Oncology & Cancer

Overstuffed cancer cells may have an Achilles' heel

In a study using yeast cells and data from cancer cell lines, Johns Hopkins University scientists report they have found a potential weak spot among cancer cells that have extra sets of chromosomes, the structures that carry ...

Medical research

Targeting old bottleneck reveals new anticancer drug strategy

The enzyme ribonucleotide reductase is a bottleneck for cancer cell growth. Scientists at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have identified a way of targeting ribonucleotide reductase that may avoid the toxicity ...

Medical research

Encephalitis identified as rare toxicity of immunotherapy treatment

After a cancer patient receiving an immunotherapy developed encephalitis and died 18 months into treatment, researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) investigated why the complication occurred, performing a molecular ...

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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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