Oxford University Press
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing and Public Health
Cancer is the collective name for a group of diseases that cause cells in the body to change and grow out of control. Cancer is basically a disease of the body's cells, and starts in the genes. Genes control a body's ability to constantly make new cells, enabling growth, replacement of worn-out cells, and healing of damaged cells. All cancers are caused by amage to genes. A small number of people may inherit a damaged gene from a parent when they are born, but usually the damage occurs during a person's lifetime.