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Cancer is the general name of a group of diseases. Normally your body cells grow, divide, and die in a timely and orderly fashion. Cancer happens when abnormal cells start to grow out of control and invade other tissues.

Here are some facts about cancer:

  • There are more than 100 different types of cancer
  • Cancer begin in your body’s cells
  • Cancer cells can spread into other parts of the body
  • Untreated cancer can cause serious illness and even death

The most common types of cancers are:

  • Breast cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Colon cancer

It is important to remember that not all tumors are cancer. These tumors are called benign and are almost never life threatening, but can grow very large.

Educational Resources

Below are some resources addressing cultural and spiritual aspects of cancer care for American Indians and Alaska Natives, produced through the Southwest American Indian Collaborative Network.

  • Keeping Our Spirit Strong [PDF - 4 KB]
    A video discussion guide for "Cancer Has Crept among Us" and "American Indian Attitudes & Values: An Integral Part in Cancer Care"
  • Spiritual Care within Oncology Care [PDF - 187 KB]
    An article describing the Oncology Care Program at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center


Breast cancer ribbonCombat Cancer
The best way to combat cancer is to stay healthy by being physically active, eating well, and talking with your health care provider about cancer screening tests.