Cancer is a disease caused by healthy cells turning into abnormal or “cancer” cells.
This process can start anywhere in the body. Cancer is named by what part of the body it affects.
The reason why cancer is so difficult to treat is unlike other diseases: cancer can spread to other parts of the body. The bad cells spread over and over and is not recognized by the immune system.
What is Cancer? How Are Cancers Different?
Cancers are caused by abnormal cell growth. However, the phrase “no two people are alike and no two cancers are alike” is popular among doctors treating cancer patients. Healthy cells can turn into cancer cells slowly or quickly. If the process is quick the cancer may spread more aggressively.
Cancers also differ by the part of the body they appear. There are many different types of cancer. Cancer can appear on any organ: lung, pancreas, kidney, etc. Cancer can also appear on skin, in blood, eye or even brain. Learn more about different types of cancer here.
People with cancer may not even realize they have it until symptoms start showing.
How is a Cancer Cell Different than a Healthy cell?
A “cancer” is a collection of abnormal cells which is harmful to the body. These are the differences between cancer cells and healthy cells:
Here are the key differences between cancer and normal cells:
- Cancer cells resist normal cell death.
- Normal cells replicate within their limited boundary. Cancer cells replicate even outside their boundaries, causing spread.
- Normal cells replicate in a controlled manner (set numbers). Cancer cells replicate uncontrollably.
- Cancer cells are different shapes and sizes than normal cells.
Is Cancer a Disease?
We have published a separate blog post this topic here. The short answer is cancer is a collection of many diseases. Cancer is named by the body part it affects.