Cancer

Alternative Names

Carcinoma; Malignant tumor

Definition of Cancer

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cells are the building blocks of living things.

Symptoms

Symptoms of cancer depend on the type and location of the cancer. For example, lung cancer can cause , , or . Colon cancer often causes diarrhea, constipation, and .

Signs and tests

Like symptoms, the signs of cancer vary based on the type and location of the tumor. Common tests include the following:

Treatment

Treatment varies based on the type of cancer and its stage. The stage of a cancer refers to how much it has grown and whether the tumor has spread from its original location.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outlook depends on the type of cancer. Even among people with one type of cancer, the outcome varies depending on the stage of the tumor when they are diagnosed.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/14/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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