Cancer is the catchall term applied to diseases caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Cancer isn't one disease. It is many different diseases, more than 100 and counting.

Each kind of cancer is usually named for the cell type in which it begins — cancer that starts in a lung is called lung cancer; cancer that starts in pigment cells in the skin, which are known as melanocytes, is called melanoma.

When detected and treated early, cancer can often be stopped. That said, cancer is a leading cause of death and disability around the world.

Cancer Articles

20-second CT scan cuts lung cancer deaths, but is it right for you?

Having a CT scan to detect early stage lung cancer prevents death in current or former smokers at high risk of developing lung cancer. Early testing and treatment includes potential harms as well as benefits. Insurance will probably not pay the cost of the first CT scan to check for signs of cancer. If the scan shows a suspicious feature, repeat tests and procedures may be necessary to diagnose cancer. During the follow-up period, the possibility of having cancer can cause anxiety and fear in some people. CT scans add to your lifetime exposure of radiation and the associated long-term risk of cancer. Talk to your doctor before seeking the test. (Locked) More »

Colorectal cancer genes identified

A huge new study has identified many new genetic changes that appear to be involved in causing colorectal cancer. Each of these newly identified genetic changes is a target for drug therapy. (Locked) More »

Making smart screening decisions: Colon cancer screening

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women. Several tests can find hidden colorectal cancer while it is still small and treatable. These include colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography, fecal occult blood test, and others. Testing should generally start at age 50, but women (and men) with a strong family history of colorectal cancer should talk with their doctors about having their first colonoscopy sooner than that. It's best to have a colonoscopy once every 10 years; a virtual colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or double-contrast barium enema once every five years; or a stool check for blood once a year. (Locked) More »

Surviving cancer-what happens next?

Almost 14 million cancer survivors—more than half of them women—are living in the United States today. Better survival odds make planning for life after cancer almost as important as planning treatment for the disease. Cancer-free does not mean home free—cancer that has been treated can return. But there are many things a cancer survivor can do to reduce the risk that cancer will return. New guidelines from the American Cancer Society offer three key steps: stay at a healthy weight; exercise for at least 150 minutes a week; and eat a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. (Locked) More »

A lifetime in the sun? You can still cut your risk

Have you had a bit too much sun for your own good? Decades of boating, fishing, hiking, golfing, and just plain drowsing on the deck contribute to your lifetime exposure and risk of developing skin cancer. But there are simple steps you can take now to reduce your risk and catch worrisome skin blemishes before they turn into a threat—particularly malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. (Locked) More »

Steve Jobs's cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a dreaded and especially deadly type of cancer. Steve Jobs fared better than many with pancreatic cancer. The charismatic co-founder of Apple died on Oct. 5, 2011, almost exactly eight years after his cancer was discovered incidentally on a CT scan of his kidneys . But some cancer specialists would say Jobs didn't have pancreatic cancer at all — at least not in the way it is usually described. He had a rare form of cancer called a neuroendocrine tumor. They do occur in the pancreas, but two-thirds of neuroendocrine tumors develop elsewhere in the body. Neuroendocrine tumors and the kind of cancer that typically affects the pancreas arise from different types of cells, have different symptoms, and are treated differently. People can lead relatively normal lives for several years with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, even if they've metastasized outside the pancreas. Only several thousand cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, although the number has been increasing. (Locked) More »