Events / News

November 2018

Congress Appropriation to NIH and NCI for FY 2019
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National Cancer Institute Budget Recommendation for FY 2020
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American Cancer Society - Cancer Facts & Figures 2018
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National Cancer Institute Budget Recommendation for FY 2019
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February 2017

American Cancer Society - Cancer Facts & Figures 2017
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December 13, 2016

21st Century Cures Act
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July 1, 2016

National Cancer Moonshot Initiative
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The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2017
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October 30, 2015

National Cancer Insitute FY 2017 Annual Plan & Budget Proposal
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February 1, 2015

American Cancer Society Cancer Facts and Figures 2015
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January 30, 2015

Precision Medicine Initiative
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January 26, 2015

Accelerating Biomedical Research Act Introduced
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December 4, 2015

National Cancer Institute FY 2016 Plan and Budget Request
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February 1, 2014

ACS Cancer Facts and Figures 2014
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January 16, 2013

ACS Cancer Facts and Figures 2013
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January 7, 2013

NCI Report to the Nation on Status of Cancer
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January 2, 2013

NCI ByPass Budget FY2013
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August 20, 2012

AACR Cancer Progress Report 2012
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April 3, 2012

NCI Report: Senate Appropriations Hearing Highlights NCI's Provocative Questions Project
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July 27, 2011

NCI Director Harold Varmus Reviews First Year
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July 14, 2011

OVAC Urges Cancer Funding
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January 10, 2011

Cancer Research Funding Emphasis
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More Headlines »

About Cancer

The following information about cancer is almost entirely reproduced from publications of The National Cancer Institute (NCI) , www.cancer.gov.

This information is stated to summarize factors involved in the millions of cases of cancer that affect patients, their families and others in the United States each year. These facts about cancer help to explain why we advocate increasing research and the national effort to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure cancer.

The NCI is a part of the National Institutes of Health, and the comprehensive center of the U. S. national cancer program. More detailed explanations, statistics and other information resources about cancer are available there.

Another recommended source of cancer information are the up to date statistics and explanations published by the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org.

Information shown here is a general summary of some key points about cancer, and it is not medical or health care advice.

You should always see a qualified doctor about any particular questions or concerns you have about your own health and cancer.

Cancer Deaths and Costs

It is presently estimated more than 1,700,000 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer each year, and more than 609,000 will die from the disease in 2018. This means a person dies of cancer in the United States every minute.

The American Cancer Society’s published cancer facts and figures for 2016 indicates direct medical costs (total of all health care expenditures in the U. S. in 2018 will be $80.2 billion.

Probability of Developing Cancer

The lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer refers to the chance a person has, over the course of his or her lifetime (from birth to death), of being diagnosed with or dying from cancer. These risk estimates provide measure of how widespread cancer is in the United States. In the US, the American Cancer Society published estimate is that the lifetime risk of developing cancer is 40% in men and 38% in women. These probabilities are estimated based on the overall experience of the general population and may overestimate or underestimate individual risk because of differences in exposures (e.g., smoking), family history, and/or genetic susceptibility. The risk of dying from cancer for men is approximately 22%. The risk of dying from cancer for women is approximately 18%. The published lifetime risks of developing and dying from cancers for men and women is from the US National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Database, and is based on incidence and mortality data for the United States from 2010 through 2012, the most current years for which data are available.

Cancer-The Disease

Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and the cells 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.

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

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. Cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that form tissues. Tissues make up the organs of the body. Normally, cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old, they die, and new cells take their place. 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.

Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not cancer and are rarely life-threatening.

Generally, benign tumors can be removed, and they usually do not grow back. Cells from benign tumors do not invade the tissues around them and do not spread to other parts of the body.

Malignant tumors are cancer. Malignant tumors are generally more serious than benign tumors. They may be life-threatening. Malignant tumors often can be removed, but sometimes they grow back. Cells from malignant tumors can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cells from malignant tumors can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Cancer cells spread by breaking away from the original (primary) tumor and entering the bloodstream or lymphatic system. The cells can invade other organs, forming new tumors that damage these organs. The spread of cancer is called metastasis.

Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. Lymphoma is cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. And leukemia is cancer that starts in white blood cells (leukocytes).

When cancer spreads and forms a new tumor in another part of the body, the new tumor has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary tumor. For example, if prostate cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually prostate cancer cells. The disease is metastatic prostate cancer, not bone cancer. For that reason, it is treated as prostate cancer, not bone cancer. Doctors sometimes call the new tumor "distant" or metastatic disease.

Causes of Cancer

Although the reason some people develop cancer and others do not is cannot always be determined, research shows that certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will develop cancer. These are the most common risk factors for cancer:

•Growing older
•Tobacco
•Sunlight
•Ionizing radiation
•Certain chemicals and other substances
•Some viruses and bacteria
•Certain hormones
•Family history of cancer
•Alcohol
•Poor diet, lack of physical activity, or being overweight

Many of these risk factors can be avoided. Others, such as family history, cannot be avoided. People can help protect themselves by staying away from known risk factors whenever possible.

Over time, several factors may act together to cause normal cells to become cancerous. When thinking about your risk of getting cancer, these are some things to keep in mind:

- Not everything causes cancer. Cancer is not caused by an injury, such as a bump or bruise. Cancer is not contagious. Although being infected with certain viruses or bacteria may increase the risk of some types of cancer, no one can "catch" cancer from another person.

