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.

Headlines Around the Web

AstraZeneca strikes biotech deal

Jan 08 - Financial Times

Patent war spills over to non-cancer drugs

Dec 19 - The Times of India

Affordable drug for small cell lung cancer

Dec 05 - The Times of India

Bayer offers $2.4bn for Norway’s Algeta

Nov 26, 2013 - Financial Times

Sanofi Aventis arm drags DRL to court

Nov 23, 2013 - The Times of India

Cadila launches low-cost cancer drug

Nov 22, 2013 - The Times of India

AstraZeneca to invest £120m in UK factory

Nov 12, 2013 - Financial Times

Coburn diagnosed with cancer

Nov 06, 2013 - Politico

Shutdown's prolonged science fallout

Oct 17, 2013 - Politico

Sun Pharma may gain due to drug shortage in US

Sep 27, 2013 - The Times of India

Sun Pharma shares at record high

Sep 26, 2013 - The Times of India

‘Bristol-Myers misleading HC in patent case’

Sep 14, 2013 - The Times of India

Oncology R & D: the medical perennial

Sep 06, 2013 - Financial Times

Articles About Cancer

Brain Tumor
Australia to Host Human Tests for New Brain Tumour Treatment

By IBTimes AU

The world’s first clinical trials for brain cancer cure can improve therapeutic strategies for Gliobalastoma treatment. (3:28 pm)


Maria Sharapova Of Russia Blows A Kiss After Defeating Samantha Murray Of Britain In Their Women's Singles Ttennis Match At The Wimbledon Tennis Championships, In London
Cancer Survivor Meets Tennis Icon Maria Sharapova

By IBTimes AU

A 10-year-old cancer survivor Sunny Logan met her tennis idol Maria Sharapova. (2:55 pm)


Movember Ends With Shave-Off

By IBTimes AU

No-Shave November movement has come to an end. It ended with an official "shave-off" where the men removed their moustaches and shared stories of what they went through. (Nov 27)

Doctors examine patients at a medical centre of the Greek delegation of the Doctors of the World in Athens May 31, 2012. Greece's rundown state hospitals are cutting off vital drugs, limiting non-urgent operations and rationing even basic medical material
Viral Video: Free Testicular Exam In LA Raises $5,300 For Movember (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEOS)

By IBTimes AU

Because of the private nature of a testicular exam, only six men in Los Angeles allowed themselves to be given testicular exam by a young and hot female named Marissa dressed in a sexy white nurse uniform. (Nov 26)


Girl Gives Free Testicle Exams On International Men’s Day For Charity, Simple Pickup Donates To Movember

By IBTimes AU (No Google news)

Six strangers agreed to get free testicle exams from a woman in Simple Pickup's viral video. (Nov 26)

Brazilian patient Luana, 10, talks with her doctor before the 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match between Brazil and Mexico at the Cancer Itaci Hospital in Sao Paulo June 17, 2014.
From Iron Ore To Infant Formula, Gina Rinehart To Build $175M Cancer Hospital In Darwin

By IBTimes AU

There is no stopping Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, from further expanding her estimated $22 billion wealth. Reports said that the mining tycoon is constructing a $175 million cancer hospital in Darwin. (Nov 25)


Women toss their bras during the 5th Pink Bra Spring and Bra Toss and help Push Up the Fight Against Breast Cancer at the Trocadero Square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Terminally-Ill Australian Mother Fights For Time With Premature Baby; Flooded With Donations

By IBTimes AU

Michelle Buccholtz from Melbourne discovered that her cancer had returned during her third pregnancy. (Nov 22)


Jessie J
Jessie J Shares Battle With Heart Disease: 'I Wished Someone Would Come And Sing To Me'

By IBTimes AU

Jessie J shares how blessed she is for overcoming her Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. (Nov 21)


Shailene Woodley arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York
Shailene Woodley Talks About Ansel Elgort's Awful-Smelling Perfume In The GQ's "Men of The Year" issue

By IBTimes AU

Shailene brought out her inner vixen for GQ magazine shoot. (Nov 20)

Peter Norbot and Kris Hamilton (L), dressed up as fictional comic book superhero Spider-Man, look through a magazine as they wait for their turn to audition to be a part of a promotional campaign for the upcoming release of the new movie "The Amazing
Dad’s Bittersweet Spider-Man Surprise For Cancer-Stricken Son Earns Praises

By IBTimes AU (No Google news)

Michael Wilson is being applauded for dressing up as a Spider-Man to surprise his cancer-stricken son. (Nov 20)


Follow Business & Health
Health in your inbox

Get all our news delivered to your inbox.


We value your privacy. Your email address will not be shared.