Cancer is due to an abnormal proliferation of cells which are resistant to normal regulatory mechanisms and which have the propensity to infiltrate the host organ, to invade locally and to activate mechanisms allowing more widespread dissemination through the body via blood vessels or lymphatics.
Critical initial steps in cancer management are confirmation by histological diagnosis, and determination of tumour extent by staging. This fundamental information is central to all management decisions, and provides prognostic information. Accurate stratification of patients by tumour type and stage is also a prerequisite of cancer research, enabling valid comparison of outcomes between treatment groups.
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