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By Elizabeth Silverthorne

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Extra info for Cancer (Diseases and Disorders)

Sample text

Control of Risk Factors Some cancer risk factors cannot be controlled. Age—the single most important risk factor for cancer—is one over which people have no control. More than half of all cancers occur in older people. The other risk factor beyond human control is heredity. People cannot choose the genes they inherit. Although cancer caused by inherited genes is infrequent, if a certain type of cancer has occurred in close relatives, a person may opt to have more frequent screenings or to undergo genetic tests.

In World War II, when atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bombs released huge amounts of nuclear radiation. Among those who survived the explosions, many were diagnosed with leukemia in the following years. There was a 50 percent increase in the number of leukemia cases in Japan from 1946 to the early 1950s. Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the atomic bomb exploded over her home in Hiroshima. She survived to become a runner who won many races at her school.

Detecting and Treating Cancer 29 Organization says successful screening programs depend on three principles: • The target disease should be a common form of cancer, with high associated morbidity [sickness] and mortality [death]. • Effective treatment, capable of reducing morbidity and mortality, should be available. 5 Some proven screening tests have undoubtedly saved many lives. Mammograms are low-dose X-rays of the breasts that can reveal tumors. The Pap test is used to screen for cervical cancer.

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