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.
Cancer cells are dangerous because they will continue to grow and divide, even if they cause damage to the tissues around them.
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Information Product No. PCA0011v2 | Published: 03/01/2014 | Last Updated: 29/05/2018 | Next Review Due: 03/01/2017