Whether you’re an employer, a coworker or a caretaker, the best thing you can do when someone you know is diagnosed with cancer is educate yourself about the disease. After all, we’ve all heard about cancer, but that doesn’t mean we understand exactly what it is.
What Is Cancer?
The term “cancer” covers a group of more than 100 different diseases. They are grouped together because they all stem from the same cause — when one or more of our basic cells starts dividing and forming new cells at an unstoppable pace.
What Is a Tumor?
Tumors are formed when these extra cells divide and grow at an excessive rate and form a mass of tissue, known as a tumor.
Are Tumors Always Cancerous?
No. Tumors are either benign or malignant. In a benign — or non-cancerous — tumor, the cells contained within haven’t spread outside of the tumor. In most cases, a benign tumor can be removed.
With malignant — or cancerous — tumors, the cells have spread outside the tumor and, depending on the type and severity of the cancer, have begun to affect surrounding organs and/or body tissue. With some cancers, such as leukemia, the cells spread through the blood, posing a threat to everything in their path.
Want to Know More? Know Where to Go.
Today, cancer is far different from a generation ago. It’s no longer the “C” word, talked about only in hushed tones. The more you want to know about it, the better. While there are hundreds of cancer-related support and informational organizations throughout the country, here are some of the top resources we recommend for learning more: