Types of Cancer
The word “cancer” is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. We also speak of malignant tumors or neoplasms. One of the hallmarks of cancer is the rapid multiplication of abnormal growing cells, which can invade nearby parts of the body and then migrate to other organs. This is called metastasis, which is the main cause of death from cancer.
February 4: World Cancer Day
What is a cancer cell?
Our cells divide to ensure the growth and renewal of tissues in our body. This process is orchestrated, in each cell, by a set of genes. A cancer cell is a cell that has suffered a genetic accident. The process of division can then become uncontrollable: the cells multiply in an anarchic way, and the resulting cells will in turn multiply in excess. In some cases, these cells become immortal and this accumulation of abnormal cells creates the malignant tumor.
Adult types of cancer (in alphabetical order of the area concerned):
Colon cancer (colorectal)
Choroidal melanoma and metastases (retinal cancer)
Uterine Cancer (womb cancer) and Endometrial cancer (the lining of the uterus or womb)
Esophageal cancer (esophagus = the food pipe that runs between the throat and the stomach)
gastrointestinal stromal tumor
Hodgkin’s lymphoma disease
Laryngeal cancer (voice box)
Lymphomas: Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Mesothelioma (thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs, most common area affected is the lining of the lungs and chest wall)
Multiple myeloma (is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that normally produces antibodies)
Myeloma (bone marrow cancer)
plasmacytoma (see also myeloma)
Rhabdomyosarcoma (skeletal muscles tissue)
Skin cancer (melanoma)
small cell lung carcinoma
Soft tissue sarcoma
Types of cancer in Children’s
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in children and adolescents, especially in high-income countries. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the likelihood of survival varies by country: in high-income countries, more than 80% of children with cancer recover, but in many low- and middle-income countries, this proportion is only 15% to 45%.
Read also: ATRT Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor
Several factors explain these lower survival rates in low- and middle-income countries, including: late diagnosis, which is made at an advanced stage of the disease, inability to obtain an accurate diagnosis, inaccessible therapies, treatment discontinuation, deaths from toxicity (side effects) and preventable relapses. Improving access to childhood cancer care, including essential medicines and technologies, is highly cost-effective, possible, and can improve survival in any situation. Source: WHO (World Health Organization
- Brain and spinal cord
- Hodgkin lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Childhood leukemia
- Wilms tumour
Head and neck cancers
- Hypopharyngeal – also throat
- Laryngeal – also throat
- Nasal and paranasal
- Nasopharyngeal – also throat
- Oropharyngeal – also throat
- Salivary gland
Types of Blood Cancer
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
- Hodgkin lymphoma
- Hodgkin lymphoma – childhood
- Leukemia – childhood
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma – childhood
What are cancers called?
Most cancers are named after the part of the body in which they originated, such as breast cancer or prostate cancer. But others have scientific names like leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. And some types of cancer are named after who discovered them, like Hodgkin lymphoma (for Hodgkin) and Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer that affects children).
Cancers are also named after the type of tissue in which they originate.
Carcinoma is cancer that starts in the skin or the tissues that line or cover organs. This coating is called the epithelium and is made up of different types of cells. Carcinomas are the most common types of cancer. Here are some examples:
adenocarcinoma starts in glandular cells such as those in the intestine, lungs or prostate;
basal cell carcinoma starts in the skin;
squamous cell carcinoma starts in the skin (called squamous cell carcinoma) or in mucous membranes such as those lining the mouth and vagina;
Transitional carcinoma starts in the urinary tract inside organs such as the bladder or ureters.
Sarcoma is cancer that starts in connective or supporting tissues such as bones, muscles, fat, cartilage, and blood vessels. Sarcoma is rarer than carcinoma. Here are some examples:
Soft tissue sarcoma
Melanoma is a type of cancer that starts in cells called melanocytes. These cells make melanin, a pigment responsible for the color of the skin. Most melanomas appear on the skin, but they can also appear in any part of the body that contains melanocytes, such as the anus and eyes.
Leukemia starts in the bone marrow, where blood cells are made. In people with leukemia, there are many abnormal blood cells in the bone marrow and blood. This type of cancer does not form a solid tumor.
Lymphoma is cancer that starts in lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system and the lymphatic system. In people with lymphoma, many abnormal lymphocytes are found to accumulate in the lymph nodes, lymph vessels, bone marrow, spleen and other parts of the body.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are part of the immune system and they produce antibodies that fight infections. In people with multiple myeloma, many abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, are found to accumulate in the bone marrow. Myeloma cells can form tumors in bones or other tissues.
Are all tumors cancerous?
No. Some types are non-cancerous (benign). Non-cancerous tumors are made up of cells that stay in one place and do not spread. But these tumors can still get quite large. Non-cancerous tumors also don’t usually come back after they’re removed.
Other types are cancerous (malignant). Cancerous tumors can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. It happens when cancer cells enter the blood or the lymphatic system. Even after the cancerous tumor is removed, the cancer may come back because cancer cells may have already spread from the tumor to other parts of the body.
It is important to find the cancer as soon as possible, because it is usually smaller and easier to treat and less likely to have spread.
Lipoma is a fat benign tumor (skin lumps) – Symptoms, Treatments, Risks
Information: Cleverly Smart is not a substitute for a doctor. Always consult a doctor to treat your health condition.
Sources: PinterPandai, WHO (World Health Organization), NHS UK, Cancer Center, Web MD, American Cancer Society, European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), Cancer Council Australia, National Cancer Institute (NIH), International Agency for Research on Cancer, National Cancer Centre Singapore
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons