April Physician Focus: The Causes of Cancer

Cancer is perhaps the diagnosis patients fear the most. Treatments can be long and exhausting, and the disease can bring anxiety and uncertainty for patients and their families. The disease is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., surpassed only by heart disease, and claims nearly 600,000 lives each year. The American Cancer Society projects more than 1.6 million new cases of the disease will be diagnosed this year.

A recent study indicated that most cancers are the result of just “bad luck” in how our cells multiply and mutate, yet long-standing research shows that genetics, lifestyle issues, and environmental factors play important roles in developing cancer.

Public surveys, however, have shown a lack of understanding and many misperceptions about the causes of cancer. To raise public awareness about this common condition, the April edition of Physician Focus features Robb Friedman, M.D., (photo, right) a board-certified oncologist and hematologist and Director of The Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Needham, who joins program host Dale Magee, M.D., (left) a past president of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Among the topics of conversation are how cancer develops and what patients can do not only to reduce their risks of getting the disease, but also to prevent some types of cancer from occurring.

Physician Focus, now in its 11th consecutive year of production, is available for viewing on public access television stations throughout Massachusetts. It is also available online at www.physicianfocus.org, www.massmed.org/physicianfocus, and on YouTube.

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