Medical research

How molecular escorts help prevent cancer

The anti-tumor protein p53 can decide on the life or death of a cell: If it detects damage in the cell's genome, the protein pushes the cell to suicide. New research conducted at Technical University of Munich (TUM) shows ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Withering away: How viral infection leads to cachexia

Many patients with chronic illnesses such as AIDS, cancer and autoimmune diseases suffer from an additional disease called cachexia. The complex, still poorly understood syndrome, with uncontrollable weight loss and shrinkage ...

Cancer

Using 3-D to test personalised treatments in five days

Why doesn't the same treatment work in the same way for every patient? How can a drug's performance be optimised without causing side effects due to an excessive dosage? In an attempt to answer these questions, researchers ...

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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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