In this issue of KentuckyDoc, we feature articles from our panel of experts on malignant disease. There are more than 100 different forms of cancer. Each of these malignancies starts when cells in a part of the body begin to grow in an “out of control” manner. Normal cells mature and die, but cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. They do this because of DNA damage or mutation. In normal cells, when DNA is damaged, the cell either repairs the damage done or it dies. In malignant cells, the damaged DNA is not repaired, and the cell doesn’t die as it should. For some malignancies, we even know which genes control programmed cell death (apoptosis) and cellular repair. These abnormal cells proliferate and may spread to other organs.
In a new report (1), the American Cancer Society says that even though the rates of new cancer cases are decreasing, the number of cancer survivors is increasing. The three most common cancers among male survivors are prostate (43%), colon/rectal (9%) and melanoma (7%). Among women, the three most common cancers among survivors are breast (41%), uterine (8%) and colon/rectal (8%). The mean age of diagnosis for all cancers combined is 66 years.
In this issue you will find information about diagnosing and treating several cancers including breast, lung, colon, esophageal, prostate and cervix, among others. Hopefully this information will help us to improve on the survival statistics listed above.
By Dr. Hager, Editor, Kentucky Doc Magazine