Cancer can develop anywhere in the body. It starts when cells grow out of control and crowd out normal cells. This makes it hard for your body to work the way it should.
There are many types of cancer. It’s not just one disease.
Most cancers form a lump called a tumor or a growth. But not all lumps are cancer. Doctors will remove a piece of the lump and look at it to find out if it’s cancer (this is called a biopsy). There are two types of lumps. Lumps that are not cancer are called benign and lumps that are cancer are called malignant.
Some cancers, like leukemia (cancer of the blood), don’t form tumors. They grow in the blood cells or other cells of the body.
Healthy Living Tips
Recently, the American Cancer Society updated its guidelines on diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. These recommendations include maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, following healthy eating patterns, and avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption to help reduce a person’s lifetime risk for developing or dying from cancer. The updated guidelines are as follows:
Get to and stay at a healthy body weight throughout life. If you’re overweight or obese, losing even a few pounds can lower your risk for some types of cancer.
Adults should get 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or a combination. Getting 300 minutes or even more will give you the most health benefits.
Children and teens should get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day. Spend less time sitting or lying down. This includes time looking at your phone, tablet, computer, or TV.
Eat a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits, and plenty of whole grains and brown rice. Avoid or limit eating red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb and processed meats such as bacon, sausage, deli meats, and hot dogs.
Avoid or limit sugar-sweetened beverages, highly processed foods, and refined grain products.
It is best not to drink alcohol. But if you do, women should have no more than 1 drink per day and men should have no more than 2. A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Avoid tobacco products
Protect your skin
Know yourself, your family history, and your risks
Visit your primary care provider on an annual basis
Perform regular cancer screening exams for breast, cervical, colon, lung and prostate cancer.
Partake in cancer prevention immunizations including the HPV and Hepatitis B vaccines.
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.
For more information visit cancer.org
Cancer is a group of diseases that can cause almost any sign or symptom. The signs and symptoms will depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects the organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread (metastasized), signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.
But sometimes cancer starts in places where it won’t cause any signs or symptoms until it has grown quite large.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Skin changes
- Changes to bowel and bladder functions. Long-term constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the size of the stool may be a sign of colon cancer. Pain when passing urine, blood in the urine, or a change in bladder function (such as needing to pass urine more or less often than usual) could be related to bladder or prostate
- Sores that do not heal. Skin cancers may bleed and look like sores that don’t heal. A long-lasting sore in the mouth could be an oral cancer.
- White patches on the tongue or inside the mouth. White patches inside the mouth and white spots on the tongue may be leukoplakia. Leukoplakia is a pre-cancerous area that’s caused by frequent irritation and caused by smoking or other tobacco use. People who smoke pipes or use oral or spit tobacco are at high risk for leukoplakia. If it’s not treated, leukoplakia can become mouth cancer.
- Unusual bleeding or discharge. Unusual bleeding can happen in early or advanced cancer. Coughing up blood may be a sign of lung cancer. Blood in the stool (which can look like very dark or black stool) could be a sign of colon or rectal cancer. Cancer of the cervix or the endometrium (lining of the uterus) can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding. Blood in the urine may be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer. A bloody discharge from the nipple may be a sign of breast cancer.
- Thickening or lump in the breast or other parts of the body. Many cancers can be felt through the skin. These cancers occur mostly in the breast, testicle, lymph nodes (glands), and the soft tissues of the body. A lump or thickening may be an early or late sign of cancer and should be reported to a doctor, especially if you’ve just found it or notice it has grown. Keep in mind that some breast cancers show up as red or thickened skin rather than a lump.
- Indigestion or trouble swallowing. Indigestion or swallowing problems that don’t go away may be signs of cancer of the esophagus (the swallowing tube that goes to the stomach), stomach, or pharynx (throat).
- Recent change in mole, wart, or a new skin change. Any wart, mole, or freckle that changes color, size, or shape, or that loses its sharp border should be seen by a doctor right away. Any other skin changes should be reported, too. A skin change may be a melanoma which, if found early, can be treated successfully.
- Nagging cough or hoarseness. A cough that does not go away may be a sign of lung cancer. Hoarseness can be a sign of cancer of the larynx (voice box) or thyroid gland.
A cancer screening is a test that looks for cancer or another disease in people who don’t have any symptoms. Some screening tests can find growths and remove them before they have a chance to turn into cancer. Other screening tests can find cancer early when it’s small, hasn’t spread, and might be easier to treat.
*There are varied screening recommendations, please consult your physician or insurance provider for more details on your coverage for screening.*
Breast cancer screening guidelines: Women should have the choice to start yearly screening with a mammogram at age 40 if they wish to do so. All women at average risk of breast cancer should begin yearly screening with a mammogram by age 45. At age 55, women can switch to a mammogram every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening. Women should talk to a health care provider about their own personal risk for breast cancer and about any breast changes they notice. Regular screening should continue for as long as a woman is in good health and expects to live at least 10 more years.
Cervical cancer screening guidelines: The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals with a cervix follow these guidelines to help find cervical cancer early. Following these guidelines can also find pre-cancers, which can be treated to keep cervical cancer from starting.
These guidelines do not apply to people who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer or cervical pre-cancer. These women should have follow-up testing and cervical cancer screening as recommended by their health care team.
- Cervical cancer testing (screening) should begin at age 25.
- Those aged 25 to 65 should have a primary HPV test every 5 years. If primary HPV testing is not available, screening may be done with either a co-test that combines an HPV test with a Papanicolaou (Pap) test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years.
