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Cancer Topic

healthy happy familyCancer is a collection of conditions with a common origin.  In the body, each of the cancers are expressed in different ways, a different time frame, or with differing results.  Different kinds of cancer are more common in differing age groups (for example children or adults), gender (male or female), or your ethnicity.  The genes you inherit from your parents and factors in your environment can also contribute to cancer development. Environmental factors trigger errors in cell replication and cell division which leads to the growth of tumors.We can look at cancers in terms of groups of conditions.  In general, you can look at groups of cancers in the following way:

  • Carcinomas most common type of cancer. These cancers start in the cells that cover the outside or inside surfaces of the body.
  • Sarcomas form in bone and soft tissues, such as: muscle, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, tendons and ligaments.
  • Leukemias are cancers that start in the blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow. In these cancers, solid tumors do not form. Instead, large numbers of abnormal white blood cells build up in the blood and bone marrow, crowding out normal blood cells. The low level of normal blood cells can make it harder for the body to get oxygen to its tissues, control bleeding, or fight infections.
  • Lymphoma is cancer that begins in lymphocytes (T cells or B cells). These cells are part of your immune system.  In lymphoma, abnormal lymphocytes build up in lymph nodes, lymph vessels, and other organs of the body.
  • Multiple myeloma is cancer that begins in plasma cells, another part of your immune system. The abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, build up in the bone marrow and form tumors in bones all through the body.
  • Melanoma is cancer that begins in skin cells that give your skin its color. Melanomas can form in the skin or eye.
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors These cancers are named based on the type of cell where they began and where the tumor first formed in the central nervous system.

Cancer is further impacted by research and emerging treatments that continue to unfold.  As research unfolds, each cancer for differing sets of conditions (such as age), have a separate set of recommended treatments.  These recommendations continue to change with evolving research.  Categories of treatments: medications (also called chemotherapy), surgery, radiation, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, or stem cell therapy.  

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Understanding Cancer Topic

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  • Just Diagnosed With Cancer
  • Living With Cancer
  • Be Well: Obesity & Cancer –WVIZ/PBS Ideastream
  • Cancer Treatment Options
  • PBS Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
  • Inherited Cancers
  • Staying Healthy After Cancer

  • Commonly Asked Questions


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    NetWellness Expert Li  Li

    Li Li, MD PhD
    Case Western Reserve University

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    Last Updated: May 13, 2016