The words “diagnosed with cancer” cause an immediate gut reaction. Sadness, anger, and feeling overwhelmed are just a few of the emotions that crash into your system within seconds of the phrase being uttered.The general term for more than 100 different diseases (200 if you consider sub-classifications), “cancer” strikes fear in the hearts of the bravest of us. But that need not be the case, if you are empowered with the truth about cancer.In your lifetime, you may have heard the word cancer once or a thousand times. It seems that the more “advancements” we make in treatments, the more we hear the word that yet another friend, co-worker, or loved one has been stricken.
The “Terrible Twelve” Types of Cancer
1. Lung Cancer: There are various types of lung cancer but the most common is “non-small cell lung cancer.” The primary cause is smoking (actually the chemicals used to produce the cigarettes) with a secondary cause no one ever hears about – radon poisoning. It affects the alveoli and can spread to other tissues rapidly. It has one of the lowest survival rates and claims more than 1.5 million lives every year worldwide and represents 13% of all cancer cases.
2. Liver Cancer: This cancer took the lives of 745,000 people globally in 2012 and represents 5.6% of all cancer cases. As your body’s primary organ for filtration, you cannot live without it. This organ processes all your blood – a preferred mode of transportation for cancer cells – so, most cases of liver cancer are secondary sites. In other words, a cancer that starts elsewhere and ends up in the liver. When cancer starts in the liver, the cause is usually alcohol abuse, a birth defect, or chronic infection such as hepatitis B or C.
3. Stomach Cancer: My father, Graham Bollinger, was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which results in more than 720,000 deaths per year. Although his official cause of death on the death certificate was “adenocarcinoma of the stomach,” he actually died from the surgery. This type of cancer affects the linings of the stomach, which sometimes goes undetected at the earliest stage. The longer it takes to diagnosis and treat the cancer, the poorer the prognosis. Stomach cancer represents 6.8% of all cancer cases. Diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption are believed to elevate your risk of this particular form. If you have ongoing stomach distress that includes nausea, heartburn, bloating, or pain, talk to your doctor.
4. Colorectal Cancer: Cancer found in the colon or the rectum causes the deaths of almost 700,000 people annually. It is the second highest cause of cancer death in the United States – making up 9.7% of all cancer cases. If caught early, the survival rates are excellent. Early screening of colorectal cancer is crucial since there are often no symptoms until the cancerous cells have multiplied and spread to other organs.
5. Breast Cancer: Breast cancer occurs in the breast tissues of both males and females – claiming the lives of more than 500,000 people every year; 11.9% of all cancer cases are found in the breast. The malignant tumor that grows in this tissue spreads quickly to other parts of the body if left untreated and it is the second most common cancer diagnosed in women (after skin cancer). Unfortunately, regular breast cancer screening and early detection have notdecreased the cases of breast cancer nor have they improved survival rates.
6. Esophageal Cancer: Throat cancer – also known as cancer of the food pipe – claims the lives of more than 400,000 people and represents 3.2% of all cancer cases. The top causes of esophageal cancer are smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, and diet. If you are a smoker who also drinks regularly, your risk is significantly higher. Screening for this form of cancer is complicated and sometimes damages the food pipe during the procedure. Scientists are working on better options.
7. Cervical Cancer: The cervix is located at the lower end of the uterus and opens into the upper portion of the vaginal canal. If the cells in this area undergo changes that are undetected over time, cervical cancer could occur. This cancer claimed 528,000 lives and represents 3.7% of all cancers. Doctors utilize Pap tests to determine the condition of the cervix cells and search for cancer or pre-cancerous cells. Early detection is critical since it may be asymptomatic of cervical cancer until it has spread.
8. Prostate Cancer: Again, there may be no signs or symptoms of prostate cancer until it has spread to other areas of the body. That’s the reason it claims the lives of 1.1 million people annually and accounts for 7.9% of all diagnosed cancer cases.
9. Bladder Cancer: Fortunately, bladder cancer causes discomfort during urination so it is detected earlier than many other forms of cancer. Even with early detection and treatment, it claims the lives of 430,000 people every year and represents 3.1% of all diagnosed cancer cases. Follow up care is important to ensure there is no recurrence of bladder cancer.
10. Pancreatic Cancer: This cancer is aggressive and there are few symptoms of the disease until it is advanced. Abdominal pain, jaundice, and unexplained weight loss are signs that manifest in some patients. Pancreatic cancer claims the lives of 338,000 people yearly and represents 2.4% of all cancer cases. The pancreas is located behind your stomach and produces digestive juices and hormones.
11. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: This cancer starts in the white blood cells of your lymphatic system – the core of your immune system. Abdominal pain, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes (found in your armpits, neck, and groin) are symptoms some patients have reported. Claiming the lives of more than 386,000 people annually worldwide, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma represents 2.4% of all cancer cases.
12. Leukemia: Cancer of the blood cells is called leukemia. It begins in your bone marrow where most blood cells are produced. Leukemia represents 2.5% of cancer cases globally and causes the deaths of 352,000 people every year. Too many immature blood cells are created which crowd out the healthy blood cells, leading to increased risk of infection, extreme fatigue and anemia.
Combined, these 12 types of cancer account for 72.2% of all diagnosed cases in the world. And while the official statistics may state that “cancer” was the cause of death, the reality is that the majority of people who die from “cancer” actually die from the conventional treatments for cancer – chemo, radiation, and/or surgery.
Paying attention to your body, and taking excellent care of it, is the key to preventing cancer and detecting it early. The sooner you take charge of your diet, lifestyle, and weight (to name a few), the better off every cell in your body is going to be.