Cancer

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Cancer /ˈkænsər/  ( listen) (medical term: malignant neoplasm) is a class of diseases in which a group of cell display uncontrolled growth through division beyond normal limits, invasion that intrudes upon and destroys adjacent tissues, and sometimes metastasis, which spreads the cells to other locations in the body via lymph or blood. These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, and do not invade or metastasize.

Cancers are primarily an environmental disease with 90-95% of cases due to lifestyle and environmental factors and 5-10% due to heredity.[1] Common environmental factors leading to cancer death include: tobacco (25-30%), diet and obesity (30-35%), infections (15-20%), radiation, stress, lack of physical activity, and environmental pollutants.[1] These environmental factors cause abnormalities in the genetic material of cells.[2] Genetic abnormalities found in cancer typically affect two general classes of genes oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes.

Definitive diagnosis requires the examination of a biopsy specimen, although the initial indication of malignancy can be symptomatic or radiographic. Most cancers can be treated and this may include chemotherapy and radiotherapy and/or surgery. The prognosis is most influenced by the type of cancer and the extent of disease. While cancer can affect people of all ages the risk typically increasing with age.[3] In 2004 cancer caused about 13% of all human deaths[4] (7.6 million).[5]

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