First of all, cancer is not a new disease, since the earliest known description of a tumor appears in several Egyptian papyri , discovered late in the 19th century. Two of them are well known, the Ebers medical papyrus (Herbs and Incantations) and the Edwin Smith papyrus (Surgical document from the 16-17 Dynasties) were written around 1600 BC and are believed to date from sources as early as 2500 BC.
So what is cancer? Answer: A local disease, a cellular disease or also a whole disease? Cancer is a multi-factorial disease but particularly a cellular disease caused by a number of aggressive exogenous and endogenous factors and a deficient defense and cellular mechanism that sometimes come with hereditary risk. The more people you have in your family with cancer, the higher is the risk to develop a cancer or tumor. Today new lines of research show that Cancer is a disease of the cell cycle and failure of checkpoint and of apoptosis, called natural programmed cell death. Before a cell divides the DNA is checked to make sure it has replicated correctly. If the DNA does not copy itself correctly, or cells divide incorrectly then a gene mutation can occur. Abnormal cells are promptly eliminated by this mechanism that is activated by the P53 tumor suppressor gene. One particularity of cancer cells is their refusal to die, thus escaping from apoptosis because of the failure of the tumor suppressor genes controlling cell cycle and apoptosis. P53 mutation occurs in more than 50% of all cancer and appears necessary in many types of cancer. Not only does P53 mutation impair the destruction of abnormal/cancer cells but also acquires as we say oncogenic properties that activate tumor growth and invasion.