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Cancer

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Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells grow, divide, and spread. In most cancers, these abnormal cells form a mass called a tumor. (Not all tumors are cancer.) Cancers found in the blood or immune system do not form tumors. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. But cancers can spread. They can invade nearby tissues and organs. Or, they can break away and spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is.

Millions of Americans are living with a diagnosis of cancer. But thanks to improved cancer screening and treatment, many people with cancer are able to beat the disease. Still, cancer and cancer treatment can have a big effect on your quality of life, day-to-day activities, work life, and relationships. Pain and fatigue are among the most disabling symptoms. Changes in appearance and abilities both from the cancer and its treatment, as well as feelings such as anger and fear, can affect emotional health. In fact depression affects one-third to one-half of all women diagnosed with cancer.

If you are going through cancer treatment or are a cancer survivor, get the support and medical care you need to take care of your physical and emotional health.

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More information on Cancer

Read more from womenshealth.gov

  • Breast Cancer Fact Sheet - This fact sheet provides information on why women should be concerned about breast cancer and gives resources for more information.
  • Cervical Cancer Fact Sheet - This fact sheet answers the common questions patients have regarding cervical cancer.
  • Early-stage Breast Cancer Treatment Fact Sheet - This fact sheet addresses questions that women commonly have about breast cancer and its treatment. It explains the two surgical options used to treat early-stage breast cancer and lists resources for patients seeking more information.
  • Lung Cancer Fact Sheet - This fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about lung cancer in women, including how common it is, whether nonsmokers can develop it, and a smoker's risk of developing it.
  • Ovarian Cancer Fact Sheet - This fact sheet explains what ovarian cancer is, why you should be concerned about it, and where you can get more information.
  • Skin Cancer Fact Sheet - This fact sheet provides basic information on skin cancer, why you should be concerned about it, and where you can get more information.
  • Uterine Cancer: Cancer of the Uterus Fact Sheet - This fact sheet explains what uterine cancer is, why you should be concerned about it, and where you can get more information.

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Content last updated September 22, 2009.

Resources last updated September 22, 2009.

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