definition of cancer, Cancer definition


Cancers are a large family of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. They form a subset of neoplasms. A neoplasm or tumor is a group of cells that have undergone unregulated growth and will often form a mass or lump, but may be distributed diffusely.

All tumor cells show the six hallmarks of cancer. These characteristics are required to produce a malignant tumor. They include:

  • Cell growth and division absent the proper signals
  • Continuous growth and division even given contrary signals
  • Avoidance of programmed cell death
  • Limitless number of cell divisions
  • Promoting blood vessel construction
  • Invasion of tissue and formation of metastases
The progression from normal cells to cells that can form a detectable mass to outright cancer involves multiple steps known as malignant progression.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of cancer metastasis depend on the location of the tumor.
When cancer begins, it produces no symptoms. Signs and symptoms appear as the mass grows or ulcerates. The findings that result depend on the cancer's type and location. Few symptoms are specific. Many frequently occur in individuals who have other conditions.
Cancer is a "great imitator". Thus, it is common for people diagnosed with cancer to have been treated for other diseases, which were hypothesized to be causing their symptoms.
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