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 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
  • American Cancer Society

    What is the sexual impact of treatments for breast cancer?

    The most common sexual side effects stem from damage to a woman's feelings of attractiveness. In our culture, we are taught to view breasts as a basic part of beauty and femininity. If her breast has been removed or changed, a woman may be insecure about whether her partner will accept her and find...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    Does breast cancer affect a woman's quality of life?

    Women who have had treatment for breast cancer should be reassured that while they may be left with reminders of their treatment (such as surgical scars), their overall quality of life, once treatment has been completed, can be normal. Extensive studies have shown this.
    Some studies suggest that...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    Can cancer be inherited?

    Cancer is such a common disease that it is no surprise that many families have at least a few members who have had cancer. Sometimes, certain types of cancer seem to run in some families. This can be caused by a number of factors. Often, family members have certain risk factors in common, such as...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    How does smoking affect my risk of developing cancer?

    Yes. Nearly everyone knows that smoking can cause lung cancer, but few people realize it is also a risk factor for many other kinds of cancer too, including cancer of the mouth, voice box (larynx), throat (pharynx), esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, stomach, and some leukemias. Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    How do I collect samples for a fecal occult blood test?

    Have all of your supplies ready and in one place when collecting samples for a fecal occult blood test (FOBT). Supplies will include a test kit, test cards, either a brush or wooden applicator, and a mailing envelope. The kit will give you detailed instructions on how to collect the specimen. The...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    Does inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) increase my risk of colon cancer?

    Yes. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, is a condition in which the colon is inflamed over a long period of time. People who have had IBD for many years often develop dysplasia. Dysplasia is a term used to describe cells in the lining of the colon...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    How much does smoking cost yearly?

    The prospect of better health is a major reason for quitting, but there are other reasons, too.
    Smoking is expensive. It isn't hard to figure out how much you spend on smoking: multiply how much money you spend on tobacco every day by 365 (days per year). The amount may surprise you. Now multiply...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What is a low anterior resection?

    Some stage I rectal cancers and most stage II or III cancers in the upper third of the rectum (close to where it connects with the colon) can be removed by low anterior resection. In this operation, the part of the rectum containing the tumor is removed without affecting the anus. The colon is then...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    How can exercise help fatigue in breast cancer patients?

    Fatigue is a very common symptom in people being treated for cancer. This is often not an ordinary type of tiredness but a "bone-weary" exhaustion that doesn't get better with rest. For some, this fatigue lasts a long time after treatment, and can make it hard for them to exercise and do other things...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What are the characteristics of stage I colorectal cancer?

    T1-T2, N0, M0: The cancer has grown through the muscularis mucosa into the submucosa (T1) or it may also have grown into the muscularis propria (T2). It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites. Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What are the possible side effects of chemotherapy?

    Chemotherapy drugs work by attacking cells that are dividing quickly, which is why they work against cancer cells. But other cells in the body, such as those in the bone marrow, the lining of the mouth and intestines, and the hair follicles, also divide quickly. These cells are also likely to be...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What happens during a colonoscopy?

    A colonoscopy itself usually takes about 30 minutes, but may take longer if a polyp is found and removed. Before the colonoscopy begins, you will be given a sedating medicine (usually through your vein) to make you feel comfortable and sleepy during the procedure. You will probably be awake, but...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    How is a core needle biopsy used to diagnose breast cancer?

    A core biopsy uses a larger needle to sample breast changes felt by the doctor or pinpointed by ultrasound or mammogram. (When mammograms taken from different angles are used to pinpoint the biopsy site, this is known as a stereotactic core needle biopsy.) In some centers, the biopsy can be guided...Read More
  • American Cancer Society

    What is a local transanal resection (full thickness resection)?

    This is a type of surgery for rectal cancer that is done with instruments inserted through the anus, without making an opening in the skin of the abdomen. This operation involves cutting through all layers of the rectum to remove cancer as well as some surrounding normal rectal tissue, and then closing...Read More