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

Acupuncture treatment Cures Cancer
Former 'Home And Away' Star Tessa James Battling Cancer

By IBTimes AU

Tessa James was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma for which she will be undergoing chemotherapy. (10:02 am)


Increase In Hepatitis Death Rate Forces Authorities To Act Quickly

By IBTimes AU

Hepatitis Australia has requested the government to act quickly to prevent the spread of new infections of hepatitis B and C (Sep 19)


Dr. Zane Cohen gives an update on the medical condition of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at Mount Sinai Hospital
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Diagnosed With Rare Cancer, Asks Residents To Vote for Brother Doug

By IBTimes AU

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer asked residents to elect his brother Doug as the next mayor. (Sep 19)

Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts during a break in the last set of the semi-final match against Marin Cilic of Croatia at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 6, 2014
Roger Federer, Samuel L Jackson Celebrity Charity Fundraiser For The ATP World Tour Finals 2014

By IBTimes AU

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 arena announced an impressive launch event worthy of the sport's unofficial 'fifth Grand Slam' moment. (Sep 19)


Pedestrians Walk Across The Street Near Times Square In New York
Fat Shaming Causes Weight Gain

By IBTimes AU

Lewd remarks and nasty comments about one's weight does not motivate fat people to lose weight but rather provokes weight gain. (Sep 18)


Handout Transmission Electron Micrograph Shows Particles of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronavirus
Healthy Humans are Home to Several Bacteria, Including Strains of Herpes Viruses

By IBTimes AU

The study was aimed at categorizing the body's bacterial eco systems. (Sep 18)


Singers Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 2014 CMT Music Awards in Nashville
Family of Little Girl With Cancer Lauds Miranda Lambert For Her Big Heart On Touching Concert Gesture

By IBTimes AU

The video of Miranda Lambert's touching concert gesture for a kid battling cancer already went viral; family of the kid equally was touched and happy. (Sep 18)


A Volunteer Displays Jars of Dried Cannabis Buds at the La Brea Collective Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Los Angeles
Medical Marijuana Legalisation in Australia Gains Support of PM Tony Abbott

By IBTimes AU

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has no objection to the legalisation of medical cannabis. (Sep 18)


Dr. Zane Cohen gives an update on the medical condition of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at Mount Sinai Hospital
Controversial Canada Politician Rob Ford Diagnosed with Cancer

By IBTimes AU

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. (Sep 18)

The Apple logo Is Pictured Inside The Newly Opened Omotesando Apple Store
Apple Inc's HealthKit Trial Sheds Light On Its Working

By IBTimes AU

Two trials of the HealthKit are going to go underway by Stanford University Hospital and Duke University. (Sep 16)


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.