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Cancer occurs when normal cells undergo a transformation, grow and multiply without normal controls. As the cells multiply, they form a mass called a tumor.
Tumors are cancerous only if they are malignant. This means that they encroach on and invade neighbouring tissues (especially lymph nodes) because of their uncontrolled growth. Tumors may also travel to remote organs via the bloodstream. This process of invading and spreading to other organs is called metastasis. Tumors overwhelm surrounding tissues by invading their space and taking the oxygen and nutrients they need to survive and function.
Signs and symptoms are both signals of injury, illness, disease – signals that something is not right in the body. A sign is a signal that can be seen by someone else – maybe a loved one, or a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional. For example, fever, fast breathing, and abnormal lung sounds heard through a stethoscope may be signs of pneumonia.
A symptom is a signal that’s felt or noticed by the person who has it, but may not be easily seen by anyone else. For example, weakness, aching, and feeling short of breath may be symptoms of pneumonia. Having one sign or symptom may not be enough to figure out what’s causing it. For example, a rash in a child could be a sign of a number of things, such as poison ivy, measles, a skin infection, or a food allergy. But if the child has the rash along with other signs and symptoms like a high fever, chills, achiness, and a sore throat, then a doctor can get a better picture of the illness. Sometimes, a patient’s signs and symptoms still don’t give the doctor enough clues to be sure what’s causing the illness. Then medical tests such as x-rays, blood tests, or a biopsy may be needed.
UniMedia Pro PR and Communications intern