What is it about?

Cancer is a class of diseases with an uncontrolled growth of cells (usually derived from a single cell) beyond the normal limits. The growths often invade adjacent tissues and, sometimes, migrate to other locations of the body (metastasis) via lymph or blood, and promote the growth of new blood vessels from which the cells derive nutrients. Cancerous (malignant) cells can develop from any tissue within the body. These malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, and do not invade or metastasize [1, 2]. TYPES OF CANCER Cancerous tissues (malignancies) can be divided into those of the blood and blood-forming tissues and cells of the immune system (leukemias and lymphomas) and “solid” tumors, often termed cancer. Cancers can be carcinomas (tumor derived from epithelial tissue) or sarcomas (tumor arising from cells that form muscles and connective tissue) [2]. COSTS OF CANCER The National Institutes of Health in United States estimated overall costs of cancer in 2010 at $263.8 billion: $102.8 billion for direct medical costs (total of all health expenditures); $20.9 billion for indirect morbidity costs (cost of lost productivity due to illness); and $140.1 billion for indirect mortality costs (cost of lost productivity due to premature death) [3, 4]. STATISTICS One in eight deaths worldwide are due to cancer, it is the second and third leading cause of death in economically developed and developing countries, respectively. Cancer affects 1 in 3 of us in our lifetime. It also affects people at all ages with the risk for most types increasing with age. Over 70% of cancers happen to people who are over the age of 60 [5]. Lung cancer, the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and women, is responsible for 1.3 million deaths worldwide annually [1]

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Why is it important?

The development of new drugs to fight cancer is essential, as it is a disease with a high rate of mortality and suffering for close relatives of the patient.

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This page is a summary of: Editorial [Hot topic: Developing New Anti-Cancer Drugs (Guest Editor: Ricardo De Souza Pereira)], Recent Patents on Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery, January 2011, Bentham Science Publishers, DOI: 10.2174/157489211793980060.
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