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Is Cancer a Disease or Disorder


Cancer is a term well-known to people because of its high mortality rates. It is the leading cause of death worldwide, with 6 out of 10 deaths because of cancer. It amounts to around 10 million people losing their lives to cancer yearly. There are a number of different causes behind the development of cancer. However, many students still wonder if it is a disease or disorder. Keep reading to find the answer.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which the body cells multiply uncontrollably and may spread to other body parts. Cell division typically takes place through mitosis, which helps the body grow and develop. Uncontrolled division and multiplication of cells can start anywhere in the body, leading to cancer in that area. These cells form malignant or benign tumors in the body. Benign tumors are not typically harmful, but malignant tumors are cancerous.


Difference Between Disease and Disorder

Now that you know that cancer is a disease and not a disorder, the question arises, why? Let’s take a quick look into the differences between disease and disorder so you know why cancer is a disease, not a disorder.

  • Diseases are understood by specific signs and symptoms and alter the normal functioning of the body, whereas disorders disturb mental or physical function leading to unease and difficulty.
  • External antigens and pathogens or internal causes may cause diseases. At the same time, fluctuations in normal body physiology or environmental and genetic factors result in disorders.
  • Diseases like cancer cause structural changes within the body, while disorders do not depict any signs.
  • Diseases can be controlled and cured through an adequate treatment regimen, whereas disorders do not typically have a cure. Disorders can be managed through lifestyle changes or medication.
  • The most important difference between diseases and disorders is their transmittance. Diseases may or may not transmit from one person to another. However, disorders are not contagious at all.
  • Cancer, eczema, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and coronary artery disease are examples of diseases. Meanwhile, PTSD, asthma, bronchitis, cerebral palsy, generalized anxiety, and specific phobia are categorized as disorders.

The Bottom Line

Cancer is a disease that spreads rigorously throughout your body if not identified and controlled in time. It arises from changes in your DNA and genes that push the cells to multiply faster than required. Cancer significantly impacts your normal body anatomy and physiology, leading to symptoms like long-lasting fatigue, bleeding and bruising, and bowel changes.


Why is the disease called cancer?

The word cancer comes from a Greek word meaning crab. It refers to the spreading pattern of the disease in the body.

Is breast cancer a disease or disorder?

Breast cancer is a disease that leads to the growth of cysts or tumors in the breasts. These tumors may grow to become malignant and move to other parts of the body.

Is cancer a group of diseases?

Cancer is defined as “a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. If the spread is not controlled, it can result in death” by The American Cancer Society. The study mentions that it combines more than a hundred diseases.

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