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  • Writer's pictureThe Oncologist

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a general term that describes a large group of related diseases that can grow almost anywhere in the body. The disease starts in the cells. These cells are tiny building blocks that make up the organs and tissues of our body. Usually, these cells divide to make new cells in a controlled way. This is how our bodies grow, heal and repair.

However, this process can sometimes go wrong and the cell becomes abnormal. The abnormal cell keeps dividing and making more and more abnormal cells. These cells eventually form a lump, which becomes known as a tumour. Cancer cells sometimes break away from the primary cancer and travel through the blood or lymphatic system to other parts of the body. Cancer cells that spread and develop into a tumour(s) somewhere else in the body are called a secondary cancer.

Every case of cancer is unique, with its own set of genetic changes and growth properties. Some cancers grow quickly while others can take years to become dangerous to the patient. It is important to also know that not all lumps are cancerous. A lump that is not cancerous cannot spread to anywhere else in the body.A lump that is cancer (malignant) can grow into surrounding tissue.

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