By: Tricia Fleming,
Department of Health
Tammy Beason, MS, RD,
Nutrition Education Specialist,
Candance Gabel, MS, RD, LD
Associate State Nutrition Specialist,
Nutrition Education Program
Nutrition and Lifeskills
for Missouri Families
Why should I be concerned about Cancer?
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US after heart
disease. It kills one out of every four Americans.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a very general term. It begins when a cell starts to
unnecessarily divide and forms excess tissue known as a tumor. Tumors can
be malignant. A malignant tumor infiltrates surrounding tissue and spreads
throughout the body. A tumor can also be defined as benign. A benign tumor
is localized and does not spread throughout the body. Cancer can occur in
any cell in the body.
What causes Cancer?
The cause is generally unknown; researchers are gaining a good
knowledge of what can contribute to the occurrence of cancer. Some factors
are diet, obesity, cigarette and tobacco use, long-term exposure to
chemicals, exposure to high levels of radiation, some viruses, and immune
What are the symptoms of Cancer?
Unfortunately, most cancers do not have any symptoms until they are
well advanced. There are many methods of early detection. A great
guideline to follow is to use
in bowel or bladder habits
sore that will not heal
bleeding or discharge
or lump in breast or any part of the body
or difficulty swallowing
change in a wart or mole
cough or hoarseness
Can Cancer be prevented with dietary intervention?
The American Cancer Society has established
some basic guidelines:
Choose most of the foods you eat from
- Include fruits and veggies in every meal
- Eat other foods from plant sources such
as breads, cereals, grain products, rice, pasta or beans several times
Limit your intake of high-fat foods,
particularly from animal sources
- Choose baked and broiled instead of
- Select non-fat and low-fat dairy
Be physically active: Achieve and
maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active for 30 minutes on
most days of the week
Limit alcohol consumption, if you drink
Other Diet and Disease
Educational Support Materials:
Heart Disease Hypertension