What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease where some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues. Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die and new cells take their place. When cancer develops, however, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths, called tumours. Many cancers form solid tumours, which are masses of tissue. Cancers of the blood, such as leukaemias, generally do not form solid tumours. Cancer can affect men, women and children, young and old, rich and poor. You cannot catch cancer from someone else, nor give it to others. With new methods of treatment eminent, many people recover from cancer.