Immunology

Energizing the immune system to eat cancer

Immune cells called macrophages are supposed to serve and protect, but cancer has found ways to put them to sleep. Now researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania say they've identified how ...

Medical research

Researchers zero in on type of cancer that killed John McCain

Hope for treating the kind of brain cancer that took the life of U.S. Sen. John McCain lies with a compound, identified by researchers at UWM and the Medical College of Wisconsin, that slows the growth of this aggressive ...

Health

'Safe' herbicide in Australian water affects male fertility

The last 50 years has seen a rapid decline in male reproductive health. Decreased sperm counts, increased rates of testicular cancer and a range of malformations in male genitalia have been reported in industrialised countries ...

Neuroscience

Unexpected link found between feeding and memory brain areas

The search for a mechanism that could explain how the protein complex NCOR1/2 regulates memory has revealed an unexpected connection between the lateral hypothalamus and the hippocampus, the feeding and the memory centers ...

Genetics

Scientists find genes with large effects on head and brain size

Children's heads expand steadily to accommodate their growing brains, and doctors routinely measure head circumference during the first years of life to assess healthy brain development. Children from around the world follow ...

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Cancer /ˈkænsər/ ( listen), known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a broad group of various diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the body through the lymphatic system or bloodstream. Not all tumors are cancerous. Benign tumors do not grow uncontrollably, do not invade neighboring tissues, and do not spread throughout the body.

Determining what causes cancer is complex. Many things are known to increase the risk of cancer, including tobacco use, certain infections, radiation, lack of physical activity, poor diet and obesity, and environmental pollutants. These can directly damage genes or combine with existing genetic faults within cells to cause the disease. Approximately five to ten percent of cancers are entirely hereditary.

Cancer can be detected in a number of ways, including the presence of certain signs and symptoms, screening tests, or medical imaging. Once a possible cancer is detected it is diagnosed by microscopic examination of a tissue sample. Cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. The chances of surviving the disease vary greatly by the type and location of the cancer and the extent of disease at the start of treatment. While cancer can affect people of all ages, and a few types of cancer are more common in children, the risk of developing cancer generally increases with age. In 2007, cancer caused about 13% of all human deaths worldwide (7.9 million). Rates are rising as more people live to an old age and as mass lifestyle changes occur in the developing world.

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