What is cancer ?

As Robert A Weinberg * Professor of Biology at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the US wrote in 1996 "how cancer develops is no longer a mystery". He was referring to research that is uncovering the chemistry of cancer cells at the molecular level and the relationship with genetics.

In fact the term cancer refers to more than 100 different types of diseases in which the same basic processes are involved. Carcinomas are by far the most common form of cancer. They originate in the epithelial cells that line the body cavities and form the outer layer of skin.

In the chapter entitled "Cells behaving badly" in her book Your Life in Your Hands, Jane describes how cancer cells are distinguished from normal cells by three particular properties - growing out of control, invading the territory of adjacent cells and tissues and taking off and forming new colonies in the body where the cells continue to behave badly. Let us now find out what has gone wrong to cause our cells to turn into cancer cells and behave in this way.

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