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The word disease is more specific – it is the medical term for when the human body
is not functioning correctly due to infection, genetic defects, or other problems.
Cancer, AIDS, and tuberculosis are all examples of diseases. The signs of a disease
are called symptoms.
Some common collocations with disease include:

▶️ a curable disease = can be cured
▶️ a preventable disease = can be prevented
▶️ a rare disease = not a common disease
▶️ a degenerative disease
= a disease that makes your health get much worse over time
▶️ a communicable/contagious disease = can pass from person to person
▶️ heart/liver disease = a disease affecting the heart or liver
▶️ an outbreak of disease
= when a lot of people in a certain place get the disease
▶️ the disease spreading = when more and more people get the disease, in an
increasingly large area
The word illness is more general – it describes the condition of poor health, but it is
not specific about what is causing the health problems.
Some common collocations with illness:
▶️ mental illness = general term when someone has a mental problem. Within
the general category of “mental illness,” we have specific diseases, like
schizophrenia
▶️ serious/severe illness = an illness that is very bad
▶️ minor illness = an illness that is not very bad
▶️ chronic illness = an illness that does not go away
▶️ fatal/terminal illness = an illness that will kill the person
▶️ recover from an illness = get better after being sick
We also have a few collocations that are used with both:
▶️ contract/catch/develop an illness/disease
= begin to be sick
▶️ have/suffer from an illness/disease

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