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

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas
Catherine Zeta Jones And Michael Douglas Overcome Marriage Problems, Move Into Their $11M Mansion

By IBTimes AU

Zeta Jones and Douglas are likely to celebrate their wedding anniversary at their new home. (9:24 pm)


Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman's Skin Cancer Update: 'X-Men' Star Diagnosed WIth Basal Cell Carcinoma, Undergoes Surgery For Third Time

By IBTimes AU

Jackman has become a huge supporter of sunscreen after being diagnosed with skin cancer. (2:27 pm)


Sherry Pollex (L), girlfriend of Martin Truex Jr. (R) points out a friend as the two walk down the pit row before Truex's qualifying for the Winn-Dixie 250 Busch Series NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida June 30,
NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr.’s Girlfriend Sherry Pollex Continues Her Fight With Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer

By IBTimes AU

With optimism, Martin Truex Jr.'s girlfriend Sherry Pollex shares her fight against ovarian cancer. (11:39 am)


A couple kisses during sunset
Sex With 20 Women Or More Reduces Risk Of Prostate Cancer, Canadian Research Says

By IBTimes AU

A Canadian research shows that heterosexual men who sleep with 20 or more women during their lifetime are less likely to get diagnosed with prostate cancer. (10:40 am)

Tory Elected As Toronto Mayor
Tory Ends Ford Dominion, Becomes Mayor Of Toronto

By IBTimes AU

Canada's Toronto has a new mayor. (Oct 28)

A man admires a 1955 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop guitar belonging to David Gilmour of Pink Floyd (R) and a sunburst Fender Stratocaster formerly owned by Jimi Hendrix (C) at the 'Travelling Guitars' exhibition at the Cite de la Musique in Paris Octo
You Could Rev Up For Pink Floyd's Last Album Release On Nov 10 With A Teaser Video

By IBTimes AU (No Google news)

Davi Gilmour and Nick Mason team up in an exciting video preview of their last album release. (Oct 28)


Actress Ariana Grande Arrives At The 27th Annual Kids' Choice Awards In Los Angeles
Ebola Update: Ariana Grande Reportedly Cancels New York Appearance Due To 'Ebola Scare'

By IBTimes AU

Ariana Grande said to have canceled her appearance in New York due to rising Ebola threat. (Oct 27)


British Singer And Model Katie Price
Katie Price Got Her First Buyer For Her Fake Used Silicone Breasts In The Form Of Josie Cunningham

By IBTimes AU

The singer is auctioning her fake boobs. (Oct 27)


Putin During An Informal Meeting Of The Collective Security Treaty Organization
Putin Wants To Invade Ukraine Soon Because Of His Falling Health: Reports

By IBTimes AU

Putin is acting like a wounded angel, feeling for former Soviet states turning into satellites of the rival west. (Oct 27)


German national Marc Sueselbec grieves beside the coffin of his fiancee, slain transgender Jennifer Laude, in Olongapo city north of Manila October 20, 2014. The Philippines on Friday issued a summons for an American serviceman, U.S. Marine Joseph Scott P
Philippine President’s Refusal To Attend Wake Of Slain Transgender Sparks Rage

By IBTimes AU

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said over the weekend that he did not intend to insult the family of the Filipino transgender, who was allegedly killed by a 19-year-old American soldier after a sex encounter, when he did not attend the funeral of slain Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude. (Oct 27)


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.