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What is cancer?

Cancer is the growth and spread of abnormal cells. Normal cells grow, divide, and die in an orderly fashion. During growth and development, they divide more rapidly, but in adults they divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells and to repair injuries. Cancer cells, however, do not behave like normal cells. They continue to grow and divide, forming masses of abnormal cells, called tumors. These masses can compress normal cells and interfere with their ability to function.

Not all tumors are cancerous, but if they do become cancerous, or malignant, cells can break off and travel through the bloodstream or the lymph system to other areas of the body. This is called metastasis, and once this happens, cancer is no longer curable. Cancer is named after the part of the body where it began.

 

Cancer is a disease where damaged cells in the body start dividing out of control, making more and more damaged cells. These damaged cells come together to form a lump called a tumor.

Tumors can be benign or malignant. Cells in a benign tumor keep to themselves and don’t bother the other cells around them. Malignant tumors are cancer and cause trouble to cells around them. They can also spread to other parts of the body, causing trouble there too. Cancer can happen in different parts of the body. It can occur in organs like the kidney or brain. It can also occur in the blood cells in the bone marrow.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.