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University of Colorado Cancer Center

University of Colorado Cancer Center, A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
 

What is Cancer?


Cancer is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Although there are more than 100 kinds of cancer, they all start because abnormal cells grow out of control.

Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth because cancer cells continue to multiply without any limit, whereas normal cells die and new cells grow in their place.

No matter where a cancer may spread, it is always named for the place where it started. Likewise, even though a breast cancer has spread to the liver, it would still be called breast cancer if that was the place it originated.

Types of Cancers:

  • Carcinomas - the most common types of cancers. They arise from the cells that cover external and internal body surfaces. Lung, breast and colon are the most frequent cancers of this type in the U.S.
  • Sarcomas -  are cancers arising from cells found in the supporting tissues of the body such as bone, cartilage, fat, connective tissue and muscle.
  • Lymphomas - are cancers that arise in the lymph nodes and tissues of the body's immune system.
  • Leukemias - are cancers of the immature blood cells that grow in the bone marrow and tend to accumulate in large numbers in the bloodstream. 

Learn more about cancer through these trusted resources: