Neoplasm is an abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. A neoplasm can be benign (not cancer), potentially malignant, or malignant (cancer).
Cancer can result from abnormal proliferation of any of the different kinds of cells in the body, so there are more than a hundred distinct types of cancer, which can vary substantially in their behavior and response to treatment. The most important issue in cancer pathology is the distinction between benign and malignant tumors.
A tumor is any abnormal proliferation of cells, which may be either benign or malignant. A benign tumor, such as a common skin wart, remains confined to its original location, neither invading surrounding normal tissue nor spreading to distant body sites.
A malignant tumor, however, is capable of both invading surrounding normal tissue and spreading throughout the body via the circulatory or lymphatic systems (metastasis). Only malignant tumors are properly referred to as cancers, and it is their ability to invade and metastasize that makes cancer so dangerous.
The major types of cancer are carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma, and leukemia.
Carcinomas are the most common type of cancer. Carcinomas originate in the skin, lungs, breasts, pancreas, and other organs and glands. They are formed by epithelial cells, which are the cells that cover the inside and outside surfaces of the body. There are many types of epithelial cells, which often have a column-like shape when viewed under a microscope. Carcinomas that begin in different epithelial cell types have specific names:
Adenocarcinoma is a cancer that forms in epithelial cells that produce fluids or mucus. Tissues with this type of epithelial cell are sometimes called glandular tissues. Most cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate are adenocarcinomas.
Basal cell carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the lower or basal (base) layer of the epidermis, which is a person’s outer layer of skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a cancer that forms in squamous cells, which are epithelial cells that lie just beneath the outer surface of the skin. Squamous cells also line many other organs, including the stomach, intestines, lungs, bladder, and kidneys. Squamous cells look flat, like fish scales, when viewed under a microscope. Squamous cell carcinomas are sometimes called epidermoid carcinomas.
Transitional cell carcinoma is a cancer that forms in a type of epithelial tissue called transitional epithelium, or urothelium. This tissue, which is made up of many layers of epithelial cells that can get bigger and smaller, is found in the linings of the bladder, ureters, and part of the kidneys (renal pelvis), and a few other organs. Some cancers of the bladder, ureters, and kidneys are transitional cell carcinomas.
Lymphoma is cancer that begins in lymphocytes (T cells or B cells). These are disease-fighting white blood cells that are part of the immune system. In lymphoma, abnormal lymphocytes build up in lymph nodes and lymph vessels, as well as in other organs of the body. There are two main types of lymphoma:
People with this disease have abnormal lymphocytes that are called Reed-Sternberg cells. These cells usually form from B cells.
This is a large group of cancers that start in lymphocytes. The cancers can grow quickly or slowly and can form from B cells or T cells.
Sarcomas are cancers that form in bone and soft tissues, including muscle, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, and fibrous tissue (such as tendons and ligaments). They are relatively uncommon.
Soft tissue sarcoma forms in soft tissues of the body, including muscle, tendons, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, and tissue around joints.
Osteosarcoma is the most common cancer of bone. The most common types of soft tissue sarcoma are leiomyosarcoma, Kaposi sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, liposarcoma, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.
Leukemia is a cancer that begin in the blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow. These cancers do not form solid tumors. Instead, large numbers of abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells and leukemic blast 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.
There are four common types of leukemia, which are grouped based on how quickly the disease gets worse (acute or chronic) and on the type of blood cell the cancer starts in (lymphoblastic or myeloid).
Melanoma is cancer that begins in cells that become melanocytes, which are specialized cells that make melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color). Most melanomas form on the skin, but melanomas can also form in other pigmented tissues, such as the eye.
US National Cancer Institute provides comprehensive information of types of cancers, conventional treatment, causes and prevention, screening, and the latest research
According to World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. The most common causes of cancer death are cancers of:
- Lung (1 690 000 deaths)
- Liver (788 000 deaths)
- Colorectal (774 000 deaths)
- Stomach (754 000 deaths)
- Breast (571 000 deaths)
The most common types of cancer that kill men are: lung, liver, stomach, colorectal and prostate cancers.
The most common types of cancer that kill women are: breast, lung, colorectal, cervical and stomach cancers.
Cancer arises from the transformation of normal cells into tumour cells in a multistage process that generally progresses from a pre-cancerous lesion to a malignant tumour. These changes are the result of the interaction between a person's genetic factors and 3 categories of external agents, including:
- physical carcinogens, such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation;
- chemical carcinogens, such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant), and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant); and
- biological carcinogens, such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria, or parasites.
Ageing is another fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a build-up of risks for specific cancers that increase with age. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanisms to be less effective as a person grows older.
According to Cancer Research UK, cancer incidence rates projected to increase from 2012 till 2030 as much as 68% worldwide.
But we have always to remember, that between 30-50% of cancers are preventable.
International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10):
C00-C97 Malignant neoplasms
D00-D09 In situ neoplasms
D10-D36 Benign neoplasms
D37-D48 Neoplasms of uncertain or unknown behaviour
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