What is Cancer?
About one in three people will be affected by cancer at some stage in their lives. Cancer is not one disease, but many. As well as having some similar features, each cancer will have a distinctive character,which varies according to its type and location.
The human body is made up of millions of cells, which grow and divide to replace old tissue and maintain the body. Each part of your body is composed of cells, which are shaped and designed for that area. Usually, cells in the body are replaced by identical new ones when they wear out.
When things go wrong, some of the new cells are different. They begin to multiply and form a tumour or lump. This lump could be benign or malignant. Benign tumours are usually harmless and sometimes do not need treatment. Malignant tumours are cancerous.
In some cancers, the abnormal or uncontrolled growth of cells occurs in the bone marrow where blood cells are made. These cancers do not always produce a tumour or lump.
What causes cancer and how quickly the cells grow and spread, is different from person to person.
There are different types of treatment for cancer, depending on the stage and type of cancer you have and your general health. Because advances in cancer care and treatment are being made all the time, what you, your family or friends think now may not be correct or up to date. Check with your doctor or nurse if you are unsure about something you have heard or read about.
There is a future after finding out you have cancer, and every case is different. As time passes, most people find the initial shock and effects of the treatment pass and they can think once again about things other than cancer. Although there is always a chance that cancer will recur, many people become entirely free of the disease. Many more live for years without problems associated with their cancer.
Many people with cancer overcome the disease or live fulfilled lives for many years.