Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably.
The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.
Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as 'metastasis'.
Early signs of cancer are changes to your body's normal processes or symptoms that are out of the ordinary.
For example, a lump that suddenly appears on your body, unexplained bleeding or changes to your bowel habits are all symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor.
Cancer is also a National Health Priority Area (NHPA) because it has a significant impact on the Australian community in terms of death, illness and costs. Australia's NHPA Cancer Control initiative focuses on nine different types of cancers:
- lung cancer
- skin cancers
- bowel cancer
- prostate cancer
- non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- cervical cancer
- breast cancer
- ovarian cancer
- thyroid cancer.
Last reviewed: September 2015