Cancer is a class of diseases or disorders characterized by uncontrolled division of cells and the ability of these cells to invade other tissues, either by direct growth into adjacent tissue through invasion or by implantation into distant sites by metastasis. Metastasis is defined as the stage in which cancer cells are transported through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Cancer may affect people at all ages, but risk tends to increase with age, due to the fact that DNA damage becomes more apparent in aging DNA. It is one of the leading causes of death in developed countries.

The Cigarette Smoking Man had lung cancer, but was apparently healed by Jeremiah Smith in exchange for his release from Syndicate imprisonment. (TXF: "Talitha Cumi") However, his cancer would return, years later. (TXF: "Requiem") The CSM himself was often occasionally referred to as "Cancer Man", even prior to discovering that he had the illness. (TXF: "One Breath", et al.)

Dana Scully also contracted cancer after being abducted by a UFO in 1994, as part of the Syndicate's nefarious Project. (TXF: "Memento Mori")

In 2000, a boy named Jason McPeck was diagnosed with cancer, but his parents denied him treatment on religious grounds. McPeck was cured with alien technology provided by the Cigarette Smoking Man. (TXF: "En Ami")

Black oil, or purity, is sometimes called as the black cancer.

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