- Those over age 65 and who have had regular screening in the past 10 years with normal results and no history of more serious diagnosis within the past 25 years should stop cervical cancer screening. Once stopped, cervical cancer screening it should not be started again.
- People who have had a total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix) should stop screening (such as Pap tests and HPV tests), unless the hysterectomy was done as a treatment for cervical cancer or serious pre-cancer. People who have had a hysterectomy without removal of the cervix (called a supra-cervical hysterectomy) should continue cervical cancer screening according to the guidelines above.
Colorectal cancer screening guidelines: Adults at average risk should begin regular colorectal screening at age 45. Those considered high risk for colorectal cancer based on family and/or personal history or other factors may need to: start screening before age 45, be screened more often, or get specific tests.
Several different tests can be used to screen for colorectal cancer, including colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, guaiac-based fecal occult blood test, and more. Talk with a health care provider about your risk for colorectal cancer and which tests might be good for you and talk to your insurance provider about your coverage. All abnormal results on non-colonoscopy screening tests should be followed up with a colonoscopy.
Lung cancer screening guidelines: Screening is recommended for certain people at higher risk for lung cancer. If you are a current or former smoker aged 55 to 74 and in good health, you might benefit from screening for lung cancer with a yearly low-dose CT scan (LDCT). Talk to a health care provider about your risk for lung cancer, how you can quit smoking if you still smoke, the possible benefits, limits, and harms of lung cancer screening, and where you can get screened.
Oral and oropharyngeal cancer screening guidelines: There’s no routine screening test or plan for oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers. Still, many pre-cancers and cancers in these areas can be found early (when they’re small) during routine screening exams by a dentist, doctor, dental hygienist, or by self-exam. Some dentists and doctors recommend that you look at your mouth in a mirror every month to check for any changes, like white patches, sores, or lumps. This is very important if you use or have used tobacco, and/or if you routinely drink alcohol, as these put you at much higher risk for these cancers.
Regular dental check-ups that include an exam of the entire mouth are important in finding oral and oropharyngeal cancers (and pre-cancers) early.
Prostate cancer screening guidelines: The American Cancer Society recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. Men should not be screened unless they have received this information. The discussion about screening should take place at:
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
After this discussion, men who want to be screened should get the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The digital rectal exam (DRE) may also be done as a part of screening.
Skin cancer guidelines: The most important way to lower your risk of most skin cancers is limiting exposure to UV rays from the sun and other sources like tanning beds. Follow these simple steps to keep your skin healthy:
- When outside, try to stay in the shade, especially during the middle of the day.
- If you’re going to be in the sun, wear hats with brims, long-sleeve shirts, sunglasses, and use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on all exposed skin.
- If you have children, protect them from the sun and don’t let them get sunburned.
- Do not use tanning beds or lamps.
Be aware of all moles and spots on your skin and report any changes to a health care provider right away. You should ask about having a skin exam done during your regular health check-ups.
*There are varied screening recommendations, please consult your physician or insurance provider for more details on your coverage for screening.*
- Primary Care Provider
- Medical Oncologist
- Radiation Oncologist
- Nurse Navigator
- Radiation Therapy Nurse
- Radiation Therapist
- Oncology Nurse
- Oncology Social Worker
- Registered Dietician
- Nurse Practitioner
- Triage Nurse
- Genetic Counselor
- Rehabilitation Therapist (Physical, Occupations, and Speech)
- Clinical Research Coordinator
- Financial Counselor
- Oncology Clinical Pharmacist
- Palliative Care Provider
- After Breast Cancer Diagnosis
- ALK Positive
- American Bladder Cancer Society
- American Brain Tumor Association
- American Liver Foundation
- American Lung Association
- Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network
- Breast Cancer
- CLL Society
- Colorectal Cancer Alliance
- Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation
- Debbie’s Dream Foundation
- Esophageal Cancer Action Network
- Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation
- Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)
- Fight Colorectal Cancer
- Foundation for Women’s Cancer
- GIST Support International
- Go2 Foundation
- Head & Neck Cancer Alliance
- International Myeloma Foundation
- Kidney Cancer Association
- Leiomyosarcoma Support & Direct Research Foundation
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- Living Beyond Breast Cancer
- Lymphoma Research Foundation
- The Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF)
- Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF)
- Metastatic Breast Cancer Network
- Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
- National Brain Tumor Society
- National Cervical Cancer Coalition
- National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC)
- National Breast Cancer Coalition
- National Breast Cancer Foundation
- Oral Cancer Foundation
- Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance
- Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
- Patient Empowerment Network (PEN)
- Prostate Cancer Foundation
- Sarcoma Alliance
- Skin Cancer Foundation
- Sisters Network
- Susan G. Komen
- Stupid Cancer
- The Bili Project
- The Carcinoid Cancer Foundation
- The THANC Foundation
- Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association
- Us TOO
- Urology Care Foundation
- Young Survival Coalition
- ZERO The End of Prostate Cancer
Treatment Facilities/Your Health Care Team
These health care professionals may be found at your local Kane County Hospital or Community Health Center. Please visit the following websites to find a provider near you.
Kane County Chronic Disease StatsView Our Stats Page
Statistics on this page come from www.kanehealthcounts.org. The Kane Health Counts website tracks many health and health-related indicators and compares these indicators against state averages and target goals. Understanding how Kane County is comparing and trending within each of these indicators allows for the identification of priority issues and the development of goals to improve the overall health of Kane County residents.