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.


For more information on the types of cancer, click here to go to OncoLink, the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania's award-winning cancer resource - the oldest, largest, and most trusted source for cancer information on the Internet.

Key Patient Contacts

Louise M. Baca RN MSN - Cancer Center Administrator
856-218-5321

Eric Gonzalez, RN, OCN - 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

Cancer Center Accreditations

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Upcoming Classes

Well-Being Yoga - Afternoon - 04/24/2014
Yoga, which increases flexibility, range of motion and strength, may bring additional benefits both during and after cancer treatments. When tension is released, energy flows more easily in the body, allowing participants to experience a sense of well-being.

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Well-Being Yoga - Evening - 04/24/2014
Yoga, which increases flexibility, range of motion and strength, may bring additional benefits both during and after cancer treatments. When tension is released, energy flows more easily in the body, allowing participants to experience a sense of well-being.

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