What is cancer?
Cancer is a condition in which the cells of your body grow and divide in an uncontrolled way, these cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems (metastasize) and can begin growing uncontrollably in a new part of the body. Cancer is not just one disease – more than 100 different types of cancer are known. Different cancers will respond to different treatments and can grow or spread at different rates.
Why is cancer a concern?
What is known about cancer and the environment?
Getting older. Most cancers (about 85%) are diagnosed in people over 50 years old.
- Tobacco use
- Radiation, ultraviolet and ionizing
- Certain chemicals and other substances
- Family history of cancer
- Alcohol use
- Poor diet and inactive lifestyle
- Being overweight
- Some viruses and bacteria
- Certain hormones
How can risk be reduced?
Not smoking. If you do smoke, quit.
Following your doctor’s advice for recommended cancer screenings
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
Maintaining a healthy weight
Being physically active
Limiting alcohol intake
Avoiding exposure to excessive ultraviolet rays from the sun and from tanning beds
Following safety tips to avoid or reduce exposure to harmful substances such as asbestos, radon pesticides, solvents, and other chemicals
How is cancer tracked?
The Colorado Central Cancer Registry (CCCR) at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is tasked with tracking cancers diagnosed and treated in Colorado residents. Colorado state law makes cancer a reportable disease, and the CCCR receives cancer case reports from a variety of sources such as hospitals, treatment centers, pathology laboratories, and physician offices. The CCCR uses the information it gathers to track cancer rates (incidence) and survival rates over time for each type of cancer.
The Health Statistics Section records every death due to cancer in the state. Deaths are recorded as being due to cancer when the cancer was the primary cause of death. A person may die from other causes but have active cancer at the same time.