Cancer is caused by changes, or mutations, in a cell’s genes. Researchers have learned that mutations in genes can be caused by risk factors, such as lifestyle or the environment.
It is common for cancers to be named for the part of the body or type of cell where they originate. Cancers normally start out small and in one part of the body. The cancer cells can break away, or metastasize, from the primary site of diagnosis. The metastasized cancer cells can enter the bloodstream, spreading to other areas of the body and forming new tumors. The new tumors and primary tumor have the same name because they are made of the same kind of abnormal cells.
The best time to detect and diagnose cancer is in the early stage of its growth. Not all cancers have early warning signs so it is important to regularly check your body for any changes. If you have any concerns, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Having regular check-ups and screenings helps your doctor monitor any irregular changes in your body.