Cancer (medical term: malignant neoplasm) is a class of diseases in which a cell, or a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood). These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, and do not invade or metastasize. Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemia, do not. The branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer is oncology.

Cancer affects people at all ages with the risk for most types increasing with age.It caused about 13% of all human deaths in 2007 (7.6 million). Cancers are primarily an environmental disease with 90-95% of cases due to lifestyle and environmental factors and 5-10% due to genetics. Common environmental factors leading to cancer death include: tobacco (25-30%), diet and obesity (30-35%), infections (15-20%), radiation, stress, physical activity, environmental pollutants. These environmental factors cause abnormalities in the genetic material of cells.

Genetic abnormalities found in cancer typically affect two general classes of genes. Cancer-promoting oncogenes are typically activated in cancer cells, giving those cells new properties, such as hyperactive growth and division, protection against programmed cell death, loss of respect for normal tissue boundaries, and the ability to become established in diverse tissue environments. Tumor suppressor genes are then inactivated in cancer cells, resulting in the loss of normal functions in those cells, such as accurate DNA replication, control over the cell cycle, orientation and adhesion within tissues, and interaction with protective cells of the immune system.

Definitive diagnosis requires the histologic examination of a biopsy specimen, although the initial indication of malignancy can be symptomatic or radiographic imaging abnormalities. Most cancers can be treated and some forced into remission, depending on the specific type, location, and stage. Once diagnosed, cancer is usually treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. As research develops, treatments are becoming more specific for different varieties of cancer. There has been significant progress in the development of targeted therapy drugs that act specifically on detectable molecular abnormalities in certain tumors, and which minimize damage to normal cells. The prognosis of cancer patients is most influenced by the type of cancer, as well as the stage, or extent of the disease. In addition, histologic grading and the presence of specific molecular markers can also be useful in establishing prognosis, as well as in determining individual treatments.

Articles About Cancer

Actor Kenny Ireland Dies of Cancer

By IBTimes AU

Benidorm actor Kenny Ireland died at the age of 68 after battling cancer. (2:52 pm)

MORE TOPICS: TWITTER

Alcohol Kills 5,554 People – Report Finds

By IBTimes AU

Five thousand five hundred fifty-four deaths - 3,467 males and 1,087 - in Australia in 2010 were alcohol related. (Jul 31)

MORE TOPICS: AUSTRALIA

The Bizarre Truth about Purebred Dogs Goes Viral on YouTube [Watch Video]

By IBTimes AU

Dog lovers of the purebred adorable bulldog might want to think twice before getting one to take care. A comedy video explaining the bizarre truth about purebred dogs seriously ruins one's love for the four-legged pet. (Jul 31)

MORE TOPICS: TWITTER, AUSTRALIA

People Sunbath at Ostia beach.
Cut Down on Sunbathing: Strong Warning as Skin Cancer Takes a Deadly Leap

By IBTimes AU

Cut Down on Sunbathing, Strong Warning as Skin Cancer Takes a Deadly Leap. (Jul 31)

Germany's coach Joachim Loew is seen on television camera screens
Film Maker Kieth Famie Inspired by the Death of a Cancer Patient

By IBTimes AU

A 24-year-old cancer patient Maire Kent inspired the Michigan filmmaker Keith Famie for his documentary. Her October funeral served as its centerpiece. Famie is a 10-time Emmy-winning filmmaker. Famie said, "I met her by chance, actually. (Jul 31)

MORE TOPICS: MICHIGAN, SARCOMA

Clinical lead Doctor Al Story points to an x-ray
US Cancer Victim Inspires with The Journey After Death

By IBTimes AU

Life is unpredictable and can be cut short any moment. But the tale of a 24-year-old U.S. woman Maire Kent who succumbed to heart cancer has defied that maxim. (Jul 31)

MORE TOPICS: NEW YORK, MICHIGAN, SARCOMA

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas Happy to be Alive and Together

By IBTimes AU

Catherine Zeta-Jones shares devastation upon learning of husband's stage four cancer. (Jul 31)

MORE TOPICS: NEW YORK, BIPOLAR DISORDER, CONGRESS

A Google search page is reflected in sunglasses in this photo illustration taken in Brussels May 30, 2014.
Human Guinea Pigs for Google Health Projects

By IBTimes AU

A project called Baseline Study has been initiated by Google, for which it will amass anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 participants to create a crowd-sourced picture of human health. Google is in the hope of expanding the size to a thousand more. (Jul 30)

A woman pours tea into a tasting cup in Pinglin September 27, 2007.
Tea Gives You a Thinner Body and Beautiful Skin

By IBTimes AU

Loaded with polyphenols which act as anti oxidants and help in keeping the skin and the body healthy; an added advantage of drinking tea is that it facilitates weight loss. Dieticians all around the world have testified to the benefits of all kinds of tea. (Jul 30)

Justin Bieber Arrives for amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2014 Event in Antibes During the 67th Cannes Film Festival
Justin Bieber Makes Heart Warming Speech at Young Hollywood Awards, Gets Positive Feedback [VIDEO]

By IBTimes AU

Troubled star Justin Bieber has made a heart warming speech at the recent Young Hollywood Awards which is sure to give his current spoilt-brat image a bit of a push back. The "Baby" singer made a brief appearance at the Award Ceremony in Lo... (Jul 29)

MORE TOPICS: CALIFORNIA, COURT, HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES, JUSTIN BIEBER

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