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Cancer 101 - What Is Cancer?

Benign vs. Malignant

Not all tumors are cancerous; tumors can be benign or malignant.

Benign tumors are not cancer.

They can often be removed and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.

Most important, benign tumors are rarely a threat to life. One exception involves benign brain tumors that present unique complications depending on their exact location in the brain.

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Malignant tumors are cancer.

Cells in malignant tumors are abnormal and divide without control or order. Cancer cells invade and destroy the tissue around them. Cancer cells can also break away from a malignant tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system.

Being diagnosed with cancer can be frightening. But understanding what's going on inside your body can help you feel more in control of your disease.




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