Go to Health! (Because Life's Too Short)

Issue # 23 April 7, 1998

About the Author:

Shara Rendell-Smock, author

Shara Rendell-Smock has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles, including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

She's the author of two books of non-fiction: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's
Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff
For ordering information, click here.

To read more about these books, participate in an ongoing joke contest, surf on over to
www.rendell-smock.com .
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.

Shara signed with a New York Literary agency in December.

Cancer: Awareness is Halfway to Prevention

Part 1 of 5

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately two million new cancer cases will be reported this year. Of this staggering number, the most common cancers - skin, prostate, breast, and lung, respectively - account for 800,000,  317,100,  184,300, and 177,000 new cases annually. To promote prevention and health, the United States has designated April as Cancer Awareness Month.

Normally, our cells divide and reproduce in order to replace tissues, repair injuries, and promote cell growth. Cancer interferes with this pattern, causing cells to divide rapidly and form masses called tumors. Benign tumors may cause pain and impede customary health, but typically do not metastasize (spread to other parts of the body). Malignant, cancerous tumors destroy normal tissues and may metastasize, making treatment much more difficult.

Many cancers are preventable. The American Cancer Society determines that 90% of the 800,000 annually diagnosed skin cancers could have been prevented by protection from the sun. Further, they state that all cancers caused by smoking and heavy alcohol consumption could be prevented.

Diet is another factor under a person's control. Eating fruits, vegetables, and fiber may reduce some cancers. Regular screening exams and self-tests can also detect many cancers.

For all cases, early treatment is the key to a cure. With early detection, about 95% of cancer victims survive. Over ten million Americans alive today have a history of cancer. Approximately seven million of them were diagnosed at least five years ago, and most of these people are considered cured -- having the same life expectancy as someone who has not had cancer.

Of course, a second opinion on positive test results and diagnosis is often advised. Treatment options, then, for skin cancer may consist of electrosurgery, cryosurgery (freezing with liquid nitrogen), radiation therapy, or laser or excisional surgery. For other cancers, treatment includes surgery, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, stem cell rescue (an alternative to bone marrow transplant), and chemotherapy.

Risk Factors


  • Chronic overexposure to sun
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Large number of moles or freckles
  • In some cases, contact with arsenic, exposure to radiation, complications of burns, tattoos


  • In general, the risk increases as you grow older
  • Family history of prostate cancer
  • High-fat diet
  • Black American men are more at risk


  • Risk increases as you grow older
  • History of breast cancer in close family
  • Being childless or having had the first child after age 30
  • Obesity (20% over ideal body weight)
  • Beginning the menstrual period at an early age
  • Going through menopause at a late age
  • Heavy alcohol consumption


  • Smoking or using tobacco
  • Exposure to hazardous material
  • Black American men and women
  • White women

Next Week:

Info on types of skin cancer and encouragement about prevention and treatment.

Back to the top / Previous Issues / Latest

Explore The New Sideroad

Part of the original Sideroad. Text © 1998, Shara Rendell-Smock. Posted on April 7, 1998. The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at www.sideroad.com.

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at www.rendell-smock.com