Cancer or Malignancy the name assigned to a group of diseases in which the abnormal cells start dividing continuously. The human body is composed of trillions of cells which grow, divide, eventually become old and die that are replaced by younger cells.
Cancer breaks this cycle and makes the cells to behave abnormally. The old and decaying cells continue to divide and spread to other body parts by accumulating the certain parts to form tumors. Most cancer cells are found in the shape of tumors, with a few notable exceptions such as leukemia. All tumors are not cancerous. Some tumors, such as moles, stop growing and are not malignant. Cancer has many stages, few are detected in the early stages, and are treatable.
Different Types of Cancer
There are more than hundred different types of cancer that are characterized by abnormal cell growth. Listed here are different types of cancer.
It is the most common form of cancer that affects the epithelial cells which form the lining of internal organs or the skin.
Lung cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer are some of its common manifestations. Carcinomas can be identified by the different cells that they affect:
- Adenocarcinoma – A form of carcinoma that affects mucus or fluid forming epithelial cells. Common examples of adenocarcinoma are breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.
- Squamous Carcinoma- A carcinoma that affects the epithelial cells which are present beneath the outermost surface of the skin. These cells also form the lining of many vital organs in the human body such as stomach, kidneys, lungs, intestines, and bladder.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma– A type of carcinoma that affects the basal cells found in the deepest layer of the epidermis. It is a form of skin cancer which appears as a lump or ulcer in the affected areas.
- Transitional cell carcinoma – It affects cells of transitional epithelium found in the lining of bladder, ureters and certain parts of the kidney.
These cancer cells develop in the bones and soft tissues such as fat tissues, cartilages, blood vessels, lymph and other supporting tissues of tendons and ligaments.
The most common form of sarcoma in the bone is osteosarcoma and in soft tissues are Kaposi sarcoma, liposarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, leiomyosarcoma, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.
Commonly known as blood cancer. Leukemia affects the tissues of bone marrow which is responsible for blood production. It is one of the fatal forms of cancer.
Leukemia is completely different from other cancer. It is caused by the uncontrolled production of white blood cells (Lymphoid cells and myeloid cells). These abnormal white blood cells damage the tissues of the bone marrow and crowd the normal blood cells. These abnormal white blood cells continue to divide and damage the complete normal blood cells. As a result, the Leukemia patient fails to provide adequate red blood cells to supply oxygen, adequate normal white blood cells to fight infection and adequate platelets for blood coagulation.
A lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the lymphocytes in the lymph nodes, which are a part of the immune system. There are two kinds of lymphoma-
- Hodgkin lymphoma – originates in the B cells
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, – originates in B or T cells.
It is a form of skin cancer that targets melanin – the pigment responsible for skin color. In this form of cancer, the melanocytes are affected resulting in the abnormal formation of melanin. It may also affect other tissues that are pigmented, such as the eyes.
Myeloma targets another part of the immune system- the plasma cells. The affected plasma cells, called myeloma cells divide in the bone marrow causing multiple tumors in the bones (Multiple Myeloma also called Kahler disease).
CNS (Central Nervous System) cancers originate from the brain and the spinal cord. Gliomas, vestibular schwannomas, meningiomas, primary CNS lymphomas, pituitary adenomas, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors are few CNS cancers.
Symptoms of cancer
Cancer can be identified by a variety of symptoms. In some cases, symptoms could vary or may not show any signs and symptoms. There are few general symptoms:
- Irregular loss of weight.
- Recurrent fever.
- Continuous pain in a certain area.
- Irregular changes in the skin (pigmentation, unusual hair growth, red or yellow skin, blotches etc.)
Apart from these, women should watch out for certain symptoms for the cancers that are unique to them:
- Change in the shape or color of the breast.
- Bleeding out of the menstrual cycle period.
- Blood in stool.
Causes of Cancer
Like symptoms, there is no conclusive evidence for its causes. However, scientists have found out certain things which aggravate the occurrence of this disease. Some of the common factors are:
- Tobacco and other related narcotics.
- Exposure to unnatural radiation (such as UV rays) for an extended period of time.
- Diet and lifestyle.
- Exposure to certain chemicals for a long time.
- Unhealthy environment.
Treatment of cancer
Medical science has advanced greatly in the last few decades and found out the treatment for most forms of cancers. The process of treatment depends on the type and stages of cancer. Some of the common treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.
We had an overview of types of cancer. For more detailed information, visit BYJU’S