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

    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
  • American Cancer Society

    Is hospice care available in long-term care facilities?

    Many nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have small hospice units. They may have a specially trained nursing staff to care for hospice patients, or they may make arrangements with home health agencies or independent community-based hospices to provide care. This can be a good option...Read More
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    What is an abdominoperineal (AP) resection?

    This operation is more involved than a low anterior resection. It can be used to treat some stage I cancers and many stage II or III rectal cancers in the lower third of the rectum (the part nearest to the anus), especially if the cancer is growing into the sphincter muscle (the muscle that keeps...Read More