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Chronic Disease Spotlight: Cancer

Chronic diseases are among the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems in the U.S., according to the CDC. Join us in learning more about chronic diseases — heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis — how they affect us, and what we can do to help prevent them.

Has cancer affected you or someone you love? About half of men and one-third of women will develop cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. Pain doesn’t end with the one diagnosed — it extends emotionally and financially to family members. The ripple effect continues. The economic impact of cancer is astounding. The National Institutes of Health estimated that cancer cost the U.S. an estimated $263.8 billion in medical costs and lost productivity in 2010.

What is cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and invade other tissues. There are over 100 types of cancer and they are named after the originating place in your body. For example, liver cancer starts in the liver. However, some cancers are grouped into broader categories — carcinoma, leukemia, lymphoma.

Counting cancer

  • About 77% of all cancers are diagnosed in people over 55 years old.
  • More than 1.6 million new cancer cases are diagnosed each year.

  • It's the second most common cause of death in the U.S. (behind heart disease).
  • One in four deaths are due to cancer.

Source: American Cancer Society

What are the most common types of cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts and Figures 2014 report, the most common types of cancer are prostate for males and breast for females. Lung and bronchus cancer is the most deadly.

What causes cancer?

The same report also addresses the two main causes of cancer — hereditary and environmental factors. Certainly, your family history is influential. But out of every 20 cases, only one is linked to genes. Environmental factors range from physical activity, diet, sun exposure, obesity, as well as pollutants in the air, food, water and soil, and account for almost 80% of cancer cases and deaths in the U.S.

Strong evidence supports that altering your environmental factors by living a healthy life can help prevent cancer. GuideStone’s wellness challenge was designed to help you get started. Accept the challenge that may help you reduce your risk of cancer.

Looking for more information about cancer? If you have a GuideStone medical or dental plan, you have access to additional health and wellness resources through Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield or Cigna’s website.

Highmark Wellness

Log in and select the Health Topics tab. On the left side, select Health Library, then "Diseases and Conditions."

Cigna Wellness

Log in and select the Manage My Health tab.


GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention welcomes the opportunity to share this general information. However, this article is not intended to be relied upon as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.