Cancer is a disease in which cells grow uncontrollably and form tumors. The best chance of surviving cancer usually involves finding and treating it early.

The word cancer actually means "crab," like the zodiac sign. Around 400 B.C., Greek physician Hippocrates is said to have named the disease karkinos, which is Greek for "crab," when he noticed that tumors formed a crab-like shape. The word cancer describes not just a disease, but any sort of evilness that can spread. Hatred and bigotry are cancers that can destroy communities.

Definitions of cancer

n any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division; it may spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the blood stream

malignant neoplastic disease
show 37 types...
hide 37 types...
a neoplasm of lymph tissue that is usually malignant; one of the four major types of cancer
any malignant tumor derived from epithelial tissue; one of the four major types of cancer
cancer of the blood, leucaemia, leukaemia, leukemia
malignant neoplasm of blood-forming tissues; characterized by abnormal proliferation of leukocytes; one of the four major types of cancer
a usually malignant tumor arising from connective tissue (bone or muscle etc.); one of the four major types of cancer
cancer of the liver, liver cancer
malignant neoplastic disease of the liver usually occurring as a metastasis from another cancer; symptoms include loss of appetite and weakness and bloating and jaundice and upper abdominal discomfort
a malignant neoplasm of cartilage cells
Ewing's sarcoma, Ewing's tumor, Ewing's tumour, endothelial myeloma
malignant tumor in bone marrow (usually in the pelvis or in long bones)
Kaposi's sarcoma
a sarcoma that starts with purplish spots on the feet and legs and spreads from the skin to lymph nodes and internal organs; a common manifestation of AIDS
sarcoma of smooth muscle; occurs most often digestive tract or uterus or bladder or prostate
sarcoma of fat cells
sarcoma of muscle tissue
malignant neuroma, neurosarcoma
a malignant neoplasm of nerve tissue and fibrous tissue and connective tissue
osteogenic sarcoma, osteosarcoma
malignant bone tumor; most common in children and young adults where it tends to affect the femur
Hodgkin's disease
a malignant disorder in which there is progressive (but painless) enlargement of lymph tissue followed by enlargement of the spleen and liver
acute leukemia
rapidly progressing leukemia
chronic leukemia
slowly progressing leukemia
lymphocytic leukemia
leukemia characterized by enlargement of lymphoid tissues and lymphocytic cells in the circulating blood
histiocytic leukaemia, histiocytic leukemia, monoblastic leukaemia, monoblastic leukemia, monocytic leukaemia, monocytic leukemia
leukemia characterized by the proliferation of monocytes and monoblasts in the blood
myeloblastic leukemia
a malignant neoplasm of blood-forming tissues; characterized by numerous myeloblasts in the blood stream
granulocytic leukemia, myelocytic leukemia
a malignant neoplasm of blood-forming tissues; marked by proliferation of myelocytes and their presence in the blood
rhabdomyosarcoma, rhabdosarcoma
a highly malignant neoplasm derived from striated muscle
Wilms tumour, Wilms' tumor, adenomyosarcoma, embryoma of the kidney, nephroblastoma
malignant renal tumor of young children characterized by hypertension and blood in the urine and the presence of a palpable mass
adenocarcinoma, glandular cancer, glandular carcinoma
malignant tumor originating in glandular epithelium
breast cancer
cancer of the breast; one of the most common malignancies in women in the US
carcinoma in situ, preinvasive cancer
a cluster of malignant cells that has not yet invaded the deeper epithelial tissue or spread to other parts of the body
colon cancer
a malignant tumor of the colon; early symptom is bloody stools
embryonal carcinoma
malignant neoplasm of the testis
endometrial cancer, endometrial carcinoma
cancer of the uterine lining
hepatocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatoma, malignant hepatoma
carcinoma of the liver
lung cancer
carcinoma of the lungs; one of the commonest forms of cancer
a form of carcinoma of the mesothelium lining lungs or abdomen or heart; usually associated with exposure to asbestos dust
oat cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma
highly malignant carcinoma composed of small round or egg-shaped cells with little cytoplasm; lung cancers are frequently oat cell carcinomas
oral cancer
malignant neoplasm of the lips of mouth; most common in men over the age of 60
pancreatic cancer
cancer of the pancreas
seminoma, testicular cancer
malignant tumor of the testis; usually occurring in older men
skin cancer
a malignant neoplasm of the skin
trophoblastic cancer
malignant neoplasm of the uterus derived from the epithelium of the chorion
Type of:
malignant neoplasm, malignant tumor, metastatic tumor
a tumor that is malignant and tends to spread to other parts of the body

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.