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Information on Cancer

Whether you have been newly diagnosed, are a patient undergoing treatment or would like to gain a better understanding about cancer, here you will find guidance in defining cancer, its prevention and diagnosis.

Defining Cancer

What is Cancer?
Simply put, cancer is a term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably, invading nearby tissues (known as a tumor) and possibly spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream or lymphatic system.

Preventing Cancer
Your environment (both home and the workplace), nutrition and lifestyle all affect your cancer risk. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has documented those risks and associated prevention strategies as part of their cancer prevention guide.

Chief amongst cancer risks across all demographics is tobacco use, especially smoking. Browse the ACS Guide to Quitting Smoking for valuable information on smoking cessation.

Diagnosing Cancer
Although facing a diagnosis of cancer can be frightening, resources are available to help you. Keep in mind that there are many myths and misconceptions about cancer. Over half of people who are diagnosed with cancer have a good chance of long-term survival. Those odds are increasing in your favor, as new treatments are developed every day.

The importance of early detection in cancer diagnosis can not be stressed enough. It is the key to that high probability of surviving cancer. The ACS has established comprehensive guidelines, Finding Cancer Early: ACS Guidelines, for early detection in patients who have yet to exhibit symptoms of cancer.

You may also find the ACS's detailed exam and test descriptions helpful.

Men's & Women’s Health Screens
WELLAWARE offers screening programs several times a year for the general public and our business partners in central Missouri. Prevention is the best way to address any risk. These screens, designed for those ages 40 to 64, will help those that participate to learn what areas of their health status need to be addressed to reduce the risk of preventable diseases.

Learn more about health screens from WELLAWARE

Mammography is used to detect, via x-rays, of tumors of the breast that are too small to be noted by other methods. Mammography can be done with film or digitally. Digital mammography uses less radiation and stores its imagery in a computer, allowing the radiologist another powerful tool in diagnosing the patient.

You can learn more about the Harris Breast Center, part of the Boone Hospital's Outpatient Services, is the only state-of-the art, all digital, ACR accredited triple mammography unit in Columbia. The Center's testing is performed in a private environment and mammograms are interpreted by a radiologist who is accredited by the American College of Radiology.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Developed in 1972, this technology captures data of tumor cells in action. PET is widely used for the clinical evaluation of patients with various cancers, including esophageal cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer. It accurately gauges the severity and spread of cancer by revealing the metabolic activity of tissues using small amounts of a radioactive compound. In some cases, PET imagining gives radiologists a way to detect cancer in early, more treatable stages-sometimes months before a tumor becomes evident through other forms of imaging.

Computed Tomography (CT)
These images help verify the presence of kidney and pancreatic cancer, among others. A CT scan combines a series of two-dimensional x-ray "slices" of a subject, and uses a computer to rebuild those scans into a three-dimensional model.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A mainstay for viewing the complex anatomy of the brain and detecting tumors there and in other internal organs, because of the sharp detail it provides. This non-invasive procedure also provides a frame of reference for methods such as functional MRI (fMRI), which highlights active brain regions. Additional uses of MRI that may influence future cancer care include high-resolution BOLD venography (HRBV), which may provide a way to measure tumor growth by visualizing how many veins a tumor has to carry away its waste products.

Ultrasound (US)
Ultrasound uses sound waves above the audible frequency to detect and characterize tumors, especially those of the liver, kidney, pancreas and reproductive organs. Echoes reflected off normal and abnormal tissues are captured by a computer to create 2-D images. Radiologists interpret these images to determine whether a mass is a solid tumor (it appears gray) or a benign, fluid-filled cyst (it appears black). Specialists use US to guide the placement of needles during biopsies of tumors in the breast, liver and many other organs. US also guides the placement of radioactive pellets during prostate cancer treatment.

Endoscopic Ultrasonography (EUS)
A variation of ultrasound involving the use of a probe on the end of a fiber-optic endoscope to look at intestinal abnormalities. This allows Boone Hospital Center physicians to differentiate between tumors, cysts and stones in the bile duct, pancreas and other abdominal organs. Endoscopic US also can visualize rectal tumors and determine whether they have spread.

Learn more about radiology at Boone Hospital Center

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