Facts, Causes, Symptoms and Research
Cancer is a class of diseases characterised by out-of-control cell growth.
There are over 100 different types of cancer and each is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected. Cancer harms the body when altered cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumours (except in the case of leukaemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream). Tumours can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous and circulatory systems and they can release hormones that alter body function. Tumours that stay in one spot and demonstrate limited growth are generally considered to be benign.
More dangerous or malignant tumours form when two things occur:
- a cancerous cell manages to move throughout the body using the blood or lymphatic systems, destroying healthy tissue in a process, called invasion
- that cell manages to divide and grow, making new blood vessels to feed itself in a process called angiogenesis.
When a tumour successfully spreads to other parts of the body and grows, invading and destroying other healthy tissues, it is said to have metastasised. This process itself is called metastasis and the result is a serious condition that is very difficult to treat.
According to the American Cancer Society, Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US and accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. The World Health Organisation estimates that, worldwide, there were 14 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012 (their most recent data).
These are the most common cancers:
We thought you might like to know these facts about Cancer so we added this page for reference purposes :-)
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