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Home >About Cancer > What is Cancer?

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Cancer is not a single disease. It is a group of diseases, all of which display the common feature of cells showing uncontrolled growth. Cancer may affect people at all ages, children and adults but the risk increases with age. The branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer is Oncology.

 

The cells of all animal bodies follow a predictable pattern, where old cells become defunct, and eventually die, with new cells taking their place.

 

The essential difference is the time it takes for cells to wear out and die, and this varies between cell types. Almost every cell dies and is replaced, except certain specialized cells like brain cells. When this process goes out of the normal synchrony, cells multiply out of control with a resultant malignant process. The end result is a mass of cells, called a tumor.

 

Benign and Malignant Tumors

Benign Tumors

Some tumors are 'benign' or non-cancerous. Benign tumors do not spread, or metastasize to other parts of the body. They do not invade or destroy adjacent cells or tissues, nor migrate to other locations via lymph or blood.

 

Malignant Tumors

Malignant tumors damage adjacent tissues and invade other tissues and organs. When malignant cells break away from the primary tumor and settle into another part of the body, like the liver, lungs, bones, or the brain, the resulting new tumor site is called either a metastasis or a secondary tumor. ;

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