What is Cancer? Types of Cancer & Symptoms of Cancer

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Cancer has become a common term nowadays as most of the people are being diagnosed with different types of cancer.

Cancer means abnormal and unregulated proliferation of cells from a specific organ with the ability to create their own blood supply and break away from the origin and spread to other parts of the body.

There will be predominant morbidity and mortality due to damage of organs due to local growth and metastases to other parts.

A study from MedGenome finds that cancer vaccine approach could potentially help in Lynch Syndrome treatment

Photo courtesy of Nephron/Wikipedia.org.

Normal cells stay at the place of their origin and they show controlled replication whereas the cancer cells grow uncontrollably and proliferate, travel to other parts of the body.

Cancer symptoms and warning signs

Below are the symptoms and warning signs of cancer

  • Change in bowel or bladder habits
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Thickening or lump in the breast or other areas
  • Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  • Obvious change in a wart or mole
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness

A cancer may occur due to genetic changes that lead to uncontrolled cell growth. These cells grow to form a mass known as tumor which can be benign or cancerous.

Types of tumor

There are three main types of tumor – Benign, Premalignant and Malignant tumors

Benign: Benign tumors are not cancerous and they do not grow or spread to other regions. They do not return once they are removed.

Premalignant: In premalignant tumors, the cells are not yet cancerous, but they have the ability to become malignant.

Malignant: Malignant tumors are cancerous. The cells can grow and spread to other parts of the body.

Types of Cancer

There are more than 100 different cancers that affect people and they are mostly described by the name from which they were originated.

There are four main types of cancer based on its origin.

  • Carcinomas: Carcinomas are the most common type of cancer and they generally form solid tumors. It may start in the skin or the tissue that covers the surface of internal organs and glands. Prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer are few examples of carcinomas.
  • Sarcomas: A sarcoma can develop in fat, muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, blood vessels, lymph vessels, cartilage or bone. It starts in the tissues that support and connect the body.
  • Leukemias: Leukemia is blood cancer. Leukemia begins when healthy blood cells change and grow uncontrollably. The 4 main types of leukemia are acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and chronic myeloid leukemia.
  • Lymphomas: Lymphoma is a cancer in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and glands that help fight infection. There are 2 main types of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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