Cancer is a collective term for highly variable diseases with common characteristics. Cancer always entails the uncontrolled proliferation of human cells. The cells become cancerous and invade healthy tissue, thereby damaging it. Cancerous cells may migrate from their point of origin and form additional tumours (metastases) elsewhere in the body.
Each year, over 11 million people are diagnosed with cancer worldwide. Each year, nearly eight million people die from cancer.
In Austria, approx. 38,000 individuals develop cancer; men are affected slightly more often than women. For both sexes, malignant tumours are the second most common cause of death following cardiovascular diseases. Because cancer predominantly occurs in older individuals and because the population continues to age, cancer is becoming increasingly more important in the planning of health care.