More than half a million people die from cancer annually. But targeted therapies and other treatments offer hope to countless more.
Cancer starts when genetic changes cause cells to divide out of control and form tumors, which can then spread to other parts of the body. The disease can affect any organ. Ovarian cancer is the most deadly reproductive cancer in women. Often, it’s caught at a late stage because no screening tests exist. Ovarian cancer symptoms include abdominal bloating, pain in the abdomen or pelvis, and a rapid feeling of fullness while eating.
Skin cancers such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma are on the rise, fueled by sun exposure. Basal cell carcinoma is by far the most common type of skin cancer, with 3.5 million new cases diagnosed each year.
Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. Depending on the type of leukemia, it can affect white blood cells of the immune system, red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body, or platelets that clot the blood. Leukemia symptoms vary depending on the type of the disease, but can include fatigue, fever, chills, easy bleeding or bruising, and swollen lymph nodes.
Colon cancer primarily affects people over age 50. This type of cancer starts in the lower part of the intestine (colon). It forms growths called polyps, which can be identified on a screening colonoscopy. Colon cancer symptoms include blood in the stool, stomach cramps, diarrhea or constipation, and unintended weight loss.
Although lung cancer is not the most common cancer, it’s the leading cause of cancer-related death. Smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. Exposure to chemicals such as asbestos accounts for a smaller number of cases. Lung cancer symptoms include a cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath.