About cancer

What is cancer?

Cancer is a term used to describe a group of diseases, not just one.

Each type of cancer has its own name, management and treatment. Cancer is a non-contagious disease.  

For most children with cancer, it is not possible to identify the exact cause. 

It is important to remember that nothing you or your child did caused the cancer. Nothing you could have done would have prevented it from occurring. 

To understand cancer, it is important to learn about cells first.

  • Cells are the basic building blocks that make up all the tissues and organs in our body
  • For example, our skin, heart, brain and blood are each made up of millions of cells
  • Cells divide to make up new cells and replace old or damaged cells
  • Cancer cells grow out of control and they make a lump called a tumour
  • These tumours can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous)
  • Cancer cells can often spread to other parts of the body. This process is called metastasis.  
Last updated Wednesday 26th June 2024