Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Risk Factors

Various risk factors, from family history and lifestyle choices to age, ethnicity and other demographics, have been linked with various cancers. Learn more about what they are, and what you can do with the information.

What's the difference in skin cells? Melanocytes and basal, squamous and Merkel cells

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Skin

Consider the remarkable functions the skin performs every day. It's only 1.5 millimeters at its thickest point, but it protects the muscles and organs from outside threats. It can take a pounding, enduring bumps and bruises, the sun’s burning rays and the grime left by dirt and dust. It moves and stretches when you do, but even when the body is at rest, the skin is a bustle of cellular activity.

Is there such a thing as a safe suntan?

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Safe tan

With summertime comes warm days in the sun, baseball games, barbecues and lazy days at the beach. And, for many, it's the time to celebrate the end of winter with a deep, "healthy" summer tan. But is there a way to safely tan your skin without exposing it to the damage that may lead to skin cancer?

What are the signs of breast cancer?

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Signs of breast cancer

If your tire goes flat, a warning sign may appear on the dashboard. If your smartphone battery is low, it may send you an alert. The human body has a similar alarm system. From hives and rashes to pains, fever and vomiting, your body has its own way of letting you know something’s wrong. Some signs are more subtle than others. Breast cancer is one disease that often causes a variety of more obvious signs and symptoms that may alert you to a potential concern to share with your doctor.

What does a BRCA gene mutation mean for men?

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BRCA mutation

With all the awareness around breast cancer these days, lots of attention has been focused on the risks posed by BRCA gene mutations. But many people mistakenly believe that BRCA is only a concern for women, even though men are just as likely as women to have a BRCA mutation. “Because men have a much lower risk than women of developing cancer due to a BRCA mutation, they are less likely to be tested for the mutation,” says Melanie Corbman, Genetic Counselor at our hospital in Philadelphia.

What men should know about new prostate cancer screening guidelines

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PSA

Prostate cancer screening made headlines again recently because of a change in the recommendations about the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent and influential panel of experts, updated its guidance from 2012. The new guidelines, which are still in draft form as the task force seeks public comment, indicate an evolution in the panel’s thinking.

Colorectal cancer rates rising sharply in younger people

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Colorectal cancer Rod Echols

Cancer—especially colon cancer—is a disease normally associated with older people. But a recent study, published last month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found a surprising trend: a sharp rise in colorectal cancers in adults as young as 20- and 30-something. Compared to people born around 1950 and earlier, millennials and Generation Xers have double the incidence rates of colon cancer and quadruple the rate of rectal cancer, according to the new findings.

What I wish I knew: The power of genetic testing

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What I Wish I Knew

When it comes to cancer, “good teacher” is probably not the first description that comes to mind. But learning you have cancer has a way of teaching powerful life lessons that go beyond overcoming the disease. While the cancer journey is challenging, many patients are able to summon remarkable strength while finding new meaning in life. The lessons learned may also inspire others in a way they never thought possible.

Endometrial cancer: What to know after journalist Gwen Ifill's death

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endometrial cancer

When long-time journalist Gwen Ifill passed away recently after a battle with endometrial cancer, her unexpected death cast an immediate spotlight on a disease that doesn’t get enough attention. A form of uterine cancer, endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs among U.S. women, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS)—yet much of the general public knows little about it.