How does cancer arise?
Our bodies are made of millions of cells, many of which wear
out and die and need to be replaced. Sometimes, the process that
creates replacement cells gets out of control, so that too many
cells are produced, creating a lump or ‘tumour’. If the cells
remain in the tumour, they are not ‘cancerous’, and the tumour is
called ‘benign’. However, if the cells can leave the tumour and
spread into other tissues, the cells are described as ‘cancerous’
and the tumour is called ‘malignant’.
A small sample of cells, called a biopsy, may be taken from a tumour and examined under a microscope to find out whether the
tumour is benign or malignant.