What Should You Know About Cancer?
Everyone has heard of cancer before, as it is a condition that often affects at least one person within our own lives, but with so many different forms and potential locations it can quickly become confusing.
Cancer causes the cells within a person’s body to grow out of control. The entire body is made up of cells, which is how cancer can appear in so many different areas, or even in multiple places at once.
Cancer Similarities and Differences
Cancer is not one single disease as it can develop in many ways and in many forms. There are a few similarities among all kinds of cancer, which include:
- Abnormal cell development – Cancer cells do not gradually wear down or die like other cells do. As these cells survive in the body, they become more and more abnormal and mutated until they form tumors.
- Invasion of nearby tissues – As cancerous cells continue to develop, they begin to spread throughout the body. If cancer originates in the breast, but eventually spreads to the lung, it is still always called breast cancer. In this situation, the spreading cancer is known as metastasis.
Of course, there are clear differences between the many types of cancer. Some forms grow and spread more quickly than others, which can drastically alter a patient’s outlook and recommended method of treatment.
Over 100 kinds of cancer currently exist. These cancers are most often named for the organ or tissues that they present themselves in, such as colon cancer or brain cancer.
More technical categories for cancer are used to give more substantial information about the specific cells the cancer has taken over and how it develops, such as:
- Carcinomas – The most common type of cancer that affects the epithelial cells.
- Sarcoma – A cancer that exists within the bone and soft tissues like fat, muscle, blood vessels, etc.
- Lymphoma – Cancer beginning in the lymphocyte cells is known as lymphoma, which typically lead to abnormalities of the lymph nodes and lymph vessels.
- Melanoma – A frequent source of skin cancer, melanoma is a cancer that affects the cells that create the pigment (color) of your skin
- Leukemia – This is a blood cancer, but it more specifically develops within the blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow.
- Multiple Myeloma – Cancer of the plasma cells, which build up in bones throughout the body.
- Tumors – Groups of cancerous cells that form growths or lumps.
Common Cancer Diagnoses
Stages of Cancer
The exact stage of the cancer is also incredibly important in the process of developing a treatment plan.
There are 4 stages of cancer in total, beginning at Stage 1 and progressing up to Stage 4. The higher the number of the stage, the further the cancer has spread, which usually means that the cancer will be more challenging to treat.
Generally, if the staging is low enough, the cancer may be able to be resected. This would remove the cancerous tissue from the body before it is able to spread.
If the cancer has already begun to appear in other areas of the body, then one of our Cancer Center physicians is likely to suggest a treatment option that will be able to cover all of these areas, such as chemotherapy.