Other forms of cancer

banncer-cancer-other-forms

Cancer is the general name for more than 100 diseases occurring throughout the body, all of which start because abnormal cells grow

out of control. In most cases cancer cells form a tumor, any abnormal collection of cells, which is termed malignant when it can metastasize to other parts of the body. No matter where a cancer may spread, it is identified based on the place where it started. For instance, colon cancer that has spread to the liver is called metastatic colon cancer, not liver cancer. The distinction is important in providing each patient the most effective diagnosis, care and treatment.

This list of common cancers gives you basic information from the American Cancer Society on the specific cancer, its annual national mortality statistics, risk factors associated with it and warning signs to look for. Let this information serve as a starting point to learn about a cancer affecting you or a loved one. You are welcome and indeed encouraged to ask your ETMC medical team for further information.

At the ETMC Cancer Institute, our patients’ needs are at the center of everything we do. It’s our job not only to provide diagnosis and treatment but to look at the impact of cancer on every area of the patient’s life and to make sure we provide all the support and information needed to manage stress and have a healthy recovery. We do all that not only to maintain our position as the first cancer program in East Texas to receive approval from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. We do it because after all these years it’s still true: We treat cancer. We care for people.

Bladder cancer

Bladder cancer is classified into several types based on cell appearance, and treatment varies accordingly. Annually about 74,000 Americans will be diagnosed with and 16,000 will die of bladder cancer; it occurs more often in men and in Caucasians. While smoking presents the most important risk factor for bladder cancer, other risk factors include older age, a history of urinary infections, family history and certain herbal supplements. Warning signs include blood in the urine and other urinary symptoms.

Bone cancer

Most cancer in the bones is a metastatic cancer that has spread from somewhere else, such as breast or lung, and the primary site will determine treatment. Annually about 2,970 Americans will be diagnosed with and 1,490 will die of bone cancer. Although most people with bone cancer do not have any apparent risk factors, research has identified exposure to large doses of ionizing radiation and certain genetic disorders as increasing the risk. Warning signs include pain or swelling in the affected bone, and sometimes a bone cancer presses on nerves leading to numbness, tingling or weakness.

Brain and other central nervous system tumors

In the brain and spinal cord, both malignant and benign tumors pose a threat to the patient’s health because they can press on and destroy normal brain tissue. Annually about 22,850 Americans will be diagnosed with and 15,320 will die from malignant tumors of the brain and spinal cord (the numbers would be higher if benign tumors were included). Risk factors include exposure to radiation (often from radiation therapy to treat another condition), certain genetic disorders and impaired immune systems. Warning signs may include headaches, nausea, seizures, blurred vision, balance problems and changes in personality or behavior.

Esophageal cancer

Cancer of the esophagus, the muscular tube about 12 inches long that connects the throat to the stomach, usually develops in the inner lining of the organ and grows outward. Annually about 16,980 Americans will be diagnosed with and 15,590 will die of the disease, which is three to four times more common among men and usually occurs after age 55. Risk factors include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, the use of tobacco or alcohol and being overweight. No screening is done for this cancer, but patients with Barrett’s esophagus may be checked by endoscopy for signs of cancer.

Kidney cancer

Rates of kidney cancer have been rising since the 1990s, for no clear reasons. Annually about 61,560 Americans will be diagnosed with and 14,080 will die of kidney cancer; it’s more common in men than in women and usually occurs after age 64. Risk factors include smoking, obesity, exposure to some workplace chemicals, high blood pressure, family history and a personal history of kidney disease. Warning signs include blood in the urine, low back pain, a lump on the side, fatigue or loss of appetite, but these symptoms can have many other causes. Often kidney cancer is found incidentally during imaging tests for other illnesses.

Laryngeal cancer

The larynx or voice box contains the vocal cords and helps keep food and fluids from entering the lungs. Cancers of the larynx are about four times more common in men than in women, and these cancers appear more often in African-Americans and whites than in Asians and Latinos. Annually about 13,560 Americans will be diagnosed with and 3,460 will die of laryngeal cancer. Risk factors include tobacco and alcohol use, especially in combination, HPV infection, exposure to some workplace chemicals and certain genetic syndromes. The typical warning sign is hoarseness or other change in the voice that doesn’t improve in two weeks; other signs may include a persistent sore throat, coughing or lump in the neck.

Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of the early blood-forming cells of the bone marrow, and the disease is often described as being acute (fast-growing) or chronic (slow-growing). The main classifications are Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in adults (ALL), Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML) and childhood leukemia. Annually about 54,270 Americans will be diagnosed with and 24,450 will die of leukemia. Risk factors include exposure to high levels of radiation and certain chemicals. Warning signs include fatigue, weight loss, fever and night sweats.

Liver cancer

Liver cancer is seen more often in men than in women, and the disease is much more common in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia than in the U.S. Annually about 35,660 Americans will be diagnosed with and 24,550 will die of this disease. Most cases occur in people with certain risk factors, such as infection with the hepatitis B or C virus, cirrhosis (and the alcohol use associated with it), obesity, smoking and exposure to certain substances. Liver cancer is hard to detect early because warning signs – weight loss, jaundice, abdominal pain – usually don’t appear until the later stages.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

This cancer starts in lymphocytes, white blood cells in the lymph system of the body, and is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. There are many types of Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas, named after English physician Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866), who first identified it. Annually about 71,850 Americans will be diagnosed with and 19,790 will die of non-Hodgkin lymphoma; it occurs more often in Caucasians and people 60 and older. Risk factors include having a weakened immune system, exposure to radiation and exposure to certain chemicals. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is most often diagnosed by a physician (there are no screening tests), and warning signs include a lump that won’t go away.

Oral cancer

Oral cancers include cancers of the mouth and oropharynx (throat). Annually about 39,500 Americans will be diagnosed with and 7,500 will die of these cancers, which are about twice as common in men. Risk factors include tobacco and alcohol use, especially in combination, and HPV infection. Warning signs may begin as patches of tissue that are white, gray or red, or some combination. Often a dentist or dental hygienist is the first to identify oral cancer.

Ovarian cancer

Cancer of the ovaries accounts for about 3 percent of cancers among women but causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Annually about 21,290 American women will be diagnosed with and 14,180 will die of ovarian cancer; incidence increases as a woman gets older. Risk factors include having a baby later in life or not having babies, being overweight, family history of ovarian and other cancers and certain gynecological surgeries and therapies. Warning signs of ovarian cancer include abdominal swelling or pain, having to urinate often, upset stomach, menstrual changes and pain during sex.

Pancreatic cancer

The pancreas is an abdominal organ with two types of glands: Exocrine glands produce enzymes for digestion, and endocrine glands make hormones for the blood. Annually about 48,960 Americans will be diagnosed with and 40,560 will die of pancreatic cancer; it occurs mostly in people 65 and older. Risk factors, although many people with the disease have none, include tobacco use, being overweight, exposure to certain chemicals, diabetes and having a family history. Warning signs may include jaundice, dark urine, light-colored stools or abdominal pain, although these signs are more often associated with other conditions.

Stomach cancer

Stomach cancers tend to develop slowly over many years, usually in the stomach lining, and are more common in men than women. Annually about 15,540 Americans will be diagnosed with and 10,720 will die of stomach cancer. Risk factors include a diet high in nitrates and nitrites, smoking and certain infections and genetic disorders. Unfortunately, early-stage stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms and so is hard to detect early, but warning signs may include poor appetite, abdominal pain and stomach distress.

Thyroid cancer

The thyroid, a gland below the Adam’s apple in the front of the neck, makes hormones to help regulate metabolism. Improved detection methods have made thyroid cancer the most rapidly increasing cancer in the U.S., while the death rate remains low compared with other cancers. Annually about 62,450 Americans will be diagnosed with and 1,950 will die of thyroid cancer, which, like most thyroid diseases, occurs about three times more often in women. Risk factors include exposure to radiation, a diet low in iodine and advanced age. Warning signs are usually a lump or swelling in the neck, found by the patient or by a physician in a routine checkup.

Uterine cancer

The most common type of uterine cancer starts in the inner lining or endometrium of the uterus or womb. Annually about 54,870 American women will be diagnosed with and 10,170 will die from endometrial cancer; incidence increases as a woman gets older. Risk factors include a high-fat diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, family history, hormone imbalances and estrogen therapy. Warning signs of uterine cancer are similar to symptoms associated with other gynecological issues, and typically the disease is identified during a medical visit.