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A member asked:

what is cancer?

23 doctor answers49 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pallav Mehta
Internal Medicine 20 years experience
Cell Immortality: Every organ in the body is made up of microscopic cells, which normally divide by a process called mitosis. Trillions of bits of genetic material (dna, which makes up genes) get replicated each time this happens. Errors happen, but they're either fixed, or are just no big deal. Every once in a while, though, the error happens in an important gene that leads to unchecked cell division and cancer.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Unstable genes: Cancer is the price that we pay for being multicellular organisms produced in the setting of natural selection. Genes mutate in our bodies, and sometimes enough mutations accumulate in a line of cells to cause the genome itself to become destabilized -- this is cancer. Thankfully, there are things you can do to avoid some of the common cancers or find them early for removal.
Dr. Joseph Woods
Pathology 28 years experience
You can avoid a great deal of the myriad of cancers simply by not smoking and not drinking.
Aug 29, 2012
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
Uncontrolled growth: Cancer or malignancy, refers to uncontrolled growth of cells, invasion and destruction of normal tissues by these cells and spread to distant organs with damage to those organs.
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
Provided original answer
Your follow-up question is more complicated than can be addressed in this forum. Treatments of cancer include chemotherapy with drug, radiation and surgery. Treatment of epilepsy depends on the type of epilepsy and in part by trial and error with different drugs. Please see a neurologist for care.
Mar 30, 2013
Dr. Peter Sadow
Pathology 17 years experience
Good question: Cancer is a term used to describe a whole range of diseases in which one of your body's cells, or group of cells, undergo a change in genetic background that allows the cell(s) to live and divide regardless of the normal cues that would tell them to stop. This proliferation of careless cells hurts the local environment or that which it spreads to.
Dr. Thomas Heston
Family Medicine 29 years experience
Uncontrolled Growth: Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. See: http://sgoti.Ws/q6f48q.
Dr. Thomas Heston
Family Medicine 29 years experience
Uncontrolled Growth: Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. See: http://sgoti.Ws/q6f48q.
Dr. Mark Epstein
Emergency Medicine 29 years experience
Bad cell growth: Our bodies' cells, that make up our organs and blood and so on, normally have a very tightly regulated growth and life cycles. When these processes go awry, there can be cell growth that gets out of hand, causing harmful effects like disruption of normal functions or structures, production or overproduction of certain body chemicals, or simply using too much energy.
Dr. Chad Levitt
Radiation Oncology 22 years experience
Unregulated growth: Cancer by definition is the growth in size and number in an unregulated manner of a cell line that has developed a mutation. The mutation is passed through the offspring which accumulate more and more mutations. The defining factor is that the cells act immortal as compared to normal cells that have a programmed lifespan. They also do not respect normal anatomic boundaries and tend to metastasize.
Dr. Devon Webster
Medical Oncology 22 years experience
Forever growing cell: Cancer starts when normal cells get damaged and keep growing, forming a lump and sometimes moving to other parts of the body. Normal cells grow and divide at different times in life, but then stop. Cancer cells never stop. They don't have an "off"switch. So they make more cells that also keep growing. Treatment removes the cells (surgery) and kills growing cells (chemo).
Dr. Matthew Fero
Medical Oncology 31 years experience
Malignant neoplasm: A neoplasm is an abnormal growth of cells, that results from a combination of gene mutations during your lifetime. These mutations cause unregulated cell proliferation and a decrease in cell death. A neoplasm transforms from a benign tumor to a malignancy (cancer) when additional genetic changes cause invasion of the cells through normal anatomical barriers, or metastasis to distant sites.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Damaged genes: Cancer develops as clones of cells with damages genes conferring growth advantage accumulate new mutations. Eventually the genome is destabilized and the cells recall the old programs by which they can invade and spread. Most cancers are curable if caught early. Good luck.
Dr. Mark Kuhnke
General Surgery 40 years experience
Cells gone wild: In its' simplest form, a cancer is a line of cells that grow out of the normal control system of the human body. Cells develop and die on a regular basis daily within the human body. If a cell mutates, it usually dies, sort of a "poison pill" to keep cells within the normal cycle of the human body. Once a cell line becomes malignant, it grows unfettered by the normal system. I hope this helps.
Dr. Chad Levitt
Radiation Oncology 22 years experience
Unregulated growth: Cancer by definition is the growth in size and number in an unregulated manner of a cell line that has developed a mutation. The mutation is passed through the offspring which accumulate more and more mutations. The defining factor is that the cells act immortal as compared to normal cells that have a programmed lifespan. They also do not respect normal anatomic boundaries and tend to metastasize.
Dr. Sewa Legha
Medical Oncology 50 years experience
It is a Disease of C: Cancer arises from our body cells when they grow out of control. it is caused be gene abnormalities and manifests as an abnormal lump/Growth in some or any part of your body. If it is not removed, it spreads in the body and can be fatal if not treated promptly. Early diagnosis make a big diffence in outcome
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
A mutation that grew: A cancer is a mutation that grows fast enough in one's lifetime to cause disease. To reduce the risk of cancer, maintain a healthy weight and exercise. Eat lots of vegetables, some fruits, and limit intake of red meat or burned or charbroiled meat. Avoid smoking, because it increases lung, oral, and throat cancers; plus cervical cancers in women. Wear sunscreen outside to prevent skin cancer.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
A mutation that grew: A cancer is a mutation that grows fast enough in one's lifetime to cause disease. To reduce the risk of cancer, maintain a healthy weight and exercise. Eat lots of vegetables, some fruits, and limit intake of red meat or burned/charbroiled meat. Avoid smoking, because it increases lung, oral, and throat cancers; plus cervical cancers in women. Wear sunscreen outside to prevent skin cancer.
Dr. Andrea Brand
Specializes in Family Medicine
Cancer: Cancer refers to a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, leading to damage of normal tissues. For information, see the website of the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org
Dr. Bernard Seif
Clinical Psychology 40 years experience
Cancer is the: proliferation of cells that are supposed to run a normal course of life and die off. This may express itself in the form of a tumor but by the time the tumor is detectable cancer has been present for a number of years. Conventional treatment includes chemo, radiation, and surgery. See "The Truth About Cancer" documentary by Ty Bollinger for alternative and complimentary approaches. Peace.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Malignant neoplasm: Every cancer -- and there are thousands of subtypes -- is a clone of cells that has taken several genetic mutations, each causing the affected cells to overgrow. At least one mutation has destabilized the genome, and the cells acquire the ability to be locally destructive and usually to spread to other parts of the body. This is the truth; if you're given some other explanation, it's not true.
Dr. Jessica Allan
Internal Medicine 23 years experience
Abnormal cells: quoted from Medicine Net. com:. "Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and in some places metastasize (spread). Cancer is not one disease. It is a group of more than 100 different distinctive diseases." You can go online and research more about the different types.
Dr. Myron Arlen
Surgical Oncology 64 years experience
Transformed cell: Cancer represents mutated cells that arises through transformation of normal tissue It attains immortality thru overexpression of telomerase and invasive capabilities thru MMP which then breaks down e-cadherin to small e-cadherin. This allows further invasion of surrounding structures. Low levels of tumor antigen result in failure to be recognized by the hosts immune system.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Mutated cells: A tumor is a clone of cells bearing genetic mutations that cause inappropriate growth, and that has acquired the ability to induce its own new blood vessels as a new organ would. A cancer is a tumor in which the genome has become destabilized, so it acquires new mutations and eventually gains the ability to invade locally and usually to spread. All cancers will kill if not treated properly.
Dr. Carlos Encarnacion
Medical Oncology 35 years experience
In 400 characters!: It is a group of diseases caused by multiple possible factors that lead to abnormal cell behavior. Cancer cells: grow too much, grow faster than normal, do not die when they are supposed to, do not obey the usual restraints that normal cells have, and (this defines cancer) have the ability to spread to other places (metastasis). Prognosis and treatment vary a lot, depends on the kind of cancer.
Dr. Shaym Puppala
Internal Medicine 25 years experience
Well done, and with 3 characters to spare, by my count!
Oct 27, 2014

