Medical research

Studying the function of liver cancer genes in mini-organs

Researchers from the Hubrecht Institute and Radboud University have developed a human model in which they use organoids, or mini organs, to study the function of specific genes that are mutated in liver cancer. Using this ...

Cancer

Startup to commercialize blood test for most major cancers

When testing for such as lung cancer disease, doctors know that tissue biopsies are necessary and potentially life-saving, though the procedures used to gather tissue can lead to dangerous complications, from bleeding to ...

Cancer

Q&A: treating vocal cord cancer

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My brother was diagnosed with stage 0 squamous cell carcinoma in situ in one of his vocal cords. He has been through several endoscopic surgeries, but the carcinoma keeps coming back. His doctors do not ...

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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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