Did you know that cancer has already become the leading cause of death for Asian American and Pacific Islander families? Did you know that more school children in Hawaii die of cancer than any other disease? According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 6,730 new cancers were diagnosed in Hawai’i in the year 2015. Moreover, there are over 2,470 estimated deaths by cancer in Hawaii for the year 2015.
You are at risk of getting cancer if you…
- Are 55+ years old
- Drink alcohol daily
- Are excessively exposed to the sun
- Get sunburnt frequently
- Are obese
- Practice unprotected sex
- Have a family history of cancer
- Have chronic diseases (such as ulcerative colitis)
- Are exposed to chemicals in your home or workplace (such as asbestos and benzene)
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. However, sometimes new cells grow even when you don’t need them, and old cells don’t die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Cells from cancerous tumors often spread to other parts of the body. If this abnormal cell growth continues without treatment, it may result in death.
There are over 100 types of cancer ranging from breast, colon, skin, lung, and prostate, all the way to lymphoma. The symptoms for each type of cancer are different, however all are treated with either chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplantation, or radiation.
Can cancer be prevented? What can I do?
Yes, a substantial proportion of cancer can be prevented by…
- Avoiding smoking tobacco products
- Avoiding heavy alcohol consumption
- Physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Having a colorful, balanced, healthy diet
- Preventing infections (As certain cancers are related to infectious agents)
- Vaccination (against HPV, for instance)
- Treating Infections
- Protecting skin from excessive sun exposure
- Avoiding indoor tanning (solariums)
- Seasonal cancer screenings