Salwa Hassan Teama M.D. Clinical Pathology and Oncology National Cancer Institute/ Cairo/ Egypt

Cancer is one of the most common and severe problems of clinical medicine. Statistics show that cancer in some form strikes more than one third of the population, accounts for more than 20% of all deaths, and, in developed countries, is responsible for more than 10% of the total cost of medical care.

Cancer is a complex disease that result from the same basic process of uncontrolled growth. Cell proliferation results in a mass that invades neighbouring tissues and may metastasise to more distant sites. The growth is autonomous, increasingly malignant, and if untreated, invariably fatal.

Some cancers, however, such as blood cancers, do not form tumours. Tumour formation is a multi-step process involving many genetic changes in the evolving tumour cell population. Tumours are classified by site, tissue type and degree of malignancy. Most cancer are disorders of later life, but some affect children.

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