Cancer information...

Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer

1. Take care of yourself by eating well, exercising and going to regular check-ups.
2. Use sunscreen when you are out in the sun and stay away from tanning beds.
3. Know yourself, your family history and your risks.
4. Do not smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco.
5. Try to limit your alcohol intake.

Cancer Screening and Prevention Information

More than 70,000 young adults in their 20s and 30s are diagnosed with cancer each year. We think that is a pretty alarming number. Please take the time to read the information below and help reduce your risk of some of the most common cancers that affect us today.

This information was compiled to make it easier for young adults to become aware of the risks and screening procedures of cancer. Our hope is that it could lead to early detection and increase their chances of a cure. Most of this information was taken directly from the America Cancer Society’s and the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s website. Please see the references below to find more screening and prevention information. We are not physicians and it is VERY important to talk to your primary care doctor with any questions you may have concerning your own health.

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Melanoma

While melanoma mostly occurs in older people, it is a cancer that can be found in many young people today. It is one of the most common cancers in people under the age of 30. Melanoma is hereditary and may occur in families at a younger age.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most melanomas. Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation, which can damage the genes in your skin cells. Tanning lamps and beds are also sources of UV radiation. People with high levels of exposure to light from these sources are at greater risk for skin cancer, including melanoma.

Have regular skin exams by a dermatologist
Thoroughly examine your skin once a month
Be particularly careful about sun protection and avoid artificial UV rays (such as those from tanning booths)

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Women’s Cancer Information

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.

Women should begin breast self-exams in their early 20’s and report any abnormalities, bumps or changes promptly to their health care provider.

Between the ages of 20 and 40 women should have a clinics breast exam every three years. Women 40 or older should have one done yearly. Yearly mammograms are also recommended for women starting at the age of 40.

How To Examine Your Breasts

Lie down on your back and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.

Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.

Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed to feel the tissue closest to the skin; medium pressure to feel a little deeper; and firm pressure to feel the tissue closest to the chest and ribs. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you're not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.

Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).

While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)

Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

This procedure for doing breast self-exam is different from previous recommendations. These changes represent an extensive review of the medical literature and input from an expert advisory group. There is evidence that this position (lying down), the area felt, pattern of coverage of the breast, and use of different amounts of pressure increase a woman's ability to find abnormal areas.

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Cervical Cancer

The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for cancer of the cervix in the United States are for 2010:

About 12,200 new cases of invasive cervical cancer (cancer that has spread beyond the cervix)
About 4,210 deaths from cervical cancer

Some researchers think that non-invasive cervical cancer (cancer that is only in the cervix when it is found) is about 4 times as common as the invasive type. When found and treated early, cervical cancer often can be cured. Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife.
Most cases are found in women younger than 50. It rarely occurs in women younger than 20. Many women do not know that as they get older they are still at risk of getting cervical cancer. This is why it is important for older women to keep having regular Pap tests. Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But since 1955 the number of deaths from cervical cancer has gone down a lot. The main reason for this change is the use of the Pap test to find cervical cancer early.

The American Cancer Society recommends the following:

All women should begin having the Pap test about 3 years after they start having sex (vaginal intercourse), but no later than age 21.
The test should be done every year if the regular Pap test is used, or every 2 years if the liquid-based Pap test is used.
Beginning at age 30, many women who have had 3 normal test results in a row may get the Pap test every 2 to 3 years. Another option for women over 30 is to have a Pap test every 3 years plus the HPV DNA test. (See below for more information about this test.)
Women who have certain risk factors (like HIV infection or weak immune systems) should get a Pap test every year.

Some women believe that they can stop having Pap tests once they have stopped having children. This is not correct. They should continue to follow American Cancer Society guidelines.

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Men’s Cancer Information

Testicular Cancer

Nine out of 10 cases of testicular cancers occur in men between the ages of 20 and 54. But this cancer can affect males of any age, including infants and older men.

White American men are about 5 times more likely to get testicular cancer than are African-American men. Whites have more than 3 times the risk of Asian-American and American Indian men. The risk for Hispanics falls between that of Asians and non-Hispanic whites. The reason for these differences is not known.

Testicular Self-Exam

The best time for you to examine your testicles is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.

Hold the penis out of the way and examine each testicle separately.
Hold the testicle between your thumbs and fingers with both hands and roll it gently between the fingers.
Look and feel for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses) or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of the testes.

You should be aware that each normal testis has an epididymis, which can feel like a small bump on the upper or middle outer side of the testis. Normal testicles also contain blood vessels, supporting tissues, and tubes that conduct sperm. Some men may confuse these with cancer at first. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor.

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Prostate Cancer

About 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. More than 2 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.

We don't yet completely understand the causes of prostate cancer, but researchers have found several factors that may change the risk of getting it. Age is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is very rare before the age of 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races. Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean islands. Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor.

For more information about prostate cancer risks or screening please contact your primary care physician.

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References

The American Cancer Society, Inc., Learn About Cancer. Accessed June 4, 2011. www.cancer.org/cancer/index.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. Cancer In Young Adults. Accessed June 4, 2011. HYPERLINK "http://www.cancer.net"www.cancer.net