Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth. The uncontrolled growth is aggressive and can invade surrounding tissues, and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood).
These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, do not invade or metastasize. Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemias, do not. The branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer is oncology.
Cancer may affect people at all ages, even fetuses, but the risk for most varieties increases with age. Cancer causes about 13% of all deaths. According to the American Cancer Society, 7.6 million people died from cancer in the world during 2007. Cancers can affect all animals.
Cancer is usually caused my abnormalities in the body's genetic material, with the risk increased when exposed to carcinogens, such as chemicals or radiation.
A cancer diagnosis is usually made using a biopsy and histological study (taking a piece of the tissue and examining the cells) and the stages (how far progressed) are identified using the biopsy results and radiographical studies of the tumors and surrounding tissues. It is usually treated with a mixture of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Notable Cancer PatientsEdit
- Harold O'Malley - Stage II metastatic esophageal cancer
- Izzie Stevens - Stage IV metastatic melanoma with metastasises to the liver, brain and skin
- Camille Travis - Ovarian Cancer
- Finn Dandridge's mother
- Elizabeth Fallon - Pancreatic Cancer
- Sheldon Wallace - Prostate Cancer
- Nicole Herman - Brain cancer