What is cancer?

Cancer is defined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells within the body. These abnormal cells accumulate to form a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor. Growths can either be benign or malignant:


  • Non-cancerous.
  • Do not spread to other parts of the body.
  • Usually not life-threatening.


  • Cancerous.
  • May destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
  • Can be life-threatening.

There are several different types of cancers. Most cancers are named after the part of the body where the cancer originally developed. Cancers vary in their signs, symptoms, growth rate and their response to treatment.