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How does cancer grow and spread?

Lung cancer cell dividingCancer starts when cells in our body divide out of control. If these cells stayed in one place, then the tumour would usually be relatively easy to treat by surgery. But cancer can grow and spread around the body, making treatment more difficult.

Click the links below to find out more about how cancers grow and spread, and how our researchers are leading pioneering work to tackle this challenge and develop new ways to treat the disease.

  • Getting the wrong message – Cancer cells often over-react to growth signals in the body and divide out of control.
  • Growing a blood supply – For a tumour to grow and spread, it must develop its own blood supply. Scientists call this process angiogenesis.
  • Spreading around the body – Once cancer has started to spread, it is more difficult to treat. This is known as metastasis.

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