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What Do You Want to Know About Cancer? Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Medically Reviewed by Andrea Baird, MDPublished on 09 August 2012 Cancel

AAA Cancer is an umbrella term for a large group of diseases caused when abnormal cells divide and invade other tissue and organs. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., and more than 1.5 million

Americans are diagnosed with some form of it every year. According to the American Cancer Society, half of all men and a third of all women in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Cancer Growth and Metastasis Healthy cells have a specific life cycle, reproducing and dying off in a way that is determined by the type of cell. But sometimes, because of abnormalities, the cells multiply out of control and also do not die off when they should. This process may result in growths called tumors, which in turn can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on where they grow. However, not all tumors are cancerous. Benign tumors are noncancerous and do not spread to nearby tissues, though they can sometimes grow large and cause problems when they press against neighboring organs and tissue. Malignant tumors are cancerous, and they have the ability to invade other parts of the body. Cancer cells can also migrate through the bloodstream or lymphatic system from the place they originally grew to distant areas of the body. This process is called metastasis. Cancers that have metastasized are considered more advanced than those that have not, and metastatic cancers tend to be harder to treat and more fatal. Types of Cancer Cancers are named for the area in which they begin, even if they spread to other parts of the body. For example, a cancer that begins in the lungs and spreads to the liver is still called lung cancer. There are also several clinical terms used for certain cancers: Carcinoma is a cancer that starts in the skin or the tissues that line other organs. Sarcoma is a cancer of connective tissues such as bones, muscles, cartilage, and blood vessels. Leukemia is a cancer of bone marrow, which creates blood cells. Lymphoma and myeloma are cancers of the immune system. Risk Factors & Treatment Not all of the causes of cancer are known, but many things have been found to affect a person\'s risk for developing certain kinds of cancer. Diet Exposure to chemicals Unprotected exposure to the sun Genetics Certain viruses, such as HPV Smoking Visit the Cancer Prevention section for more information. Treatment depends on the type of cancer and how advanced it is, but the most common types are: Surgery to remove tumors Chemotherapy (the use of toxic medications to kill cancer cells) Radiation therapy (the use of focused beams of radiation to kill cancer cells)




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