Cancer

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

Will removing your fallopian tubes reduce your risk of ovarian cancer?

 Image: © magicmine/Getty Images Ovarian cancer is a challenging foe. It's often found at an advanced stage when it's difficult to treat. In recent years, researchers have learned that many cases of ovarian cancer don't even start in the ovaries. "It turns out that ovarian cancer is a bit of a misnomer. We think a portion of ovarian cancers actually arise from cells in the fallopian tubes," says Shelley Tworoger, adjunct associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and associate center director of population science at the Moffitt Cancer Center. (Locked) More »

A new approach to cancer diagnosis

Tissue biopsies are the standard test for identifying cancer, but another approach, called a liquid biopsy, may provide a diagnosis when a traditional biopsy doesn’t. It uses a person’s blood to detect cancer and can help determine the right therapy. More »

A more precise approach to fighting cancer

Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that takes into account a person’s genes, environment, and lifestyle, and eliminates the one-size-fits-all approach to health care. Right now the greatest focus is on cancer. Doctors rely on genetic tests, family history, lifestyle habits, and environmental factors to determine if someone is more likely to get certain forms of cancer. Doctors then can use genetic testing to identify mutations in a tumor in order to match it with the best drug treatment. (Locked) More »

When you look for cancer, you might find heart disease

Screening tests for lung and breast cancer—chest computed tomography (CT) scans and mammograms—may offer clues about a person’s risk of heart disease. Chest CT scans, which are also done to detect blood clots in the lungs and for other lung diseases, can show calcium deposits in the heart’s arteries. Mammograms can show calcium in the breast arteries, which is closely linked to calcium in the coronary arteries. Calcium accumulates in artery walls, along with fat, cholesterol, and other substances to form plaque. Plaque narrows and hardens arteries, eventually leading to blockages that can trigger heart attacks. (Locked) More »