Cancer: A Complete Guide

The uncontrolled division of cells because of abnormalities in chromosomes that prevent normal cell division is called cancer. The disease can spread from an original (primary) site to other parts of the body, where it may become a secondary tumor. Depending on the category of cancer, symptoms can appear early or late. Cancer can be caused by different sources like exposure to radiation, viruses, chemicals, and other carcinogens. There are many possible types of cancer that can occur.

Benign Tumors: Benign tumors are usually small. They’re not cancer, but they can still be serious. Not all benign tumors need to be removed. If the tumor isn’t causing any symptoms or signs of trouble, one may not need surgery (or never need surgery). Benign tumors usually don’t come back. They don’t spread to other body parts (seeding) or invade other tissues (migration).

Malignant Tumors: Malignant tumors can infiltrate the blood–also known as cancers that spread through the bloodstream. They are dangerous because they can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs or metastasize to distant parts of the body. The speed with which malignant tumors grow is known as malignancy.

Categories of Cancer

There are different types of cancer that originate in specific organs or body parts, and each has a different treatment and outlook.

Carcinomas: They typically form a solid tumor. Carcinomas result from genetic mutations in epithelial cells, which begin to grow out of control. They originate in the epithelial cells, which line or cover organs, cavities, tubes, and passageways in the body.

Adenocarcinomas: Adenocarcinomas occur when cells in the glandular tissue of the lung, breast, prostate, or colon start to multiply in an abnormal way. They are considered a particular type (subtype) of carcinoma.

Sarcomas: Sarcomas are cancers that start in cells that make up the soft parts of the body, including muscle, fat, cartilage, bone, nerves, blood vessels, and fibrous tissues.

Leukemias: These cancers begin in blood cells and usually do not cause tumors; they cause problems with the blood-making (hematopoietic) cells – the white cells, which fight infection, and the red cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Lymphomas: This is a cancer type that starts in a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte. It impacts the lymph nodes and lymphatic system and may cause tumors in lymph tissue. Lymphomas can be treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.