What is Cancer?

What is Cancer?

Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells all through our lifetime which grow and divide naturally as needed. When the cells grow and multiply themselves uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body, they may mutate into tumor cells. This is how cancer appears.

Cancer is when abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way and multiply themselves over and over.

Types of Cancer

There are two main categories of cancer:

Hematologic cancers

Hematologic (blood) cancers are cancers of the blood cells, including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

Solid tumors

Solid tumors are cancers of any of the other body organs or tissues. The most common solid tumors are breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers.

Causes of cancer

Cancer is caused by some certain changes to genes. These changes may be resulted from many possible factors, such as lifestyle habits, genes we inhabit from our parents or being exposed to the unhealthy environment, or even sometimes there is no obvious cause.

How does cancer spread?

Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body and organs with its metastatic and invasive abilities. Therefore they can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system where they can start to grow into new tumors.

Cancer is more than just one disease due to its metastatic ability.

Stages of Cancer

The Stages of Cancer are usually numbered from 1 to 4, it is commonly used by doctors to diagnose and describe the size and spread of cancers.

  • Stage 1 usually means that a cancer is small and contained within the organ it started in;
  • Stage 2 usually means that the tumor is larger than in stage 1 but the cancer hasn’t started to spread into the surrounding tissues. Sometimes stage 2 means that cancer cells have spread into lymph nodes close to the tumor. This depends on the particular type of cancer;
  • Stage 3 usually means the cancer is larger. It may have started to spread into surrounding tissues and there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes nearby;
  • Stage 4 means the cancer has spread from where it started to another body organ. For example to the liver or lung. This is also called secondary or metastatic cancer.

In each stage, doctors use A, B or C to further describe the levels of cancers.

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