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What Is Cancer?

Get the Basics About Cancer
Get the Basics About Cancer

Cancer can be a difficult disease to wrap your head around. That’s because cancer isn’t just one disease. Instead, it’s a collection of related diseases that can start in any part of your body.

In all types of cancer, some of the cells in your body begin to divide without stopping. These cells can destroy healthy tissue or organs even in parts of the body that are far away from the original source of the cancer cells.

Cancer can have many causes

Many factors can affect whether or not you or a loved one may develop cancer. These cancer risk factors include:
  • Age 
  • Family history and genetics  
  • A weakened immune system 
  • Hormones 
  • Cancer-causing substances 
  • Exposure to sunlight, radiation, or tobacco 
  • Exposure to certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites

Coping with your cancer diagnosis

Treating cancer can be a long and difficult process. Getting your family and friends and outside cancer support organizations involved can help make it easier for you.