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What is Cancer ?
|Cancer is a disease in which cells of an organ or tissue in the body become abnormal, failing to respond to normal control mechanisms, growing and multiplying out of control. Normal cells reproduce themselves throughout the body in an orderly and controlled manner. Normal growth continues throughout life to replace worn out tissue, to heal wounds, and to maintain healthy organs. When cells grow out of control, they usually form a mass, called a tumor. Some tumors grow and enlarge only at the site where they begin and these are referred to as benign tumors. Other tumors not only enlarge locally but also have the potential to invade and destroy the normal tissue around them and to spread to distant parts of the body. Such tumors are called malignant tumors or cancers. Distant spread of a cancer occurs when malignant cells become detached from the original (primary) tumor, get carried to other parts of the body through the blood or lymphatic vessels and establish themselves in the new site as an independent (secondary) cancer. A tumor that has spread in this manner is said to have metastasized and the secondary tumor (or tumors) is called a metastasis (or metastases).|
Common Causes and Risk Factors
Cancer refers to a broad group of diseases in which body cells grow out of control and are or become malignant (harmful).
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States (heart disease is first). Current estimates say that 30 percent of all Americans will develop some kind of cancer in their lifetimes. The most common forms are cancer of the skin, lungs, colon and rectum, breast, prostate, urinary tract, and uterus. Exactly what causes all cancers has not yet been found. Evidence suggests,
however, that cancer could result from complex interactions of
viruses, a person's genetic make-up, their immune status and their exposure
to other risk factors that may promote cancer.
These risk factors for cancer include:
Metastases: How does Cancer Spread?
Cancer tumors are called "malignant" because they have the ability to invade normal tissues (replacing healthy cells with cancer cells) and to metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. Death from cancer often comes not from the primary site (where the cancer first began) but from the metastases or the spread site. For example, a patient with stomach cancer may actually die from liver failure after the cancer has spread to that organ. more on metastases
Lifestyle to prevent cancer:
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Sources: American Institute of Preventive Medicine , BCCA Information Database
Read about Skin Cancer and Colon Cancer here
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