NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms
The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,800 terms related to cancer and medicine.
Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.
- listen (muh-LIG-nun-see)
A term for
diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and
can invade nearby tissues. Malignant cells can also spread to
other parts of the body through the blood and lymph
systems. There are several main types of malignancy. Carcinoma
is a malignancy that begins in the skin or in tissues that line
or cover internal organs. Sarcoma is a malignancy that begins in
bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other
connective or supportive tissue. Leukemia is a malignancy that
starts in blood-forming tissue, such as the bone marrow, and
causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced
and enter the blood. Lymphoma and multiple myeloma are
malignancies that begin in the cells of the immune system.
Central nervous system cancers are malignancies that begin in
the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. Also called cancer.