NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017
Normal cells grow and divide and repeat the process
over and over again. The normal cells are supposed
to die when they become old or damaged. If they
don’t die and new cells start to form, the growth
can get out of control. Then an abnormal growth
forms that is called a tumor. Solid tumors can grow
anywhere in the body. Abnormal cells can grow out
of control in places like the bone marrow and blood.
These cells can interrupt how the blood cells form
but may not form a tumor. A solid tumor can form
anywhere in the body. Tumors can be benign or
See Figure 2.
What is the difference between benign and malignant
are not cancer.
The cells are similar to normal cells.
They do not spread to nearby tissues.
They may be found in one area but can grow
large in size.
Common forms of benign tumors include cysts (lumps
filled with fluid), lipomas (lumps of fatty cells), and
fibromas (lumps of fibrous or connective tissue cells).
Some benign tumors are considered pre-cancerous,
meaning that they may progress to cancer.
Fortunately, once removed, most benign tumors do
not come back.
The cells tend to be very different from normal
They can vary in size and be in more than one
area in the body.
They can invade nearby organs and spread
(metastasize) to other parts of the body.
But I'm too young to have cancer!
What is cancer?
Figure 1. DNA
DNA is found in our cells and when damaged can
Normal versus cancer cell growth
Cancer cells make new cells that aren't needed and
don't die quickly when old or damaged.
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