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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an

uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread).

Cancer is not one disease. It is a group of more than 100 different and
distinctive diseases.

Cancer can involve any tissue of the body and have many different
forms in each body area. Most cancers are named for the type of cell or
organ in which they start. If a cancer spreads (metastasizes), the new
tumor bears the same name as the original (primary) tumor.

The frequency of a particular cancer may depend on gender. While skin


cancer is the most common type of malignancy for both men and
women, the second most common type in men is prostate cancer and
in women, breast cancer.

Cancer frequency does not equate to cancer mortality. Skin cancers are
often curable. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer
for both men and women in the United States today.

Benign tumors are NOT cancer; malignant tumors are cancer. Cancer is
NOT contagious.

Cancer is the Latin word for crab. The ancients used the word to mean
a malignancy, doubtless because of the crab-like tenacity a malignant
tumor sometimes seems to show in grasping the tissues it invades.
Cancer may also be called malignancy, a malignant tumor, or a
neoplasm (literally, a new growth).

Types of cancer

* Bone Cancer

* Brain Cancer

* Breast Cancer
* Endocrine Cancer

* Gastrointestinal Cancer

* Gynecologic Cancer

* Head & Neck Cancer

* Leukemia

* Lung Cancer

* Lymphoma

* Multiple Myeloma

* Prostate Cancer
* Skin Cancer

* Soft Tissue Sarcoma

ymptoms of Cancer

A broad spectrum of non-specific cancer symptoms may include:

* Persistent Fatigue: Fatigue is one of the most commonly


experienced cancer symptoms. It is usually more common when the
cancer is advanced, but still occurs in the early stages of some
cancers. Anemia is commonly the culprit -- a condition that is
associated with many types of cancer, especially types affecting the
bowel. Fatigue is a symptom of both malignant and non-malignant
conditions and should be evaluated by a physician.

* Unintentional Weight Loss: While it may be a welcome surprise to


lose weight without trying, it can be a red flag for many illnesses,
including cancer. Losing 10 pounds or more unintentionally definitely
warrants a visit to the doctor. This type of weight loss can occur with or
without loss of appetite. Remember, weight loss can be a symptom of
cancer, but is also a symptom of many other illnesses, too.

* Pain Typically, pain is not an early symptom of cancer, except in


some cancer types like those that spread to the bone. Pain generally
occurs when cancer spreads and begins to affect other organs and
nerves.

Lower pack pain is cancer symptom that is associated with ovarian


cancer and colon cancer. Shoulder pain can also be a symptom of lung
cancer. Pain in the form of headaches can be associated with brain
tumors (malignant and benign).

Stomach pains can be related to types of cancer, like stomach


cancer, pancreatic cancer, and many others. Stomach pain can be a
very vague symptom because so many illnesses can cause stomach
pain.

* Fever: A fever is a very non-specific symptom of many mild to


severe conditions, including cancer. In relation to cancer, a fever that is
persistent or one that comes and goes frequently can signal stress on
the immune system. Fevers are commonly associated with types of
cancer that affects the blood, like leukemia and lymphoma, but are
also common in people whose cancer has spread.

* Bowel Changes: If you experience constipation, diarrhea, blood in


the stools, gas, thinner stools, or just a general overall change in bowel
habits, see your doctor. These symptoms are most commonly
associated with colon cancer, but are also related to other cancer
types.

* Chronic Cough: A persistent, new cough or a cough that won't go


away or becomes worse needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Blood
and/or mucus may accompany the cough and can be caused many
conditions. In relation to cancer, a chronic cough with blood or mucus
can be symptom of lung cancer.

Keep in mind that these are very general, vague symptoms of cancer. If
you have one or two of these symptoms, it is not a red flag for cancer
but more an indication to your doctor to run certain medical tests. The
symptoms listed above are experienced by most people with cancer at
various stages of their disease, but are also linked to many other non-
cancerous conditions. For more specific cancer symptoms, see below
for symptom information about several types of cancer. You may also
get a better understanding of what your symptoms may mean by using
the About.com Symptom Checker, an interactive health education tool.

Specific Symptoms of Different Types of Cancer

# Anal Cancer

# Bladder Cancer

# Breast Cancer

# Cervical Cancer
# Colon Cancer

# Endometrial Cancer

# Esophageal Cancer

# Kidney Cancer

# Leukemia

# Liver Cancer

# Lung Cancer

# Lymphoma

# Ovarian Cancer

# Pancreatic Cancer

# Penile Cancer

# Prostate Cancer

# Skin Cancer

# Stomach Cancer

Cancer is probably one of the scariest words you will ever hear, when
it's you, your family member, or friend who has received a cancer
diagnosis. A suspected diagnosis of cancer requires further diagnostic
imaging procedures whose "purpose," according to Barry Tepperman,
MD MBA, "is to identify how extensive the cancer is in the region of the
known tumor, and to be able to identify other sites involved. Selection
of the correct treatment depends on accurate depiction of the extent of
disease."

Unless neurological involvement is suspected, a CT scan is the first


diagnostic imaging procedure your physician will order. MRI provides
excellent resolution of the details of nervous system structures but
shows no detail of bone structure and it is usually used to clear up
issues which remain unclear after CT scan. Nuclear medicine scans,
particularly bone scans are invaluable in assessing possible metastatic
involvement and depending on your particular tumor may or may not
be used.

CT scans, MRIs, and nuclear medicine scans are diagnostic procedures


and are not conclusive evidence of malignant cancer. Only a biopsy
and a pathologists report can give you a definitive diagnosis of cancer.
The type of surgery and/or biopsy will be dependent on the location of
the possible type of cancer diagnosis you may be hearing.

Treatment

Chemotherapy can serve varying goals

One of chemotherapy's main advantages is that — unlike radiation,


which treats only the area of the body exposed to the radiation —
chemotherapy treats the entire body. As a result, any cells that may
have broken away from the original cancer are treated.

Depending on what type of cancer you have and whether it has spread,
your doctor may use chemotherapy to:

* Eliminate all cancer cells in your body, even when cancer is


widespread

* Prolong your life by controlling cancer growth and spread

* Relieve symptoms and enhance your quality of life


In some cases, chemotherapy may be the only treatment you need.
More often, it's used in conjunction with other treatments, such as
surgery, radiation or a bone marrow transplant, to improve results. For
example, you may receive:

* Chemotherapy before other treatments (neoadjuvant


chemotherapy). The goal of neoadjuvant therapy is to reduce the size
of a tumor before surgery or radiation therapy.

* Chemotherapy after other treatments (adjuvant chemotherapy).


Given after surgery or radiation, the goal of adjuvant therapy is to
eliminate any cancer cells that might linger in your body after earlier
treatments.
Temporary side effects might include:

* Hair loss

* Dry mouth

* Mouth sores (stomatitis)

* Difficult or painful swallowing (esophagitis)

* Nausea

* Vomiting

* Diarrhea

* Constipation

* Fatigue

* Bleeding

* Susceptibility to infection

* Infertility

* Loss of appetite

* Changes in the way food tastes

* Cognitive impairment, sometimes referred to as "chemo brain"

* Liver damage
* Heart damage

* Nerve damage

* Lung damage