Overview for Caregivers - Cancer
Cancer starts with small changes in the body’s cells or group of cells (1). Healthy functioning cells grow, work, multiply and die according to signals from its genes (1). However, if these signals are damaged or missing, cells can grow and multiply too much and form a lump in the body called a tumour (1). Malignant (cancerous) tumour cells are able to spread to other parts of the body (1). Benign (non-cancerous) tumours do not spread and are not usually dangerous (1).
It is important to find cancer early so treatment can start as soon as possible (2). Becoming informed about cancer and knowing what to do if you have the disease are important parts of treatment (3). The Canadian Cancer Society has resources to help with this, including supports and services that are offered in your province or territory (3).
There are many healthy habits that can reduce the risk of getting cancer:
- not smoking and avoiding second hand smoke,
- following a balanced and nutritious diet,
- getting regular exercise,
- protecting yourself from ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and refraining from the use of tanning beds,
- being tested for signs of the disease (screening) (3).
(1) Cancer Research UK. (2017). What is cancer? Retrieved from https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/how-cancer-starts
(2) Canadian Cancer Society. (2018). What is cancer? Retrieved from http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/what-is-cancer/?region=on
(3) Public Health Agency of Canada. (2018). Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/chronic-diseases/cancer.html