Cancer is a disease that causes your body’s cells to grow and divide faster than normal. This can lead to abnormal tissue that forms tumors and causes the symptoms of cancer. There are many types of cancer, and each type has different causes. Some people may be at higher risk of developing cancer than others because of their family history or certain characteristics. Scientists are working hard to find ways to prevent cancer and to treat it early when it is easier to cure.
Cells in your body are constantly growing and dividing to make more cells to replace those that die. Sometimes, these cells go wrong and start to multiply too fast and don’t stop dividing after they should. These abnormal cells can grow out of control and crowd out healthy cells. Some cancers can also spread to other parts of the body through blood or lymph fluid. This is called metastasis. Cancer can cause many different symptoms, depending on where it is and what kind of cancer it is. Some cancers have early warning signs that you should watch for. These signs can help you get an earlier diagnosis and better treatment.
Scientists know that cancer is caused by changes (mutations) in the genes inside your cells. These genes are the instructions that tell your cells how to function, including how to grow and divide. Some of these changes can be inherited from your parents, while others can happen as a result of your environment or activities, such as smoking and sun exposure. Cancer can also develop as a result of errors that occur when your cells are dividing.
The most common way to treat cancer is surgery to remove the tumor or the area where it is located. Sometimes, the surgeon will also use radiation or chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells and prevent them from regrowing.
Sometimes, the tumor can grow so large that it presses against your organs or other tissues and causes other problems. When this happens, the tumor is considered advanced and may be harder to treat.
Another option for treating cancer is targeted therapy. This involves giving drugs or radiation to only the areas where the cancer is found. This can be used along with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation, to give you the best chance of a full recovery.
Some types of cancer can be prevented by protecting your skin from the sun, getting regular screenings for early detection, and following a healthful diet. Talk to your doctor about what steps are right for you. They can also advise you on which cancer screening tests are right for your age and gender. And don’t wait to report any unexplained or persistent health problems to your doctor. The sooner you see your doctor, the better your chances are of finding and treating cancer before it causes serious symptoms.