Cancer/Oncology

Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Cancer, also called malignancy, is an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer, including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Symptoms vary depending on the type. Cancer treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery.

How long does it take for cancer to spread?
With most breast cancers, each division takes one to two months, so by the time you can feel a cancerous lump, the cancer has been in your body for two to five years.

How do you know if cancer has spread?
Some common signs of metastatic cancer include:

  • Pain and fractures, when cancer has spread to the bone.
  • Headache, seizures, or dizziness, when cancer has spread to the brain.
  • Shortness of breath, when cancer has spread to the lung.
  • Jaundice or swelling in the belly, when cancer has spread to the liver.


Does ovarian cancer spread quickly?
Evidence now suggests that even early-stage ovarian cancer can produce symptoms. Ovarian cancer grows quickly and can progress from early to advanced stages within a year

How long can you live with colon cancer untreated?
For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of colon or rectal cancer is 80%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 80% as likely as people who don't have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.  

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