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Cancer Cells: Abnormal Cells that Cause Disease

By HERWriter
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Cancer is a disease that results when abnormal cells in the body grow out of control. Normal cells perform a specific function.

Cells that are old or that have been damaged die and are replaced by new, healthy cells. Cancer cells are abnormal cells that are typically caused by genetic mutation.

Cancer cells display three disease-causing characteristics.

Uncontrolled growth - cancer cells reproduce and divide at an abnormal rate

Invasion - cancer cells damage or destroy the surrounding tissue
Metastasis – cancer cells sometimes spread to other parts of the body and create new tumors in other locations.

Some types of cancer cells form clusters known as tumors. These tumors display the disease causing properties of uncontrolled growth, invasion, and metastasis. Cancerous tumors are called malignant tumors because they cause disease and possible death.

Non-cancerous cells can also form into tumors. They are known as benign tumors because they do not display disease-causing characteristics.

Cancer is named based on the function of the abnormal cells or the body part or organ where the cells originated. For example, cancer that begins in the liver is called liver cancer. Cancer that begins in the cells of the lung is called lung cancer.

Cancer cells that metastasize or travel to other parts of the body are still named after the kind of cell that makes up the cancer. For example, prostate cancer that metastasizes to the lung is still called prostate cancer.

Cancer cells are grouped into larger categories including:

Carcinoma – cancer in the skin or the surface of internal organs
Sarcoma – cancer in supportive tissue including bone, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels
Leukemia – cancer in bone marrow and other tissue that produces blood
Lymphoma and myeloma – cancer in the immune system cells
Central nervous system – cancer in the brain and spinal cord

There are more than 100 types of cancer. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about cancer.


About.com: Cancer. Types of Cancer. Lisa Fayed. Web. September 28, 2011.

National Cancer Institute. What is Cancer?. Web. September 28, 2011.

Physorg.com. Cancer. Web. September 28, 2011.

Reviewed September 29, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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EmpowHER Guest

I have breast cancer and am on round 4 of 6 chemo challenges. Just started a blogg. The thing that I missed from most of the information is from a Christian perspective since that is my foundation on which I build on. I am not sure it matters what kind of cancer you have, what kind of breast cancer etc, rather how are we going to continue to Run the Race in the midst of this cancer which is quite an anoyance if you want my opinion. Anyway I am glad to find this site and if I can be of encouragement to you let me know.

Pharmaspider websearch

September 29, 2011 - 10:08am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.