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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


What is Cancer?

Cancer is a term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. There are several main types of cancer.

  • Carcinoma is cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.
  • Sarcoma is cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.
  • Leukemia is cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream.
  • Lymphoma and multiple myeloma are cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.

See also: Glossary of Cancer Terms