Types of Cancer
Oncology & Cancer Care
Everyone is aware of cancer, but few people understand what cancer actually is. An important thing to understand is that cancer is actually the collective name for several diseases that share certain characteristics.
In simple terms, cancer is the result of the growth of abnormal cells. Your body reproduces millions of cells every day. Under certain circumstances, sometimes an abnormal, malignant cell is produced. This cell then starts creating copies of itself that start attacking healthy cells. Left unchecked, these malignant cells will continue to reproduce and spread throughout the body. The goal of cancer treatment is to completely destroy these abnormal cells.
Cancer can manifest anywhere in the body. The approach to treatment depends on where the cancer originated and how far it has spread. At West Jefferson Medical Center, we treat virtually all types of cancer at our Cancer Center. Below is a brief overview of various types of cancer.
As the name implies, blood cancers form in the blood. These are some of the more difficult cancers to treat because they spread through the body quickly and cannot be treated through surgery, but that does not mean the situation is hopeless. Stem cell transplants, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy have made great headway in treating blood cancers. As with all cancers, diagnosing the condition in the early stages increases the patient’s chances of survivals.
Types of blood cancers include:
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Carcinoma is actually an umbrella term used to classify the most common forms of cancer. These cancers first manifest in the cells that make up the skin and surround the tissues and organs. Skin cancers, the most common form of cancer, are carcinomas. Thankfully, these are some of the easiest cancers to treat and survival rates are very high.
Types of carcinomas include:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Renal Cell Carcinoma
Though breast cancer is most common in women, it can affect men as well. Everyone should be mindful of abnormal growths around their breasts as these could be signs of a developing tumor. Breast cancer is a leading cause of death in women, but a major reason for this is because many people fail to receive regular mammograms where a doctor can detect the disease in the early stages. Visit our Breast Care Center for information on breast cancer screenings and our comprehensive breast cancer care program.
Though smoking is on the decline, lung cancer remains a common health problem worldwide. Lung cancer typically manifests in people who are age 65 and older, so you should ask your doctor about cancer screenings around this time. You should also ask your doctor about your risk factors if you are a current or former smoker, someone else in your family had lung cancer, or you are exposed to air pollution or chemicals at your job.
Brain cancer is not very common. If a tumor develops on the brain the early noticeable symptoms typically include abnormal behavior. Unless you have high risk factors for brain cancer, it is unlikely your doctor will recommend regular screenings. This is why it is important to look out for the symptoms, which may include:
- Memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Blurry vision
- Balance problems
- Mood swings
- Morning headaches
Ask your doctor about cancer screenings
The more time cancer cells have an opportunity to reproduce and spread, the harder it is to get rid of them. Early detection of cancer can make a significant difference in treatment outcome. Discuss risk factors for various cancers with your doctors and get their recommendation for how often you should receive cancer screenings.