Image Caption : Cell Growth : In adults, cells normally grow and divide slowly and in a controlled way. This ensures that the number of cells in a tissue or system stays about the same. But in cancer, something goes wrong. One cell starts dividing out of control. In most types of cancer, a growing mass of cells called a tumor is formed.
Also called: Carcinoma, Malignancy, Neoplasms, Tumor
Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don't need them, and old cells don't die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren't cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Most treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some may involve hormone therapy, biologic therapy, or stem cell transplantation.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
Cancer cells are cells that grow and divide at an unregulated, quick pace. Although cancer cells can be quite common in a person they are only malignant when the other cells (particularly natural killer cells) fail to recognize and/or destroy them. In the past a common belief was that cancer cells failed to be recognized and destroyed because of a weakness in the immune system. However more recent research has shown that the failure to recognize cancer cells is caused by the lack of particular co-stimulated molecules that aid in the way antigens react with lymphocytes.
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