- a malignant and invasive growth or tumor, especially one originating in epithelium, tending to recur after excision and to metastasize to other sites.
- any disease characterized by such growths.
- the fourth sign of the zodiac: the cardinal water sign.
- a person born under this sign, usually between June 21 and July 22.
Origin of cancer
OTHER WORDS FROM cancer
Words nearby cancer
MORE ABOUT CANCER IN THE ZODIAC
What does Cancer mean?
Cancer is the name of a constellation that’s interpreted as resembling a crab. It’s sometimes referred to as The Crab.
A constellation is a group of stars that appear near each other in the sky—especially a group that has been given a name. Cancer is considered one of the 12 zodiacal constellations—constellations that appear within a particular portion of the sky called the zodiac.
In astronomy, the zodiac is the band of sky along which the paths of the sun, the moon, and the planets appear to move.
Despite its basis in astronomy, the word zodiac is mainly associated with and most often used in the context of astrology, the nonscientific practice in which the positions of heavenly bodies at certain times are thought to influence or be correlated with human behavior and events. In astrology, zodiac refers to a diagram (often a circular one) representing the zodiac belt and showing the symbols associated with each of the 12 constellations or sections, which are called the signs of the zodiac. Cancer is one of these signs. It is situated between Gemini and Leo and is considered the fourth sign of the zodiac.
The position of the sun in a particular portion of the zodiac at the moment of a person’s birth is thought to correlate with their personality. This is what people are referring to when they talk about their zodiac sign (or star sign or often just sign). People whose sign is Cancer are those born between June 21 and July 22.
In the context of the zodiac, the word Cancer can also be used as a noun to refer to someone who is born during this time, as in I was born in early July, so I’m a Cancer. The word Cancerian can be used to mean the same thing. It can also be used as an adjective form of Cancer.
Example: I’m a Cancer, but I don’t think I fit into the sensitive Cancer stereotype.
People with the sign Cancer are traditionally considered to be those born in the range of June 21–July 22. However, interpretations vary.
Where does the word Cancer come from?
The first records of the word cancer in English come from the late 1300s. The word comes from Latin, in which it means “crab.” (The word cancer in reference to the disease comes from the same root, which can also be interpreted as meaning “creeping tumor.” The word canker referring to a sore comes from the same root.)
In astrology, the different signs of the zodiac are thought to be associated with certain personality traits. Traits associated with Cancer include loyalty and sensitivity. Cancer and the other signs of the zodiac are often used in the context of a person’s horoscope. The word horoscope can refer to a diagram of the heavens that maps the relative position of planets and the signs of the zodiac. It can also refer to a prediction based (or said to be based) on a person’s sign and the location of other celestial bodies at the time they were born.
The imaginary line that circles the globe about one-quarter of the way between the equator and the North Pole is called the Tropic of Cancer. It’s the point at which the Sun is directly overhead during the June solstice. (The line known as the Tropic of Capricorn is between the equator and the South Pole.)
It’s called the Tropic of Cancer because, when it was named, the Sun was in the constellation Cancer at the time of the June solstice.
Get more insight into what really defines a Cancer by visiting our article on the many traits of Cancers.
Did you know … ?
What are some other forms related to Cancer?
- Cancerian (adjective, noun)
What are some synonyms for Cancer?
What are some words that share a root or word element with Cancer?
What are some words that often get used in discussing Cancer?
How is Cancer used in astronomy and astrology?
The word Cancer is used to refer to the constellation or the sign of the zodiac named after the constellation. In the context of astrology, people associate a number of different traits with the sign Cancer.
Hi, I’m a Cancer so it’s my month ya’ll.
— (+-) m. (@87_demo) June 1, 2021
i know my mom's star sign is cancer but i refuse to believe it.
— 🐉 (@sonnyspectra) June 1, 2021
My male best friend is a cancer and is the most loyal, considerate, motivated person I know.
— Sweet Jones🖤 (@sidsince94) January 13, 2021
Try using Cancer!
True or False?
The constellation Cancer is situated between Gemini and Leo.
