What does Cancer mean?

Definitions for Cancer
ˈkæn sər; ˈkæŋ krican·cer

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Cancer.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. cancer, malignant neoplastic diseasenoun

    any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division; it may spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the blood stream

  2. Cancer, Crabnoun

    (astrology) a person who is born while the sun is in Cancer

  3. Cancernoun

    a small zodiacal constellation in the northern hemisphere; between Leo and Gemini

  4. Cancer, Cancer the Crab, Crabnoun

    the fourth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about June 21 to July 22

  5. Cancer, genus Cancernoun

    type genus of the family Cancridae


  1. cancernoun

    A disease in which the cells of a tissue undergo uncontrolled (and often rapid) proliferation.

  2. Cancernoun

    Someone with a Cancer star sign

  3. Cancernoun

    A constellation of the zodiac supposedly shaped like a crab.

  4. Cancernoun

    The zodiac sign for the crab, ruled by the Moon and covering June 22 - July 22.

  5. Etymology: From cancer, from καρκίνος; applied to cancerous tumors because the enlarged veins resembled the legs of a crab.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CANCERnoun

    Etymology: cancer, Lat.

    When now no more th’ alternate twins are fir’d,
    And Cancer reddens with the solar blaze,
    Short is the doubtful empire of the night. James Thomson.

    Any of these three may degenerate into a schirrus, and that schirrus into a cancer. Richard Wiseman.

    As when a cancer on the body feeds,
    And gradual death from limb to limb proceeds;
    So does the chilness to each vital part,
    Spread by degrees, and creeps into the heart. Joseph Addison, Ovid.


  1. Cancer

    Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowel movements. While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also have other causes. Over 100 types of cancers affect humans.Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths. Another 10% are due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity or excessive drinking of alcohol. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation, and environmental pollutants. In the developing world, 15% of cancers are due to infections such as Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human papillomavirus infection, Epstein–Barr virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These factors act, at least partly, by changing the genes of a cell. Typically, many genetic changes are required before cancer develops. Approximately 5–10% of cancers are due to inherited genetic defects. Cancer can be detected by certain signs and symptoms or screening tests. It is then typically further investigated by medical imaging and confirmed by biopsy.The risk of developing certain cancers can be reduced by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, eating resistant starch, vaccination against certain infectious diseases, limiting consumption of processed meat and red meat, and limiting exposure to direct sunlight. Early detection through screening is useful for cervical and colorectal cancer. The benefits of screening for breast cancer are controversial. Cancer is often treated with some combination of radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Pain and symptom management are an important part of care. Palliative care is particularly important in people with advanced disease. The chance of survival depends on the type of cancer and extent of disease at the start of treatment. In children under 15 at diagnosis, the five-year survival rate in the developed world is on average 80%. For cancer in the United States, the average five-year survival rate is 66%.In 2015, about 90.5 million people worldwide had cancer. In 2019, annual cancer cases grew by 23.6 million people and there were 10 million deaths worldwide, representing over the previous decade increases of 26% and 21%, respectively.The most common types of cancer in males are lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and stomach cancer. In females, the most common types are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and cervical cancer. If skin cancer other than melanoma were included in total new cancer cases each year, it would account for around 40% of cases. In children, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and brain tumors are most common, except in Africa, where non-Hodgkin lymphoma occurs more often. In 2012, about 165,000 children under 15 years of age were diagnosed with cancer. The risk of cancer increases significantly with age, and many cancers occur more commonly in developed countries. Rates are increasing as more people live to an old age and as lifestyle changes occur in the developing world. The global total economic costs of cancer were estimated at US$1.16 trillion per year as of 2010.


  1. cancer

    Cancer is a term used for diseases characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells which can invade and spread to other parts of the body. These growths often form tumors, but not all cancers form tumors. There are various types of cancer, which are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. It's caused by changes in the genes that control the way cells function, particularly how they grow and divide. It's often treated with methods like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and others.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Cancernoun

    a genus of decapod Crustacea, including some of the most common shore crabs of Europe and North America, as the rock crab, Jonah crab, etc. See Crab

  2. Cancernoun

    the fourth of the twelve signs of the zodiac. The first point is the northern limit of the sun's course in summer; hence, the sign of the summer solstice. See Tropic

  3. Cancernoun

    a northern constellation between Gemini and Leo

  4. Cancernoun

    formerly, any malignant growth, esp. one attended with great pain and ulceration, with cachexia and progressive emaciation. It was so called, perhaps, from the great veins which surround it, compared by the ancients to the claws of a crab. The term is now restricted to such a growth made up of aggregations of epithelial cells, either without support or embedded in the meshes of a trabecular framework

  5. Etymology: [L. cancer, cancri, crab, ulcer, a sign of the zodiac; akin to Gr. karki`nos, Skr. karkaa crab, and prob. Skr. karkara hard, the crab being named from its hard shell. Cf. Canner, Chancre.]


  1. Cancer

    Cancer, known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a broad group of various diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the body through the lymphatic system or bloodstream. Not all tumors are cancerous. Benign tumors do not grow uncontrollably, do not invade neighboring tissues, and do not spread throughout the body. There are over 200 different known cancers that afflict humans. Determining what causes cancer is complex. Many things are known to increase the risk of cancer, including tobacco use, certain infections, radiation, lack of physical activity, obesity, and environmental pollutants. These can directly damage genes or combine with existing genetic faults within cells to cause the disease. Approximately five to ten percent of cancers are entirely hereditary. Cancer can be detected in a number of ways, including the presence of certain signs and symptoms, screening tests, or medical imaging. Once a possible cancer is detected it is diagnosed by microscopic examination of a tissue sample. Cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. The chances of surviving the disease vary greatly by the type and location of the cancer and the extent of disease at the start of treatment. While cancer can affect people of all ages, and a few types of cancer are more common in children, the risk of developing cancer generally increases with age. In 2007, cancer caused about 13% of all human deaths worldwide. Rates are rising as more people live to an old age and as mass lifestyle changes occur in the developing world.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Cancer

    kan′sėr, n. the name for an important group of malignant tumours, divided into two groups, Carcinomata and Sarcomata, the name being now strictly used only of the former: a constellation between Gemini and Leo, and a sign of the zodiac showing the limits of the sun's course northward in summer: the typical genus of the family Cancridæv.i. Cancer′ate, to become cancerous.—ns. Cancerā′tion; Can′cerite, a petrified crab.—adj. Can′cerous, of or like a cancer.—adv. Can′cerously.—n. Can′cerousness.—adjs. Can′criform, Can′croid, crab-like. [L. cancer; cog. with Gr. karkinos, a crab.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. cancer

    The Crab; the fourth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 21st of June, and commences the summer solstice.

Suggested Resources

  1. cancer

    The cancer symbol -- In this Symbols.com article you will learn about the meaning of the cancer symbol and its characteristic.

  2. cancer

    Song lyrics by cancer -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by cancer on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cancer is ranked #116201 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Cancer surname appeared 150 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Cancer.

    79.3% or 119 total occurrences were Black.
    8.6% or 13 total occurrences were White.
    8% or 12 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    3.3% or 5 total occurrences were of two or more races.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Cancer' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2450

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Cancer' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3024

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Cancer' in Nouns Frequency: #977

How to pronounce Cancer?

How to say Cancer in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Cancer in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Cancer in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of Cancer in a Sentence

  1. Robin Dreeke:

    They wanted to know what different organizations were due to support or defend Chechnya, cancer research, believe it or not, was a huge one … They were also tracking shipping – of all kinds of things, they’re tracking things like MRE [meals ready-to-eat] … because that might tell you where the U.S. forces are building up or not building up.

  2. Jim Ed Brown:

    It comes with great sadness that I have been diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma right lung cancer, this news came as a shock to our family as we are still mourning the loss of my big brother.

  3. Matthew Ellis:

    If you want to work out how the cancer recoded its genome to become a cancer, you have to be able to compare the cancer genome with the genome you inherited from your mom and your dad.

  4. The Italian photographer Majoli:

    It's like a cancer I would say. It spread, you don't know where to hide, you don't know what will happen at any time. While you are in Afghanistan, you know that the more you cross the front line, the more you get in danger.

  5. Stu MacDonald of Bend:

    I am Stu MacDonald of Bend, i survived cancer twice and here I am. This is amazing.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Cancer

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"Cancer." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Cancer>.

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