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

Gabriel Marquez
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By IBTimes IN

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File photo of Colombian Nobel Prize laureate Garcia Marquez waving at reporters in San Vicente del Caguan
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By Reuters

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian author whose beguiling stories of love and longing brought Latin America to life for millions of readers, died on Thursday. He was 87. (4:10 pm)

MORE TOPICS: BARACK OBAMA, STORM, MEXICO, NEW YORK, CUBA, NOBEL PRIZE

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By IBTimes AU

Catherine Zeta-Jones was seen with Michael Douglas for the first time since they got separated in August. She walked on the red carpet with Douglas on Tuesday April 15. (Apr 17)

MORE TOPICS: NEW YORK, BIPOLAR DISORDER

Representational Image
China Blames France's Veolia for Supervision Flaws in Tap Water Pollution Case

By Reuters

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Man Devours Newborn Baby Stolen From Graveyard

By IBTimes AU

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MORE TOPICS: PAKISTAN

Chrissy Amphlett’s ‘I Touch Myself’ Becomes Breast Cancer Anthem

By IBTimes AU

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‘Bones’ Season 9, Episode 12 Spoilers: ‘Ghost in the Killer’ starring Emily Deschanel
'Bones' Season 9, Episode 21, 'Cold in the Case' Spoilers: From 'Medical Marijuana' to Cryogenics [Watch Promo Video]

By IBTimes AU

"Bones" Season 9, Episode 21 airs on Monday, Apr. 14 on FOX. Titled "The Cold in the Case," this week's new episode tackles cryogenics. Last week's medical marijuana theme is still fresh in many viewers mind. (Apr 15)

Shailene Woodley and Theo James attend the premiere of "Divergent" in Los Angeles
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By IBTimes IN

For those who love the sizzling chemistry of Shailene Woodley and Theo James; here is another reason to smile. Moreover, the third part will be split into two, so that the fans can get as much as they want of their favorite on-screen couple. (Apr 14)

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India, China and Russia Accounts for Huge Cancer Deaths Worldwide: Study (Reuters)
India, China and Russia Account for Huge Cancer Deaths Worldwide: Study

By IBTimes IN

China, India, and Russia that account for around 40 percent of the world's population, experience 46 percent of cancer worldwide. These countries also account for 52 percent of cancer deaths globally, according to a new research paper published in the Lancet journal. (Apr 12)

MORE TOPICS: CHINA, RUSSIA, INDIA

Criminal Minds Season 9 Episode 21 Recap: Beware of the Party with Pigs

By IBTimes AU

Another episode of Criminal Minds has the team coming after a possible vigilante who kills for a personal cause. Meanwhile, Morgan’s personal life takes a turn for the more serious. (Apr 11)

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