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Understanding and coping with cancer

For many Americans, the "C" word, cancer, is one of the most feared words in the medical field. And due to its prevalence, that fear is justified. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is defined as

a group of diseases that are marked by the growth and spread of abnormal cells. Many outside factors affect the likelihood of cancer, such as tobacco use, exposure to the sun or exposure to certain chemicals. In addition, the World Cancer Fund suggests that as much as one third of all cases of cancer are the result of poor health, including physical inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity.

Thankfully, advances in research and medicine have made cancer detection and treatment far better than ever before. In addition, cancer awareness campaigns by various charitable groups remind us of the seriousness of the disease and encourage us to take proactive measures for cancer screenings. In addition, these organizations regularly run events and work with companies and industries throughout the country to raise money for cancer research.

Just how much does cancer affect Americans? The numbers are staggering.

As many as 14.5 million Americans are living cancer survivors. Unfortunately though, over 1.6 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and nearly 600,000 are expected to die from the disease.

Since the disabling disease can affect a person's life and ability to continue gainful work, the Social Security Administration lists cancer among the qualifying medical conditions for Social Security Disability Insurance. To qualify, applicants must prove that the disease is expected to last at least a year or eventually lead to death.

Source: American Cancer Society, "Cancer Facts & Figures 2015," Accessed on Nov. 10, 2015

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