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One Day At A Time: I don't think there is any more devastating news than hearing the word cancer. A few generalizations: 1-throw away any preconceived notions--everyone's cancer is different 2-knowledge is power: the more (accurate)info you get, the better. Good websites include the american cancer society and the national cancer inst. 3-choose a dr. Who you can communicate with 4-take it 1 day at a time. Good luck.
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Is lupus cancer?

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Dr. Luis Villaplana
Internal Medicine 35 years experience
NO: Lupus is not cancer, it is a chronic rheumatological condition.
Dr. Alfred Kim
Dr. Alfred Kim commented
Rheumatology 16 years experience
Lupus is definitely not cancer, but interestingly, we use terms such as induction therapy (medicines used to reduce lupus flares) and maintenance therapy (medicines used to prevent flares) that are also used in cancer. BUT LUPUS IS NOT CANCER.
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A 31-year-old member asked:

Most deadly cancer?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Any of several: There are maybe 5000 known cancer types. All will inevitably kill if untreated. Of those that can be treated but not cured, glioblastoma of the brain is especially cruel and kills fast; small cell undifferentiated carcinoma kills about 30, 000 americans a year (basically all smokers) but chemotherapy can hold off the inevitable for a few months. Cures of common pancreatic cancer are rare.
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Is hypoechoic cancer?

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Dr. Sameer Gupta
Medical Oncology 18 years experience
Ultrasound finding: A lesion on ultrasound can appear to have less reflection of sound waves- only biopsy can prove/ disprove cancer.

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