Cancer (medical term: malignant neoplasm) is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits).


Invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood).


The three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, and do not invade or metastasize. Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemia, do not.

Study of[]

The branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer is oncology.

Effect of[]

Cancer may affect people at all ages, but the risk for most varieties increases with age. Cancers can affect all animals too.


Nearly all cancers are caused by abnormalities in the genetic material of the transformed cells Template:Fact. These abnormalities may be due to the effects of carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke, radiation, chemicals, or infectious agents.

Other cancer-promoting genetic abnormalities may be randomly acquired through errors in DNA replication, or are inherited, and thus present in all cells from birth. The heritability of cancers are usually affected by complex interactions between carcinogens and the host's genome.

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