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Cancer in the context of medicine is a general term for any of a number of different diseases where some of the body's own cells have been damaged in such a way that their division, forming new cells, is no longer controlled (see apoptosis). The resulting cells can form a tumor (a neoplasm) or propagate throughout the body. Some cancers are caused by exposure to radiation or chemicals called carcinogens; others have genetic or infectious causes; the causes of most are unknown. Cancer has become an important problem with the rise in life expectancy. Though great progress in treatment has been made, many cancers remain incurable.


The term cancer is very broad and covers many different illnesses including:


See also: Oncology -- Oncogene -- Tumor suppressor gene

The constellation Cancer, the crab, is known in astronomy and astrology as one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Cancer is small, dim, and does not resemble a crab; it is best noted among stargazers as the home of the beehive cluster. It lies between Gemini to the west and Leo to the east, Lynx to the north and Canis Minor and Hydra to the south.

In Greek mythology, the eponymous Cancer was a brave little crab who tried to stop Hercules from defeating the Hydra and was squashed for his efforts.

Because this sign has a name with negative connotations, for a while in the 1980s, people born under this sign were called Moon Children.

In some cosmologies, Cancer is associated with the Classical Element Water, and thus called an Earth Sign (with Scorpio and Pisces). In astrology, its polar opposite is Capricorn.

We need the standard sort of blurb about how Cancer people are supposed to be--you know, crabby.

See also: Zodiac signs : Aries -- Taurus -- Gemini -- Cancer -- Leo -- Virgo -- Libra -- Scorpio -- Sagittarius -- Capricorn -- Aquarius -- Pisces