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

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

Cancer Center Accreditations

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

Upcoming Classes

Tai Chi - 05/02/2016
Tai Chi is a Chinese slow motion exercise designed to promote good health and longevity by circulating internal energy or 'chi.' Benefits include promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Anyone can do it regardless of age or condition. Great by itself or complements other exercises, lowers blood pressure, improves balance and coordination, slows and improves breathing and builds strength and vitality for cancer patients during and after treatment.

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HOPE - Helping Oncology Patients Exercise - 05/02/2016
Open to adult cancer patients of all ages and fitness levels. Research suggests exercise can help cancer patients reduce pain, nausea, anxiety and fatigue, improve ability to perform daily activities and enhance mood.

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