American Cancer Society

Our Mission

Together with our supporters, the American Cancer Society saves lives and creates a world with less cancer and more birthdays by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. As a global grassroots force of more than 3 million volunteers, we are working every day in every community to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. To learn more or to get help, visit or call 1-800-227-2345.


  • American Cancer Society

    Why is it hard to quit smoking?

    Mark Twain said, "Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times." Maybe you've tried to quit, too. Why is quitting and staying quit hard for so many people? The answer is nicotine.
    Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. It is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Over time, a person...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What are the survival rates for colon cancer by stage?

    The numbers below come from a study of the National Cancer Institute's SEER database, looking at more than 28,000 people diagnosed with colon cancer between 1998 and 2000.
    These are observed survival rates. They include people diagnosed with colon cancer who may have later died from other causes,...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What are risk factors?

    A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. For example, exposing skin to strong sunlight is a risk factor for skin cancer. Smoking is a risk factor for cancers of the lungs, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat,...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    Is a cough a symptom of lung cancer?

    Coughing is a symptom of lung cancer, but it is also a symptom of many other less serious problems. If you have any signs or symptoms that suggest you might have lung cancer, your doctor will want to take a medical history to check for risk factors and learn more about your symptoms. Your doctor...Read More
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    What is familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)?

    Familial adenomatous polyposis is caused by changes (mutations) in the APC gene that a person inherits from his or her parents. About 1% of all colorectal cancers are due to FAP.
    People with this disease typically develop hundreds or thousands of polyps in their colon and rectum, usually in their...Read More
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    What is lymphedema?

    Lymphedema is swelling of the arm, breast, or chest from build-up of fluid. It may occur any time after treatment for breast cancer, even months or years later. Any treatment that involves axillary (arm pit) lymph node surgery or radiation to the axillary lymph nodes carries the risk of lymphedema...Read More
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    What is the sexual impact of breast reconstruction?

    Breast reconstruction restores the shape of the breast, but it cannot restore normal breast sensation. The nerve that supplies feeling to the nipple runs through the deep breast tissue, and it gets disconnected during surgery. In a reconstructed breast, the feeling of pleasure from touching the nipple...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What is transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM)?

    This operation can sometimes be used for early T1 N0 M0 stage I cancers that are higher in the rectum than could be reached using the standard transanal resection (see above). A specially designed magnifying scope is inserted through the anus and into the rectum, allowing the surgeon to do a transanal...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    Can regular screening help prevent colorectal cancer?

    Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colorectal cancer. Screening is the process of looking for cancer in people who have no symptoms of the disease.
    From the time the first abnormal cells start to grow into polyps, it usually takes about 10 to 15...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What are the characteristics of stage IIIB colorectal cancer?

    One of the following applies.
    T3-T4a, N1, M0: The cancer has grown into the outermost layers of the colon or rectum (T3) or through the visceral peritoneum (T4a) but has not reached nearby organs. It has spread to 1 to 3 nearby lymph nodes (N1a/N1b) or into areas of fat near the lymph nodes but...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    How is stage 2 breast cancer treated?

    Stage II: These cancers are larger and/or have spread to a few nearby lymph nodes.
    • Local therapy: Surgery and radiation therapy options for stage II tumors are similar to those for stage I tumors, except that in stage II, radiation therapy may be considered even after mastectomy if the tumor
    ...Read More
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    Can prescription drugs help me quit smoking?

    Prescription drugs are another tool available to help smokers quit and stay quit. Some can be used along with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and some are started before your planned Quit Day. Talk to your doctor if you are interested in getting medicine to help you quit smoking. These are only...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    How does breast cancer affect sexuality?

    Concerns about sexuality are often very worrisome to a woman with breast cancer. Several factors may place a woman at higher risk for sexual problems after breast cancer. Physical changes (such as those after surgery) may make a woman less comfortable with her body. The most common sexual side effects...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What are the possible benefits of quitting smoking?

    20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops. (Mahmud A, Feely J. Effect of Smoking on Arterial Stiffness and Pulse Pressure Amplification. Hypertension. 2003;41:183.)
    12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. (US Surgeon General's Report,...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    How is external-beam radiation therapy used to treat colorectal cancer?

    External-beam radiation therapy is the type of radiation therapy most often used for people with colorectal cancer. The radiation is focused on the cancer from a machine outside the body called a linear accelerator.
    Before treatments start, the radiation team takes careful measurements to determine...Read More