What Is Cancer

What is Cancer



cancer cells and antibodiesCancer is a group of over 100 diseases that begin in cells, the body's basic unit of life. Normally, cells grow and divide to produce more cells only when the body needs them. However, sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. The genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. When this happens, cells do not die when they should and new cells form when the body does not need them. The extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumor. Tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (not cancerous).

The cells in malignant tumors can invade and damage nearby tissue and organs. Cancer cells can also break away from a malignant tumor and travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to form new tumors in other parts of the body.

 

Tumors Can Be Benign or Malignant

  • Benign tumors aren't cancerous. They can often be removed, and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.
  • Malignant tumors are cancerous. Cells in these tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis.

 

Some Cancers Do Not Form Tumors

Cancer types can be grouped into broader categories. The main categories of cancer include:

  • Leukemia - cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.
  • Lymphoma and myeloma - cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.

Key Patient Contacts

Oncology Nurse Navigator
Appointment scheduling and treatment navigation.
856-218-5324

Abigale Hassel, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C - Social Worker
Patient support and information.
856-218-5322

Susan Saporito, RN, BSN, OCN 
Nurse navigator. 
856-218-5354

Want More Information?

Use this form to contact a Member of our Cancer Care Team.  Please complete all fields in this form.
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Cancer Center Accreditations

Commission on Cancer, ACR, NAPBC, Screening Center of Excellence

Upcoming Classes

Hope and Healing Stitchers - Knitting and Crocheting Club - 07/29/2016
Join fellow community knitters and/or crocheters on an ongoing basis. Share and learn new skills, while working on community projects that will benefit Kennedy Cancer Center patients and their families. Please bring your own supplies and materials.

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Chair Yoga - 07/29/2016
Chair Yoga is ideal for the person who finds it difficult to participate in traditional yoga class due to physical limitations or joint issues. All poses are performed seated or standing, using a chair as support.

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