Definitions for: Cancer


[n] type genus of the family Cancridae
[n] the fourth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about June 21 to July 22
[n] a small zodiacal constellation in the northern hemisphere; between Leo and Gemini
[n] (astrology) a person who is born while the sun is in Cancer
[n] any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division; it may spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the blood stream



Webster (1913) Definition: Can"cer, n. [L. cancer, cancri, crab, ulcer, a sign of
the zodiac; akin to Gr. karki`nos, Skr. karka[.t]a crab, and
prob. Skr. karkara hard, the crab being named from its hard
shell. Cf. Canner, Chancre.]
1. (Zo["o]l.) A genus of decapod Crustacea, including some of
the most common shore crabs of Europe and North America,
as the rock crab, Jonah crab, etc. See Crab.

2. (Astron.)
(a) The fourth of the twelve signs of the zodiac. The
first point is the northern limit of the sun's course
in summer; hence, the sign of the summer solstice. See
Tropic.
(b) A northern constellation between Gemini and Leo.

3. (Med.) Formerly, any malignant growth, esp. one attended
with great pain and ulceration, with cachexia and
progressive emaciation. It was so called, perhaps, from
the great veins which surround it, compared by the
ancients to the claws of a crab. The term is now
restricted to such a growth made up of aggregations of
epithelial cells, either without support or embedded in
the meshes of a trabecular framework.

Note: Four kinds of cancers are recognized: (1) {Epithelial
cancer, or Epithelioma}, in which there is no
trabecular framework. See Epithelioma. (2) {Scirrhous
cancer, or Hard cancer}, in which the framework
predominates, and the tumor is of hard consistence and
slow growth. (3) {Encephaloid, Medullary, or Soft
cancer}, in which the cellular element predominates,
and the tumor is soft, grows rapidy, and often
ulcerates. (4) Colloid cancer, in which the cancerous
structure becomes gelatinous. The last three varieties
are also called carcinoma.

Cancer cells, cells once believed to be peculiar to
cancers, but now know to be epithelial cells differing in
no respect from those found elsewhere in the body, and
distinguished only by peculiarity of location and
grouping.

Cancer root (Bot.), the name of several low plants, mostly
parasitic on roots, as the beech drops, the squawroot,
etc.

Tropic of Cancer. See Tropic.

Synonyms: Cancer the Crab, Crab, Crab, genus Cancer, malignant neoplastic disease

See Also: arthropod genus, Cancer borealis, Cancer irroratus, Cancer magister, cancer of the blood, Cancridae, carcinoma, constellation, Dungeness crab, family Cancridae, house, human, individual, Jonah crab, leucaemia, leukaemia, leukemia, lymphoma, malignant neoplasm, malignant tumor, mansion, metastatic tumor, mortal, person, planetary house, rock crab, sarcoma, sign, sign of the zodiac, somebody, someone, soul, star sign, zodiac

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