Health conditions


Cancer is a disease of the body’s cells. The body is constantly making new cells to replace worn-out ones, to grow, or to heal itself after an injury.

Normally cells grow and reproduce themselves in an orderly way. Occasionally, however, some cells reproduce themselves in an uncontrolled way and these abnormal cells may grow into a lump that is called a tumour. Tumours can be benign (not a cancer) or malignant (a cancer). Benign tumours do not spread to other parts of the body. A malignant tumour is made up of cancer cells. These cells can spread beyond the area where the cancer first developed.

If not treated the cancer cells may invade and destroy surrounding tissues.

Sometimes cells break away from the original (primary) cancer and are carried to other parts of the body. When these cancer cells reach a different part of the body they may continue to grow and form another cancer at that site. This is called a secondary cancer or metastasis.

It is important to understand that cancer is not a single disease with a single type of treatment.

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with their own name and treatment.

A-Z of Health conditions