Health Beat - Winter 2017 - 5

How Cancer Starts
Test your knowledge on the origins of the disease


etween friends, family, social
media and the news, you're
more informed than ever about
cancer, including the causes
behind it. Or are you? Make sure you
have the facts.
"The Tammy Walker Cancer Center
is a resource to anyone in the region
who wants to learn more about cancer,"
says Melanie Leepers, cancer program
manager. "We can assist with genetic
counseling, clinical trials, prevention
and a wide range of services dedicated
to patient support."

Those genetic changes can be
inherited from our parents, but they
could also be caused by environmental
factors such as smoking, radiation and
exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Cancer is marked by
the presence of a tumor.
False. Not all tumors are cancerous.
Many benign tumors don't cause any
problems at all. And some cancers, such
as leukemia and lymphoma, don't result
in tumors.



Cancer is a single disease
with many symptoms.
False. "Cancer is not one disease," says
Yaolin Zhou, MD, a molecular genetic
pathologist and an ambassador with the
United States and Canadian Academy
of Pathology. "It's many, many different
types of diseases under one umbrella."
There are more than 100 types of
cancer, according to the National Cancer
Institute. Most are named for the part of
the body affected, such as breast cancer
or lung cancer.

Cancer is always caused
by genetics.
True. Cancer is caused by genetic
changes that alter the way cells grow
and divide.


The most comprehensive
treatment plan includes
surgery, radiation and
False. Because every cancer is
different, treatment plans vary.
Some cancers are treated with
surgery then radiation, while in other
cases radiation is performed first. Other
cancers are treated with chemotherapy
or immunotherapy. Still others require
some combination of the above. Only
you and your care team can decide
what's right for you. 1

Breast cancer that
(spreads) to the
lung is still called
breast cancer.
True. Cancer that
has spread to other
parts of the body
is still the original
cancer at the
cellular level.
"It's kind of
like if you move,"
Zhou says. "You're
still the same
person. You just
live in a different
place now."


If cancer runs in your family, you
might have wondered about genetic
counseling. To learn more, visit or
call Melanie Leepers at 785-452-7038.

FOLLOW the National Society of Genetic Counselors on Twitter @GeneticCouns


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Health Beat - Winter 2017

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