- Having one or more risk factors does not mean that you will get cancer. Most people who have risk factors never develop cancer. Some people are more sensitive than others to the known risk factors.

Cancer Screening

Some types of cancer can be found before they cause symptoms. Checking for cancer (or for conditions that may lead to cancer) in people who have no symptoms is often called screening.

Screening can help doctors find and treat some types of cancer early. Generally, cancer treatment is more effective when the disease is found early. Screening tests are used widely to check for cancers of the breast, cervix, colon, and rectum and to find out if there are signs of cancer or conditions that may lead to developing cancer in the future.

Cancer screening is suggested, encouraged and recommended by The National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an effective way to avoid, discover, control and avoid the most serious consequences of the disease.

Breast Cancer. A mammogram is the best tool doctors have to find breast cancer early. A mammogram is a picture of the breast made with x-rays. In has been generally recommended that women in their 40s and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years. Women who are at higher-than-average risk of breast cancer should talk with their health care provider about whether to have mammograms before age 40 and how often to have them.

Cervix. The Pap test (sometimes called Pap smear) is used to check cells from the cervix. In this test a doctor scrapes a sample of cells from the cervix. A lab checks the cells for cancer or changes that may lead to cancer (including changes caused by human papillomavirus, the most important risk factor for cancer of the cervix). It has been generally recommended that women should begin having Pap tests 3 years after they begin having sexual intercourse, or when they reach age 21 (whichever comes first). Most women should have a Pap test at least once every 3 years.

Colon and rectum: A number of screening tests are used to detect polyps (growths), cancer, or other problems in the colon and rectum. It has been generally recommended that people aged 50 and older should be screened. People who have a higher-than-average risk of cancer of the colon or rectum should talk with their doctor about whether to have screening tests before age 50 and how often to have them. The types of screening include fecal occult blood test, a sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy.

Prostate cancer. Screening for prostate cancer can include one or both of a digital rectal exam in which the prostate gland is checked for hard or lumpy areas, and a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA): A lab checks the level of PSA in your blood sample. The prostate makes PSA. A high PSA level is commonly caused by BPH or prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate). Prostate cancer may also cause a high PSA level.

Doctors consider many factors before they suggest a screening test. They weigh factors related to the test and to the cancer that the test can detect; and also pay special attention to a person's risk for developing certain types of cancer. Consideration is given to a person's age, medical history, general health, family history, and lifestyle and accuracy of screening tests.

Cancer Diagnosis

If a person has a symptom or a screening test result suggests cancer, a doctor must find out whether it is due to cancer or to some other cause. The doctor may ask about personal and family medical history and do a physical exam. The doctor also may order lab tests, x-rays, or other tests or procedures.

Lab Tests. Tests of the blood, urine, or other fluids can help doctors make a diagnosis. These tests can show how well an organ (such as the kidney) is doing its job. Also, high amounts of some substances may be a sign of cancer. These substances are often called tumor markers. However, abnormal lab results are not a sure sign of cancer. Doctors cannot rely on lab tests alone to diagnose cancer.

Imaging Procedures. An imaging procedure creates pictures of areas inside your body that help the doctor see whether a tumor is present. These pictures can be made in several ways. X-rays are the most common way to view organs and bones inside the body. A CT scan is an x-ray machine linked to a computer takes a series of detailed pictures of a person's organs. An ultrasound device is a form of diagnosis that sends out sound waves that people cannot hear. The waves bounce off tissues inside your body like an echo. A computer uses these echoes to create a picture called a sonogram. An MRI is a device that involves a strong magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures of areas in your body. A doctor can view these pictures on a monitor and can print them on film. A PET scan is a similar test in which a person receives an injection of a small amount of radioactive material, and then a machine makes pictures that show chemical activities in the body. Cancer cells sometimes show up as areas of high activity. A biopsy is a test done to determine cancer is a person's body and diagnose cancer.

In doing a biopsy a doctor removes a sample of tissue and sends it to a lab. A pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope.

Cancer Treatment

The treatment plan for cancer depends mainly on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease.

Most treatment plans include surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Some involve hormone therapy or biological therapy. In addition, stem cell transplantation may be used so that a patient can receive very high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Some cancers respond best to a single type of treatment. Others may respond best to a combination of treatments. Treatment of cancer may work in a specific area (local therapy) or throughout the body (systemic therapy).

Cancer Deaths and Costs It is presently estimated more than 1,700,000 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and more than 609,000 are estimated to will from the disease in 2018. This means a person dies of cancer in the United States every minute.

The American Cancer Society’s published cancer facts and figures for 2018 indicates direct medical costs from cancer are $80.2 billion.

Probability of Developing Cancer The lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer refers to the chance a person has, over the course of his or her lifetime (from birth to death), of being diagnosed with or dying from cancer.

These risk estimates provide measure of how widespread cancer is in the United States. In the US, the American Cancer Society published estimate is that the lifetime risk of developing cancer is 40 out of 100 for men and 38 out of 100 for women. These probabilities are estimated based on the overall experience of the general population and may overestimate or underestimate individual risk because of differences in exposures (e.g., smoking), family history, and/or genetic susceptibility.

Source: The National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov