Keeping Cancer at Bay in 2019
What Is Cancer?
Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Cancer is not just one disease, but many diseases. There are more than 100 kinds of cancer. For more information, visit the National Cancer Institute’s What Is Cancer?
Types of Cancer
There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. For example, lung cancer starts in cells of the lung, and brain cancer starts in cells of the brain. Cancers also may be described by the type of cell that formed them, such as an epithelial cell or a squamous cell. You can search NCI’s website for information on specific types of cancer based on the cancer’s location in the body or by using our A to Z List of Cancers.
The states with the highest incidence rates for cancer are Kentucky, Rhode Island, Delaware, Louisiana and New Jersey. The states with the lowest rates are New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Alaska and Virginia. Incidence rates can vary widely. The difference between Kentucky and New Mexico, for example, is 193 cases.
Though Texas is not on the list, the incidences of cancer is high in the East Texas region. For this reason, UT Health Northeast MD Anderson Cancer is in Tyler, Texas.
Screening for cervical and colorectal cancers as recommended helps prevent these diseases by finding precancerous lesions so they can be treated before they become cancerous. Screening for cervical, colorectal, and breast cancers also helps find these diseases at an early stage, when treatment works best. CDC offers free or low-cost mammograms and Pap tests nationwide, and free or low-cost colorectal cancer screening in six states.
Vaccines (shots) also help lower cancer risk. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and several other kinds of cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine can help lower liver cancer risk.
You can reduce your risk of getting cancer by making healthy choices like keeping a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, sugar intake and protecting your skin.
Eat a cancer-risk-reducing diet. The role of diet in cancer is far from established, but research suggests that a plant-based diet is associated with reduced risks for several cancers, especially for colon cancer. Guidelines include:
- Keep your intake of red meat to no more than 4 ounces of red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) per day on average
- Avoid processed meats such as sausages and bologna
- Eat a variety of non-starchy vegetables and fruits, at least five servings daily
- Minimize your intake of sugared drinks
- Desserts and candies
- Refined breads
- Bagels, and chips.