Cancer is not one disease but rather a variety of diseases characterized by cells in the body that grow abnormally and destroy healthy organs and tissues, often resulting in death. In the United States, cancer kills more people than nearly all other causes except heart disease.

As a result, a great deal of time and effort has been spent to eradicate, or cure cancer.

Various organs and tissues in the body are susceptible to cancer. Some cancers are relatively easy to diagnose and treat while others are nearly impossible to detect until they reach a stage where it is too late to help the patient.

Cancer can be caused either by genetics (in other words, it can be inherited), or by environmental causes (such as smoking or poor diet). Although a cancer caused by genetics can be difficult to prevent, those caused by environmental factors can be avoided altogether.

The medical community believes that there are certain things individuals have within their power to do to reduce the risk of cancer. Physical fitness and diet (eating certain foods and herbs) can help reduce the likelihood of getting certain cancers. However, once a patient has cancer, there is no such thing as a "cancer diet" or miracle cancer foods that can cure the patient. That said, doctors always recommend a healthy diet, which by itself may not cure a cancer patient but may help during treatment.

There are a number of treatments for certain cancers which, when caught early enough, can be halted before hurting the patient. Cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are just a few of the better known ones.

Today, the survival rate in the U.S. for cancer patients is 66 percent, an improvement over the 50 percent cancer survival rate from the 1970's. Thanks to modern medicine, cancers are being diagnosed earlier than in the past, resulting in a better chance of survival, and cancer treatments are more effective than they have ever been.