Definition of Cancer
Cancer is the name
given to a collection of related diseases. Cancer can
start almost anywhere in the body. Many cancers form solid tumors, which
are masses of tissue. However, there are certain cancers of the blood
that do not form masses. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the
body through the blood and lymph system. There are more than 100 kinds of
RISK FACTORS FOR
Cancer is a disease with
many risk factors that can come together in ways that are not fully understood.
Most cancers take a long time to develop. Depending on someone’s cancer type
and the type of exposure, studies have documented it may take between 5 and 40
years to develop cancer.
Here is a list of some
substances in the environment that have been known to cause cancer:
- Tobacco (cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco)
- Diet/Weight/Physical Inactivity
- Alcohol consumption
- Ultraviolet radiation (sun exposure)
- Viruses and bacteria
- Ionizing radiation
- Medical drugs
- Fibers, fine particles and dusts
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- Diesel exhaust particles
- Toxins from fungi
- Vinyl chloride
The cancer risks associated with many environmental
chemicals have been identified through studies of occupational groups who have
had higher exposures to these chemicals than the general public.
REDUCING YOUR CANCER
You can make lifestyle
choices and take precautions at home and the workplace to reduce potentially
harmful exposures. Ask your doctor for specific recommendations, particularly
if you have a family history of cancer. Here are some rules you can follow to
reduce your risks:
- Don't smoke, dip or chew tobacco.
- Eat at least 5 servings of fresh fruit
and vegetables a day.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Try to get some exercise every day.
- Protect yourself from the sun and avoid
- Women need to examine their breasts once
a month, as well as get regular
breast examinations, mammograms and Pap smears.
- Discuss with your doctor the
advisability of colon cancer screening.
PA EPHT’s and
CDC’s Role in Tracking Cancer
Both Tracking Networks are
making cancer incidence data easier to use by integrating the information
with other health outcome data and environmental