Cancer is a disease that has to do with cells. Our cells are tiny units that make up living things and the living things that our bodies are made of.

Each person has billions and billions of cells and sometimes when cells do something different, cancer can form.

Cancer Cells

Cancer is a disease that occurs when cells that are abnormal grow and spread throughout the body very quickly.

When a cell is healthy and normal, they will grow and divide, and they know when to stop growing and to stop dividing.

Cells know when it is time for them to die, but when cancer cells invade the body, they continue to divide and grow, and they do not die when they are supposed to.

This is one reason why cancer can spread very quickly.

Cancer and Tumors

When cancer cells invade the body, they sometimes group together or clump into a form and this causes the body to make tumors.

When a tumor grows, it can become cancerous and it can be a lump of cancer.

When cancer is in the body, it oftentimes destroys the normal and good cells that are in the body and around the tumor, causing the body to lose its healthy tissues.

When cancer forms tumors and destroys the good cells, this is what causes people to be sick.

Cancer also can break away from the tumor and spread to other areas throughout the body where the cancer cells can keep dividing, growing and spreading.

When a tumor spreads to another place in the body, this is called metastasis.

Why Does Cancer Happen?

Doctors and scientists are still not completely sure why cancer happens or what causes people to get cancer.

We know that cancer is not contagious, meaning that you cannot catch cancer just because you are around someone that has it.

Cancer is not caused by things that we do, it is not caused by physical accidents.

Some things that are linked to causing cancer are things that are harmful to our bodies such as smoking or drinking alcohol.

People that do this sometimes get cancer later in life.

Other people get cancer because of the cells in their body have decided to do their own thing and nothing that they could have done differently would have stopped this from happening.

Diagnosing Cancer

Sometimes it takes a while before doctors realize a person has cancer.

Usually, when sickness keeps happening or someone loses a lot of weight, has a lot of fevers or is sick for a long time, a doctor will do tests to make sure that it is not cancer.

A doctor will order x-rays and blood tests to find out what the sickness is. If the doctor thinks that a person has cancer, he or she is sent to an Oncologist.

An oncologist is a doctor who treats cancer patients.

The oncologist will then run more tests to see if a person has cancer, what kind of cancer it is and how the cancer can be treated.

Oncologists sometimes suggest the person to get a biopsy. A biopsy is when a piece of tissue is removed from the place where the cancer is suspected and then it is tested.

A biopsy can tell if something is cancer or is not.

Treatment for Cancer

There are many different treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and sometimes more than one treatment is needed.

Different treatments are needed for different cancers, depending on the cancer that is causing the abnormal cells to grow or depending on how far the cancer has spread.


Chemotherapy is a medicine that fights cancer. This is sometimes in the form of a pill or it can be given through an IV.

An IV is a plastic tube that goes into the blood stream and medicine goes from a bag that hangs to the veins and flows through the blood so it can attack the cancer cells.

Chemo is oftentimes given for a long period of time and is usually given until the cancer is gone completely.


Radiation is another form of cancer treatment. With radiation, there are energy waves that pass through the body to try to destroy the cancer cells.

This type of treatment is similar to the radiation that happens when x-rays are given.

Radiation is used to shrink tumors and to destroy cancer cells. People oftentimes are given radiation until the cancer is completely gone.


Cancer surgery is an old treatment and it is used to help take the cancer out of the body.

The surgeon will go in where the tumor is and try to take out as many of the cancer cells as they can and then they will check to see if the cancer is gone.


When a person is better and cancer is gone, the person with cancer goes into remission. Remission means that there are no signs of the cancer.

When someone goes in to remission, they have to be checked sometimes in the future to make sure the cancer does not return.

Facts About Cancer

  • Cancer is sometimes called an acute disease because acute means that the disease happens quickly.
  • Leukemia is a type of cancer.
  • Leukemia is cancer that affects the blood and how blood tissue is formed. When someone has leukemia, it means that abnormal lymphocytes are produced by the body.
  • A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell.
  • Some people that get cancer look for alternative therapy. Alternative therapy is when people find ways to get better without seeing a doctor or taking medication.
  • If a doctor thinks a person has a tumor, they might perform an angiogram. An angiogram is a special x-ray that uses a special dye and can show tumors.
  • If a person has a tumor, the doctor will determine if the tumor is benign or not. Benign means that the tumor is not cancerous.

What Did You Learn?

  • How does cancer happen? Cancer happens when cells began to do their own thing and they continue to grow and divide and do not die like they are supposed to.
  • What are some types of cancer treatments? Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are all types of cancer treatments.
  • What happens to a person when a tumor is removed so that it can be studied under a microscope? A person who has a tumor removed has a biopsy.
  • What is it called when a person no longer has cancer after treatments or surgery? A person that no longer has cancer is in remission.
  • What kind of doctor treats cancer patients? An oncologist treats people that have cancer.