Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Cancer Basics: Home

What Is Cancer?

Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don't need them, and old cells don't die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren't cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Most treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some may involve hormone therapy, immunotherapy or other types of biologic therapy, or stem cell transplantation.

Source: MedlinePlus - Cancer

Helpful Websites

Materials at the Resource Library

These are just a few highlights from the Resource Library collection. Please click here to search our online catalog. For more information about the Resource Library and how to borrow materials, visit our website

Apps

Cancer.Net Mobile

Cancer.Net Mobile includes up-to-date guides on more than 120 types of cancer, with information about treating cancer, managing side effects, managing the cost of care, and living with cancer. Use interactive tools to keep track of questions to ask doctors and record voice answers. Save information about prescribed medications, including photos of labels and bottles. Track the time and severity of symptoms and side effects.

Cancer.Net Mobile is free and available for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android

Videos

Cancer Research UK: What is cancer and how does it start? - 2:45 minutes

 

What Is Cancer - Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - 10 minutes

 

When the Doctor Says Cancer - 6:30 minutes

In this video, Dr. Jonathan Berek and patient advocate Angela Lee discuss steps to take after a cancer diagnosis, including coping with the news, locating an oncologist, and finding support.

Podcasts

CANCER BUZZ by the Association of Community Cancer Centers

The CANCER BUZZ podcast features fresh perspectives on hot topics in oncology care delivery. CANCER BUZZ is where stakeholders from the front lines of care to the C-suite, from research to the registry, from chairside to benchside, talk about top-of-mind questions and real-world impact.

 

Cancer.Net Podcasts

Cancer.Net is pleased to offer its patient information on cancer research, treatment, coping, and many other topics in an audio podcast format. This gives people with cancer, and their families and friends, an additional option of how they'd like to receive oncologist-approved information from Cancer.Net.

 

Cancer Out Loud! by CancerCare

Cancer Out Loud features conversations with people living with cancer, caregivers, survivors, loved ones and the bereaved. Wherever you are in your experience, CancerCare is here to provide help and hope.

 

TheoryLab from the American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society scientists and grantees discuss the most critical questions in cancer research -- in language that we can all understand.

 

Frankly Speaking About Cancer by the Cancer Support Community

Hosted by Cancer Support Community President and CEO, Kim Thiboldeaux, episodes tackle critical issues including: achieving the best care and quality of life, treatments of the future, the drug approval process, relieving stress and anxiety, life beyond treatment and talking to kids about cancer. Every week, Kim brings together the voices of noted physicians, researchers, nurses and social workers, as well as patients and caregivers from every walk of life with whom you can connect and draw inspiration.

Resources provided by the Cancer Resource Library are for informational purposes only. The information in these materials may or may not apply to your specific condition, and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider to review anything you learn through these resources.

Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides comprehensive cancer treatment and support programs for patients and families. We are recognized for medical excellence, a strong clinical research program, and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention.

Cancer Resource Library | 540 West Pueblo Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 | (805) 563-5807 | library@ridleytreecc.org | www.ridleytreecc.org