What is Cancer?
All cancers begin with changes in a cell or group of cells. The body is made up of many types of cell, which usually grow and divide in a controlled way to make more cells. These new cells are needed to keep the body healthy.
Not all tumours are cancerous: tumours can be benign or malignant
|Benign tumours aren’t cancerous. They can often be removed and, in most cases, do not come back. Cells in benign tumours do not spread to other parts of the body.|
|Malignant tumours are cancerous. Cells in these tumours can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes cells move away from the original (primary) cancer site and spread to other organs and bones where they can continue to grow and form another (secondary) tumour at a new site.
This process is called metastasis. Secondary cancers keep the name of the original cancer location. For example, pancreatic cancer that has spread to the liver is still called pancreatic cancer.
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Information Product No. PCA0011v1 | Published: 03/10/2019 | Last Updated: 15/10/2019 | Next Review Due: 03/10/2022