Cancer

Cancer is the catchall term applied to diseases caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Cancer isn't one disease. It is many different diseases, more than 100 and counting.

Each kind of cancer is usually named for the cell type in which it begins — cancer that starts in a lung is called lung cancer; cancer that starts in pigment cells in the skin, which are known as melanocytes, is called melanoma.

When detected and treated early, cancer can often be stopped. That said, cancer is a leading cause of death and disability around the world.

Cancer Articles

Cancer screening as we age

There is some controversy about whether or not people should continue to get screening tests for certain cancers after age 75. Variables include the person's overall health and whether or not additional life expectancy can be achieved. More »

Red meat and colon cancer

A number of studies have shown a link between increased consumption of red meat and an increased risk of colon cancer. Dietary changes and regular exercise are the best options for reducing one's risk. More »

Certain symptoms may be early signs of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer has long been called a "silent killer," because symptoms are thought to develop only after the disease has reached an advanced stage and is largely incurable. But health experts have identified a set of physical complaints that often occur in women who have ovarian cancer and may be early warning signs. These symptoms are very common, and most women with them do not have ovarian cancer. But for the women who do, the hope is that greater awareness will lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment. Four symptoms are more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than in women in the general population. These symptoms are bloating or increased abdominal size; pelvic or abdominal pain; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; and urinary frequency or urgency. The statement recommends that any woman who experiences one or more of these complaints almost daily for more than a few weeks should see a clinician for a pelvic exam. Pelvic exams that raise suspicions are usually followed up with a noninvasive test called transvaginal ultrasound and possibly a blood test for a marker called CA-125, which is sometimes elevated in women with ovarian cancer. The only way to diagnose ovarian cancer is during surgery, which is best performed by a gynecologic oncologist or other surgeon skilled in ovarian cancer. More »

Lung cancer: Not just for smokers

A small but significant percentage of lung cancer deaths occur in nonsmokers. Research suggests that they may get a different form of the disease than do smokers, one that may respond better to certain medications. More »