A disease characterized by rapid growth of cells in the body, often in the form of a tumor. Cancer is invasive — that is, it can spread to surrounding tissues. Although this disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, research has provided considerable insight into its many causes (which may include diet, viruses, or environmental factors) and options for treatment (which include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and possibly gene therapy).
Note: The term cancer is often used to describe a nonmedical condition that is undesirable, destructive, and invasive: “Watergate was a cancer on the presidency.”
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