Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- What is cancer?
- What causes cancer?
- What are cancer symptoms and signs?
- What are the different types of cancer?
- How is cancer diagnosed?
- How is cancer staging determined?
- What is the treatment for cancer?
- What is the prognosis for cancer?
- Can cancer be prevented?
- Where can people find more information about cancer?
- Cancer At A Glance
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
Where can people find more information about cancer?
There are many ways a person can find more information about cancer, but if they have any immediate concerns about having cancer, their first source of information should be their doctor. In addition to the references listed at the end of this article, the following is a list of information sources that are well recognized as authorities for cancer information by most clinicians:
- National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)
- American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/index)
- Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body.
- There are over 200 types of cancer.
- Anything that may cause a normal body cell to develop abnormally potentially can cause cancer; general categories of cancer-related or causative agents are as follows: chemical or toxic compound exposures, ionizing radiation, some pathogens, and human genetics.
- Cancer symptoms and signs depend on the specific type and grade of cancer; general signs and symptoms are not very specific but are as follows: fever, fatigue, weight loss, pain, skin changes, change in bowel or bladder function, unusual bleeding, persistent cough or voice change, lumps, or tissue masses
- Although there are many tests to presumptively find or presumptively diagnose cancer, the definite diagnosis is made by examination of a biopsy sample of suspected cancer tissue.
- Cancer staging is often determined by biopsy results and helps determine the aggressiveness of the cancer type and the extent of cancer spread; staging also helps caregivers determine treatment protocols. In general, most staging methods show that the higher the number assigned (usually between 0-4), the more aggressive the cancer type or more widespread is the cancer in the body.
- Treatment protocols vary according to the type and stage of the cancer. Most treatment protocols are designed to fit the individual patient's disease. However, most treatments include at least one of the following and may include all: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
- The prognosis of cancer can range from excellent to poor. The prognosis depends on the cancer type and its staging with those cancers known to be aggressive and those staged with higher numbers (3-4) often have a prognosis that ranges more toward poor.
- Some cancers can be prevented by taking simple precautions, other cancers may have the risk of contracting them reduced by several methods, and a few may be difficult to avoid for some individuals.
Switzerland. World Health Organization. "Cancer." Feb. 2011. <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/index.html>.
United States. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. "Cancer Fact Sheet." Aug. 30, 2002. <http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/com/cancer-fs.html>.
United States. Centers for Disease Control. "Human Papillomavirus (HPV)." Sept. 22, 2010. <http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/>.
United States. National Cancer Institute. "Cancer Genetics." <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/genetics>.
United States. National Cancer Institute. "Cancer Vaccines." Aug. 4, 2010. <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/cancer-vaccines>.
United States. National Cancer Institute. "Common Cancer Types." Nov. 4, 2010. <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/commoncancers>.
Last Editorial Review: 2/14/2011
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