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Cancer can be inherited from our parents, or it can be caused by random errors that happen when cells divide, or it can be caused by damage to DNA from exposure to certain things in the environment, like tobacco smoke, radiation, various bacteria, viruses, and parasites. There are more than 100 types of cancer.

The body is made up of literally trillions of cells, and cancer can start in just about any of those cells, anywhere in the body. In a healthy body, as cells get old or damaged, they die, and nearby cells grow and divide in order to form cell replacements.

Sometimes, this process breaks down and refuse to die. The cancerous, abnormal cells stay around and get older and less normal, and new cells form even though they are not needed. The body's cells start to divide non-stop and then they spread into the surrounding tissues, forming tumors or other problems. That's cancer.

Malignant tumors spread into other parts of the body, invading tissue as they do. Additionally, some of the cancer cells may break off and move throughout the body, ending up in the lymphatic system or the blood, where they form more tumors. When cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said that it has metastasized, or that it is metastatic cancer.

Metastatic cancer keeps its name even though it may be far away from the original origin. For example, if a man has prostate cancer, and it spreads to his bones, it is still called prostate cancer, not bone cancer.

One difference between normal cells and cancer cells is that cancer cells is their unceasing ability to divide constantly. They are able to ignore the signals which tell the cells to die or to stop dividing. Furthermore, cancer cells are able to influence nearby normal cells to create blood vessels which supply tumors with the nutrients and oxygen which make them thrive and grow.

Cancer types are generally named for the tissues or organs they affect, such as lung cancer, breast cancer, and thyroid cancer. Sometimes, cancers are named after the kind of cell that created the cancer, like squamous cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.

In 2015, there were 359,960 new cases of cancer in the United Kingdom and 163,444 deaths from cancer, and one person in the UK dies from cancer every four minutes.. On the brighter side, 50% of cancer patients in England survive the disease for 10 years or more.

The most common types of cancer in the United Kingdom are lung, bowel, breast, and prostate cancers; combined, they make up a little more than 45% of all cancer deaths in the UK, and lung cancer alone is responsible for 22% of cancer deaths.



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