Cancer can begin in any part of the body.
The different kinds of cancer are determined by where they start. Leukemias, for example, grow in bone marrow and are present in the blood stream. Lymphomas begin in the lymph nodes of the immune system. Sarcomas start in supporting tissues like bone, fat, and muscle.
Carcinomas, the most common types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, start in the cells that cover external and internal body surfaces – think lung, colon, and breast cancer.
Once cancer has begun to grow, even if it is extremely small, there are many ways we can detect it through regular screenings.
For breast cancer, mammograms remain the gold standard of early detection. They can find abnormalities before patients even notice symptoms. That’s why regular mammograms are important, especially for women age 40 and older and why it is critical to have access to the latest technology. 3D mammograms, for example, present a new era of early detection and better outcomes for women.
All women should be performing regular self-exams as well. This involves a simple process of feeling for lumps and looking for abnormalities in the mirror. Even if you are diligent about your annual screening, you are your own best tool to find problems and catch cancer early.