Cancer research has led to progress against lung cancer — and our knowledge is increasing. Researchers continue to look for better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat lung cancer.
Understanding the Cancer Process
All types of cancer develop in our cells, the body’s basic unit of life. To understand cancer, it is helpful to know how normal cells become cancerous.
The body is made up of many types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide, and produce more cells as needed to keep the body healthy and functioning properly. Sometimes, however, the process goes astray — cells keep dividing when new cells are not needed. The mass of extra cells forms a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant.
Benign tumors are not cancer. They often can be removed and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. Most important, benign tumors are rarely a threat to life.