Cancer: Types and Hallmarks
We review some of the main characteristics of cancer in this chapter. Our aim is to give the reader a general overview and a molecular biological or genetic understanding of the disease. However, our review is by no means exhaustive, and the interested reader should explore these topics from the references provided at the end of the chapter. We start with explaining cancer as a neoplastic disease and some reasons for its occurrence. Next, we discuss the different categories of cancers depending on the cell types where they originate. This is a convenient categorization as there are many different types of cancers with many common attributes that can be captured through this categorization. Then we discuss some of the major hallmarks of cancer and the current genetic and biochemical understanding of these hallmarks. We explain some of the key genetic pathways that support these hallmarks and also some interconnections between these pathways. Next, we discuss some of the enabling characteristics like genetic mutation and tumor-promoting inflammation that are responsible for the occurrence of cancer. Finally, we conclude the chapter with an overview of symptoms, diagnosis, and different types of treatments of cancer.
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