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

A Uruguay fan bares his teeth before the 2014 World Cup round of 16 game between Colombia and Uruguay at the Maracana stadium
232 Teeth Extracted from a Teenager: World Record

By IBTimes AU

A 17-year-old boy, Ashiq Gavai of Buldhana, India, was experiencing tremendous pain in his jaw for eighteen months; after the seven hour surgery, the doctors were dumbfounded by the outcome. They had removed a lot of teeth from the molar and on count they found out that the total number was 232. (3:29 pm)


Television personality Kim Kardashian attends the Vera Wang Spring/Summer 2012 collection show during New York Fashion Week September 13, 2011. Television personality Kim Kardashian attends the Vera Wang Spring/Summer 2012 collection show during New York
Kim Kardashian's Ketogenic Diet Prevents Cancer and Diabetes

By IBTimes AU

Kim Kardashian's Ketogenic Diet Prevents Cancer and Diabetes. (10:58 am)


Britain's Prince George is seen ahead of his first birthday during a visit to the Sensational Butterflies exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London
7 Prince George Facts You Didn't Know

By IBTimes AU

Britain’s Prince George had just turned one. Just a year ago the entire world waited in bated breath for the birth of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s first child. A year later and the world still can’t get enough of this little tyke. (10:22 am)


Grijns, Dutch Ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV/AIDS, speaks to delegates at 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne
HIV/AIDS Cure a Step Closer with Anti-Cancer Drugs 'Kicking' Virus Out of Infected Cells

By IBTimes AU

A recent breakthrough in AIDS research has found a way to "kick out" HIV from the body's cells. According to reports, a Danish study discovered that anti-cancer drugs can eliminate HIV from infected cells. (Jul 23)


A view of the Belgian headquarters of U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, in Brussels in this January 23, 2007 file photo. An early study of Pfizer's experimental drug figitumumab has found it could help fight a rare bone cancer called Ewing's sar
Higher Concentration of Trace Elements in Bone Cancer: First Study Worldwide

By IBTimes AU

Higher concentration of trace elements in bone cancer: First Study Worldwide. (Jul 23)

HIV Cure: First Effective Cure to Have Long-Term Remission; 3 Factors to Check on Inactive Virus

By IBTimes AU

HIV researchers hope for an effective and functional cure may have a little setback called "long-term remission" instead of full annihilation of the virus. The status means that someone can still have detectable levels of the virus but not active enough to require further treatment. (Jul 22)


Members of a surgical team implant a donated harvested kidney to transplant into patient Adam Abernathy as part of a five-way organ transplant swap in New York, August 1, 2012.
Enzyme That Stops Progression of Kidney Cancer: Found

By IBTimes AU

Enzyme That Stops Progression of Kidney Cancer: Found. (Jul 22)


SHERYL CROW: Grammy-winning rock star Sheryl Crow, 51, was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in February 2006 after a routine mammogram. She has campaigned for women aged over 35 to have annual mammograms.
Genetic Cause of Common Breast Tumors Identified: A Big Milestone Achieved

By IBTimes AU

Genetic Cause of Common Breast Tumors Identified: A Big Mile Stone Achieved (Jul 22)


Breakthrough in HIV Medications: Two Australian Men and One In Rockford 'Cured'

By IBTimes AU

Lance Dauengaugh, who was tested HIV positive in 1997, has turned to a healthy lifestyle and avoids drinking and smoking and takes his medicine regularly. (Jul 21)


KYLIE MINOGUE: Australian pop star Kylie Minogue, 44, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and went through surgery and chemotherapy. Her 2006 "Showgirl Homecoming Tour" represented her comeback from cancer.
Weightlifter Erika Ropati-Frost's Inspiration Is Her Sick Husband

By IBTimes AU

Erika Ropati-Frost, weightlifter, on July 20, spoke about the battles that her and her husband, Tuvale faced, at Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games. (Jul 21)


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