noun \ˈkan(t)-sər\

: a serious disease caused by cells that are not normal and that can spread to one or many parts of the body

: something bad or dangerous that causes other bad things to happen

Cancer : the fourth sign of the zodiac that comes between Gemini and Leo and has a crab as its symbol

Full Definition of CANCER

a :  a northern zodiacal constellation between Gemini and Leo
b (1) :  the fourth sign of the zodiac in astrology — see zodiac table
(2) :  one born under the sign of Cancer
[Latin, crab, cancer]
a :  a malignant tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally by invasion and systemically by metastasis
b :  an abnormal bodily state marked by such tumors
:  something evil or malignant that spreads destructively <the cancer of hidden resentment — Irish Digest>
a :  an enlarged tumorlike plant growth (as that of crown gall)
b :  a plant disease marked by such growths
can·cer·ous \ˈkan(t)s-rəs, ˈkan(t)-sə-\ adjective
can·cer·ous·ly adverb

Examples of CANCER

  1. He was diagnosed with cancer.
  2. She learned that she has cancer.
  3. Eating certain foods may help reduce the risk of cancer.
  4. Advanced cancers are more difficult to treat.
  5. I'm a Taurus, but my best friend is a Cancer.

Origin of CANCER

Middle English, from Latin (genitive Cancri), literally, crab; akin to Greek karkinos crab, cancer
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Medicine Terms

analgesia, angina, diabetes, hepatitis, homeopathy, logorrhea, palliate, pandemic

Rhymes with CANCER


noun \ˈkan(t)-sər\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of CANCER

: a malignant tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally by invasion and systemically by metastasis
: an abnormal state marked by a cancer
can·cer·ous \ˈkan(t)s-(ə-)rəs\ adjective


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of a group of more than 100 distinct diseases that are characterized by the uncontrolled multiplication of abnormal cells. Cancerous cells and tissues have abnormal growth rates, shapes, sizes, and functioning. Cancer may progress in stages from a localized tumour (confined to the site of origin) to direct extension (spread into nearby tissue or lymph nodes) and metastasis (spread to more distant sites via the blood or lymphatic system). This malignant growth pattern distinguishes cancerous tumours from benign ones. Cancer is also classified by grade, the extent to which cell characteristics remain specific to their tissue of origin. Both stage and grade affect the chances of survival. Genetic factors and immune status affect susceptibility. Triggers include hormones, viruses, smoking, diet, and radiation. Cancer can begin in almost any tissue, as well as in the blood (see leukemia) and lymph (see lymphoma). When it metastasizes, it remains a cancer of its tissue of origin. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chance of cure. Treatment may include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. See also bladder cancer; breast cancer; carcinogen; colorectal cancer; Kaposi sarcoma; laryngeal cancer; lung cancer; ovarian cancer; pancreatic cancer; prostate cancer; skin cancer; stomach cancer; uterine cancer.


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