Cancer is the general term for over 100 diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. Normal cells follow a path of growth, division and death, but cancer cells continue to divide unrestricted. Uncontrolled cell growth leads to a mass or growth of tissue that is called a tumor (except in blood cancers where normal blood function is interrupted by abnormal cell division in the blood stream).
Cancer types are distinguished by the parts of the body in which they begin. Different types of cancer behave differently, so cancer that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body) is still named for its place of origin. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the liver, it is called metastatic breast cancer rather than liver cancer.
Cancer is treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, biologic therapies, hormone therapies or transplant options (such as bone marrow transplants.) A team of specialists including medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists and others will work together to determine what combination of treatments will be best for each patient.