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Friday, September 5, 2008

Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to 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 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start - for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in basal cells of the skin is called basal cell carcinoma.

Cancer types can be grouped into broader categories. The main categories of cancer include:
Carcinoma - cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.
Sarcoma - cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.
Leukemia - cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.
Lymphoma and myeloma - cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.
Central nervous system cancers - cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

Origins of Cancer

All cancers begin in cells, the body's basic unit of life. To understand cancer, it's helpful to know what happens when normal cells become cancer cells.
The body is made up of many types of cells. These cells grow and divide in a controlled way to produce more cells as they are needed to keep the body healthy. When cells become old or damaged, they die and are replaced with new cells.

However, sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. The genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. When this happens, cells do not die when they should and new cells form when the body does not need them. The extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumor.
Not all tumors are cancerous; tumors can be benign or malignant.

* Benign tumors aren't cancerous. They can often be removed, and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.
* Malignant tumors are cancerous. Cells in these tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis.

Some cancers do not form tumors. For example, leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood.
Cancer Statistics

A new report from the nation's leading cancer organizations shows cancer death rates decreased on average 2.1 percent per year from 2002 through 2004, nearly twice the annual decrease of 1.1 percent per year from 1993 through 2002. (Read more about the Annual Report.)

Estimated new cases and deaths from cancer in the United States in 2008:
New cases: 1,437,180 (does not include nonmelanoma skin cancers)
Deaths: 565,650

To "Just Say No" to drugs and alcohol, one must have a reason and that reason must be that there are more interesting activities to choose from. It also helps to have an answer to peers who may offer these substances to you.

Realize that abusing drugs and alcohol may not be fulfilling in the long run, and sometimes leads to devastating events in people's lives, including prison, homelessness, serious medical problems, and even death.
Think about what activities have been more fulfilling than drugs, such as investing in career or bonding with family, your parents.
Examine all fulfilling activities closely. Think about the compliments received from utilizing your skills, the rewards of pursuing an interesting career or how much love you recieve from your family.
Compare the results of your interests to the results (long-term and short) of abusing drugs and alcohol.
Realize that pursuing interests is more fun, cheaper, healthier and EASIER than abusing drugs or alcohol.
Prepare yourself for occasions when friends, peers, or even strangers offer drugs or alcohol to you. By understanding the issues cited above, you should be able to tell the person why you choose to refuse to participate in what they offer.
Try to associate with people who do not use alcohol and drugs, and avoid situations where they will be used and offered to you.
Have a good friend who you can talk to about any situation where you are tempted to experiment. This will help you be accountable, and it should provide you with positive feedback from someone who genuinely cares about you.
Remember that the future is full of hope and promise, and that abusing drugs and alcohol might rob you of those beautiful promises.
Look at the list of successful people who have been destroyed, even killed, by drugs and alcohol. Just because many musicians and friends use them that doesn't make them cool; you must make your own decisions.
Forgive yourself if you feel like you made a mistake by trying drugs or getting drunk in your past. The thing that matters is what lies ahead of you, not what is in your past, especially since the past cannot be changed.

Be aware of your talents, skills and accomplishments so you can think of them when you feel worthless.
Realize that you can create your own "buzz", or happy feelings, by caring about, and building, your future.
Past accomplishments are key. If you succeeded before, you can do it again.
Think about what you enjoy doing the most.
You can never look back at a substance-abusing episode with pride, but you can when recalling how you utilized your skills.
Closely examine what has made you feel valuable in the past, as we don't hurt what we value.

Seek medical and professional advice when stopping all substances, as withdrawing from some drugs (alcohol, pills) can be life-threatening.


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