Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

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General Information: Cancer

At Sylvester, we apply a targeted, site-based approach to treating cancer. This means that multidisciplinary teams of dedicated, board-certified doctors with expertise studying and treating specific types of cancer (based on the site where the cancer originates in the body) oversee care. This approach provides our patients with state-of-the-art care from physicians who are not only cancer specialists, but sub-specialists in a particular type of cancer.

Sylvester combines highly specialized, expert cancer care with state-of-the-art treatment technology. Our team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, and radiologists work together – as a team – to determine the most effective approach for each patient.

What is Cancer?

Cancer begins with a growth or tumor. A tumor occurs when abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and form a mass. The tumor can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous). The cells in this tumor divide without control or order, and they can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs.

These abnormal cells can also break away from the tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system. That is how cancer spreads from the original (primary) site to other parts of the body (secondary sites). The process is called metastasis.

Half of all men and one-third of all women in the U.S. will develop cancer during their lifetimes, according to the American Cancer Society.

What Are the Risk Factors for Cancer?

Anything that may increase a person’s chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be avoided. Others, like inherited genes, cannot. The risk of developing most types of cancer can be reduced by changes in a person’s lifestyle, for example, by quitting smoking, protecting your skin from the sun, being physically active, and eating a healthy diet. The earlier a cancer is detected and treated, the better the chances are for a positive outcome.

It is important to know, however, that avoiding risk factors does not guarantee that a person will not get cancer. Conversely, a person who has one or more risk factors for a specific type of cancer will not necessarily get the disease.

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