How to use cancer in a sentence
LeBlanc considered herself lucky because no one in her family has had cancer.New Research Shows Disproportionate Rate of Coronavirus Deaths in Polluted Areas|by Lylla Younes, ProPublica, and Sara Sneath|September 11, 2020|ProPublica
Then you get down into patients who have established cardiac disease, who’ve got moderate to severe asthma, who have or have had cancer in the past, sickle-cell disease and things like that.Why Can’t Schools Get What the N.F.L. Has? (Ep. 431)|Stephen J. Dubner|September 10, 2020|Freakonomics
A redesigned set for the coronavirus era will allow for the contestants to be further apart and at a greater distance from Trebek, who has continued as host after a diagnosis last year of pancreatic cancer.‘Jeopardy!’ is returning with a redesigned set—and a new role for Ken Jennings|radmarya|September 3, 2020|Fortune
As Boseman’s untimely death reminds us, colorectal cancer is a difficult and emotional disease for all people at any age.
Physicians also prescribe birth control to patients who would face health risks if they were to become pregnant, including women who suffer from cardiac disease or are undergoing some cancer treatments.USPS delays threaten women’s access to birth control|ehinchliffe|August 27, 2020|Fortune
After four or five months of casual interaction, they realized they both had lost a young parent to cancer.
A single father, he had been living abroad and returned when his mother was diagnosed with cancer.
Family members say he developed also liver cancer after his capture.
My father has suffered two strokes and endured brain cancer since I was arrested and imprisoned.An American Marine in Iran’s Prisons Goes on Hunger Strike|IranWire|December 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Dean Sybil Todd passed away from pancreatic cancer before she could testify.I Was Gang Raped at a UVA Frat 30 Years Ago, and No One Did Anything|Liz Seccuro|December 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST
(b) Diseases of the stomach associated with deficient hydrochloric acid, as chronic gastritis and gastric cancer.
To-day men of science are trying to conquer the horrors of cancer and smallpox, and rabies and consumption.God and my Neighbour|Robert Blatchford
Since he died from cancer in the stomach, he could retain very little food.Assimilative Memory|Marcus Dwight Larrowe (AKA Prof. A. Loisette)
The presence of lactic acid is the most suggestive single symptom of gastric cancer.
Considerable numbers of pus-corpuscles have been found in some cases of gastric cancer.
British Dictionary definitions for cancer (1 of 2)
Other words from cancerRelated prefix: carcino-
Derived forms of cancercancerous, adjectivecancerously, adverb
Word Origin for cancer
British Dictionary definitions for cancer (2 of 2)
- Also called: the Crab the fourth sign of the zodiac, symbol ♋, having a cardinal water classification and ruled by the moon. The sun is in this sign between about June 21 and July 22
- Also called: Moonchild a person born during a period when the sun is in this sign
Scientific definitions for cancer (1 of 2)
A Closer Look
The human immune system often fights off stray cancer cells just as it does bacteria and viruses. However, when cancer cells establish themselves in the body with their own blood supply and begin replicating out of control, cancer becomes a threatening neoplasm, or tumor. It takes a minimum of one billion cancer cells for a neoplasm to be detectable by conventional radiology and physical examinations. Cancer, which represents more than 100 separate diseases, destroys tissues and organs through invasive growth in a particular part of the body and by metastasizing to distant tissues and organs through the bloodstream or lymph system. Heredity, lifestyle habits (such as smoking), and a person's exposure to certain viruses, toxic chemicals, and excessive radiation can trigger genetic changes that affect cell growth. The altered genes, or oncogenes, direct cells to multiply abnormally, thereby taking on the aggressive and destructive characteristics of cancer. Treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are effective with many cancers, but they also end up killing healthy cells. Gene therapy attempts to correct the faulty DNA that causes the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. Researchers are investigating other treatments, such as immunotherapy (the stimulation of the body's natural defenses), vectorization (aiming chemicals specifically at cancer cells), and nanotechnology (targeting cancer cells with minute objects the size of atoms).
Scientific definitions for cancer (2 of 2)
Cultural definitions for cancer
A disease characterized by rapid growth of cells in the body, often in the form of a tumor. Cancer is invasive — that is, it can spread to surrounding tissues. Although this disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, research has provided considerable insight into its many causes (which may include diet, viruses, or environmental factors) and options for treatment (which include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and possibly gene therapy).