Cancer is the generic name given to a cluster of related diseases. In a normal healthy body, human cells grow and divide as the body needs them. When cells become old or damaged, they die and new cells take their place. However, cancer relates to body cells dividing uncontrollably and spreading to neighbouring tissues.

Many cancers form masses of tissues which we call tumour. However, there are certain types of cancer, such as Leukemia that do not form solid tumours.

According to a report jointly published by the Department of Health, Food and Health Bureau and the Hospital Authority there were over 30,000 new cases of cancer registered in 2017. The annual number of cancer cases is projected to increase to over 40,000 cases by 2030.

However due to the advancements across a number of treatment modality the survival rate of patients in also on the increase.


Cancer is typically labelled in stages from I to IV with IV being the most severe. The staging describes the size of the cancer and how far it has spread, if at all. When you are diagnosed with cancer, your doctor will tell you what stage it is.

It’s important to understanding your cancer stage for a number of reasons:

TREATMENT: It helps your doctor to figure out the best form of treatment based on precedence, if available. An early stage cancer may be treated by surgery, while advanced stage cancer may need chemotherapy.

OUTLOOK: Your speed of recovery will be largely dependent on how early the cancer is detected. The stage gives you an idea of possible outcomes.

RESEARCH: Hospitals and healthcare institutions around the world work with cancer databases that keep track treatments used, and how well they have worked.

Researchers as well as your doctor can use this body of knowledge to help you develop your treatment plan.

Most cancer that involve a turmoil are staged in five broad groups. Other kinds of cancer like cancer of the blood and brain cancer have their own staging system.

Stage O There is no cancer. Only the potential of abnormal cells of becoming cancerous cells. This is also called Carcinoma in situ.
Stage I Cancer is call and only in one specific area. This is also called early stage cancer.
Stage II and III The tumour is often larger and has grown to neighbouring tissue or lymph node.
Stage IV The cancer has spread to other parts of the body and it is also called advanced or metastatic cancer.

Types of cancer

Cancer can spread to almost every organ in the body. The types of cancer are broadly organised into carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma and leukaemia . Carciomas are the most commonly diagnosed type. They originate in the skin, lungs, breasts, pancreas and other organs and glands. Sarcoma are cancers that are found in bone, muscle, fat blood vessels, cartilage and other soft connective tissues in our bodies. Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system. And melanomas are cancers of the cells that make up the pigment in our skin.

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