Cancer Knowledge

Introduction to Cancer and Chemotherapy

Cancer is a term used to define over 100 types of diseases that can develop in any part of the body.  All cancers have one thing in common – abnormal, out-of-control growth of cells that can ultimately spread to vital organs, such as the liver, lung, or brain.  These out-of-control cells then form a disorganized mass called a growth or tumor.  Diagnosis is based on the location of the tumor and the type of cells that comprise it.

Cancer is caused by both environmental and genetic factors.  Scientists have found that carcinogens such as cigarette smoke and industrial pollutants contribute to cancer risk as well as other factors such as obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and exposure to too much sunlight.  Cancer is also linked to heredity.  If a strong family history of cancer exists, it is more likely that cancer can develop.  However, not everyone with the above mentioned risks are going to develop cancer.  Susceptibility varies from person to person.

Cancer can be treated in a variety of ways.  Treatments can involve chemotherapy, radiation and or surgery.  For some cancers, a combination of these therapies is often recommended.  If radiation or surgery is part of the appropriate treatment plan, you will be referred to the appropriate physicians for treatment.  Your Doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan that best fits your specific needs.

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to directly attack and destroy cancer cells.  Various types of cnacers grow at different rates and respond to differnt types of treaments.  That is why tailored treatment plans are needed address the particular type of cancer and the patient's needs.  It is important to know that the chemo therapies are based upon the overall health status, diagnosis, disease process, disease and goal for treatment for each individual patient.  Please keep this in mind when talking to your friends or family that have received treatment for cancer – not all chemo's are alike.  Side effects, tolerance, length of treatment, days of treatment and treatment success will vary from person to person.  If at any time you have questions or concerns, you should speak to your Doctor or Nurse.


Cancer Knowledge


The Internet has many easy-to-use Web sites for patients diagnosed with cancer. Get accurate, clear, practical information to help you make informed decisions and better cope with issues and questions associated with your disease.