your physician will recommend treatment options depending on various factors, including the stage of the cancer, or how advanced the disease is. Treatments may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and other medications.
Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, meditation and nutritional supplements, may help ease symptoms and provide physical and emotional relief.
Effective options in surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.