What is cancer?

Cancer starts when cells change abnormally

Cancer is when abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way. Some cancers may eventually spread into other tissues.

There are more than 200 different types of cancer.

1 in 2 people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime.

Thanks to research many people are cured.

Cancer grows as cells multiply over and over

cancer cells growing through normal tissue diagram

Cancer starts when gene changes make one cell or a few cells begin to grow and multiply too much. This may cause a growth called a tumour.

Some cancers can spread to other parts of the body

Where cancer can spread diagram

A primary tumour is the name for where a cancer starts.

Cancer can sometimes spread to other parts of the body – this is called a secondary tumour or a metastasis.

Cancer and its treatments can affect body systems, such as the blood circulation, lymphatic and immune systems, and the hormone system.

Is cancer genetic?

Genes and cancer
Most cancers start due to gene changes that happen over a person’s lifetime. 

Sometimes cancers start due to inherited faulty genes passed down in families but this is rare.

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