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Cancer

Borgman, D. (1986). Cancer. S. Hamilton, MA: Center for Youth Studies.

OVERVIEW

About 450,000 Americans die every year from cancer—second to only heart disease as a national killer. Cancer is not a single disease, but a name for several types of malignant or dangerous cell growths that tend to spread to different sites within the body. Except in leukemia (blood cancer, in which an uncontrolled multiplication of white blood cells attacks bone marrow and reduces defenses against disease), cancerous cell growth produces malignant tumors. Non-cancerous tumors are known as "benign."

About 80% of all cancers are caused by contamination of the environment, by chemicals known as carcinogens. Smoking, heavy drinking, and hazardous working conditions provide notable occasion for the disease.

It is important for people to recognize the early signs of cancer: rapid weight loss, bleeding or unusual discharge, painful lumps, swellings, nagging coughs, irregular moles or skin spots, or difficulty in swallowing. Also, regular medical exams are recommended. The early treatment of cancer is the most effective weapon against this disease.

Cancer is an especially ominous disease. The person or family struck by cancer needs support and sometimes counseling. In addition to the possibility of losing one’s own life or that of a loved one, a person can sense a measure of social stigma. Friends, community, church, and others who have experienced cancer can greatly encourage an individual or family.

Dean Borgman cCYS