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Cancer is a disease with more than a hundred names affecting both men and women of all ages. Although there are many kinds of cancer, all cancers start from a few abnormal cells growing out of control. These cells continue to grow and form cancer. Cells become abnormal because of damage to DNA, which is the genetic make-up of our cells. Cancer cells have the ability to travel through the body in the blood or lymph vessels and invade other organs. This process is called metastasis. Cancer disturbs body function by causing pressure on the organs or by releasing hormones. Most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis. No matter where a cancer may spread, it is always named for the place where it started. For example, breast cancer that has spread to the liver is called metastatic breast cancer, not liver cancer. 

Some cancers show no signs or symptoms until they are very advanced. Generally, signs and symptoms of cancer depend on the type of cancer, where it is located, and where the cancer cells have spread. 

Do You Know?

Having a healthy diet including eating lots of fruit, vegetables and unprocessed foods, drinking water, and limiting consumption of red meat, processed meats, fatty foods and sugary drinks reduces your risks of developing many types of cancer. 

Choosing not to smoke tobacco (cigarettes, medwakh, shisha and cigars) or drink alcohol significantly lowers the risk of several types of cancer including lung, throat, mouth, and liver cancer. Even if you are a current tobacco user, quitting can still greatly reduce your risk.

Regular physical activity reduces your risk of developing many kinds of cancer and increases the chance of cancer survival. For health benefit, you need to be physically active for a total of 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. Being physically active does not have to mean going to the gym to lift weights or doing something you dislike. Find an activity that is enjoyable and right for you. 

Certain vaccinations help with the prevention of some cancers. For example, many women receive a vaccination for the human papillomavirus to help prevent cervical cancer. Hepatitis B vaccine helps prevent the hepatitis B virus, which can cause liver cancer.

Regular screening for some types of cancer can detect changes in cells before they become cancerous. Screening is currently available for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.

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