Comprehensive Cancer Control 

The Arkansas Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program provides leadership for, and coordination of, Arkansas's statewide comprehensive cancer control efforts guided by the Arkansas Cancer Plan.

What is Comprehensive Cancer Control?

Comprehensive Cancer control is an integrated, coordinated approach to reduce incidence, death and disability from cancer. The efforts help encourage healthy lifestyles, promote recommended cancer screening guidelines and tests, increase access to quality cancer care, eliminate health disparities and improve quality of life for cancer survivors.

The CCC program is committed to reducing the burden of cancer in Arkansas by providing an improved quality of life for those affected by cancer, working with stakeholders and policy makers to examine the current status of cancer control, and developing strategies to reduce overall cancer incidence and mortality.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and invade other tissues and parts of the body.  Cancers have different causes, respond differently to treatments and have different survival rates. It is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start - for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in basal cells of the skin is called basal cell carcinoma.

Cancer types can be grouped into broader categories. The main categories of cancer include:

  • Carcinoma - cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. 
  • Sarcoma - cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue. 
  • Leukemia - cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood. 
  • Lymphoma and myeloma - cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system. 
  • Central nervous system cancers - cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

Origin of Cancer

All cancers begin in cells, the body's basic unit of life. To understand cancer, it's helpful to know what happens when normal cells become cancer cells.

The body is made up of many types of cells. These cells grow and divide in a controlled way to produce more cells as they are needed to keep the body healthy. When cells become old or damaged, they die and are replaced with new cells. However, sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. The genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. When this happens, cells do not die when they should and new cells form when the body does not need them. The extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumor.

Not all tumors are cancerous; tumors can be benign or malignant.

  • Benign tumors aren't cancerous. They can often be removed, and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. 
  • Malignant tumors are cancerous. Cells in these tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. Some cancers do not form tumors. For example, leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood.

Cancer Burden In Arkansas

  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Arkansas as well as the US. Some of the common cancers are bladder, breast, colorectal, endometrial, kidney, leukemia, lung, melanoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, pancreatic, prostate, and thyroid. 
  • According to the Cancer Facts & Figures 2011, an estimated 16,070 Arkansans will be diagnosed with cancer and 6,460 will die due to cancer in 2011. 
  • In 2011, an estimated 2,660 lung cancer, 2,400 prostate cancer, 2,100 breast cancer, and 1,550 colorectal cancer diagnoses are expected to occur in Arkansas. 
  • The 2003-2007 age adjusted cancer incidence rate among males in Arkansas (565.2 per 100,000) was higher than the U.S average (552.5 per 100,000) whereas the female rate (386.5 per 100,000) was lower than the U.S average (414.7 per 100,000).
  • Prostate and breast cancers remain the number one cancer diagnoses among men and women respectively in Arkansas and the US. 
  • Lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, consumption of high-fat foods and physical inactivity remain as major risk factors for many cancers.

Sources: Cancer Facts and Figures 2010; http://www.cancer.org/; National Cancer Institute; http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/ 

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