Cancer and Cancer Types

Cancer – a general term for around 100 related diseases – may arise in any cell type of the body. In general, cancer cells can divide without control, invade nearby tissue and spread via the blood or lymphatic system into distant organs. Cancer is a genetic disease, in which alterations in at least 2-4 cancer driver genes allows for the manifestation of essential traits which are common among all cancer – the so called “Hallmarks of Cancer” (as proposed by Hannahan and Weinberg in 2000 and 2011). These 8 hallmarks comprise sustaining proliferative signaling, evading growth suppressors, resisting cell death, limitless replicative potential, inducing angiogenesis, tissue invasion and metastasis, metabolic reprogramming and evading immune destruction. Genomic instability, epigenetic reprogramming and the tumor microenvironment are characteristics or factors that enable the acquisition of these hallmarks.