Cancer is an umbrella term referring to a group of diseases characterized by abnormal cell growth that can invade other parts of the body. It is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and in the United States and nearly four out of every ten men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The most common form of the disease in the United States is breast cancer, followed by lung cancer and prostate cancer. However, there are more than 100 different types of the disease, including colorectal cancer, lymphoma, skin cancer (melanoma), and leukemia.
Symptoms of cancer vary depending on the form of disease but common warning signs include the appearance of a lump, abnormal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, changes to bowel movements, and prolonged coughing.
There are many possible causes of cancer but certain people may be genetically predisposed to developing the condition. Environmental and lifestyle factors may also play a part, for example, exposure to some toxic substances, certain medical conditions, age, poor diet, and smoking.
Depending on the stage of the disease and the type of cancer, there are a range of treatment options for cancer. These include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgical intervention to remove tumors, stem cell transplants, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted drug therapy.