Cancer – Types, Causes, Treatment, Symptoms & Signs, Clinical Tests

Do you know? Cancer is the world’s second-largest cause of death after cardiovascular disease. For awareness, the 4th of February every year is celebrated as World Cancer Day.

And we are trying to give you detailed information on the cancer disease. We try to present all the reliable information related to cancer such as its types, symptoms, clinical tests, treatment along with general FAQ questions.

So let’s continue with the introduction.

What is Cancer Disease?

What is Cancer Disease?

Cancer is nothing but a group of diseases in which cells automatically grow uncontrollably, and attacks or spread to their neighboring cells of the body. Malignant tumors and  Malignant neoplasm are the other names of this deadly disease.

As stated earlier, it is the world’s second-leading death-causing disease after cardiovascular disease. However, the main reason for the cause of cancer death is tobacco, as about 22% of the cancer patient had died from mouth and lung cancer.

In addition, 10% is due to obesity, improper diet, lack of physical activity, or other substance abuse such as excessive drinking.

Moreover, infections such as Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human papillomavirus, Barr virus, and HIV account for 15% of cancers. And about 5% to10% have cancer due to inherited genetic defects.

Note: The World Health Organisation (WHO) also stated that one in 5 men and one in 6 women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime. However, one in 8 men and one in 11 women die from this disease.

We have done with the introduction, now let’s discuss its types.

Types of Cancer

There are more than 100 types of cancer, but in this post, we discuss the top seven types of deadly cancer.

  1. Skin Cancer
  2. Lung Cancer
  3. Breast Cancer
  4. Bladder Cancer
  5. Kidney Cancer
  6. Blood Cancer
  7. Mouth Cancer

1. Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer

It is one of the most serious chronic diseases. Skin cancer (non-melanoma) refers to all the types of cancers which are developed slowly in the upper layer of the skin. The term non-melanoma itself is a broader term that includes several types of skin cancers. 

More than 1 million people in the world are affected by various forms of skin cancers. However, skin cancer generally develops in individuals who have a low immune system response.

Types of Skin Cancers (Non-Melanoma)

The following are common types of skin cancers (Non-melanoma);

A. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): Basal Cell Carcinoma occurs in basal cells — a type of cell inside the skin that produces new skin cells when old cells die. It chiefly appears on the head, face, and neck region of the body.

B. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): They are generally caused by the absorption of sun’s UV rays and eventually found in areas where the body was damaged by sunlight UV rays.

Symptoms of Skin Cancers (Non-melanoma)

While talking about symptoms, both BCC and SCC have almost the same symptoms, which includes:

  • Rough or scaly red patches with irregular borders.
  • Pale white or yellow flat areas look like scars.
  • Small, and shiny lumps that are pearly white, pink, or red.
  • Raised lumps that indent in the center.
  • A growth that has small blood vessels on the surface.

Test For Skin Cancers

In order to verify whether you are suffering from non-melanoma or not, your consultant may consider a biopsy. Medically, a biopsy is a technique in which a small amount of tissue is removed for microscopic examination.

So, with the biopsy test, a doctor can check whether the suspected person is suffering from skin cancer or not.

2. Lung Cancer

Conversely, in this, infected cells start to grow uninterruptedly in the lung region which furthers causes the development of tumors (often with tar). Moreover, these tumors damage healthy tissues and reduce the person’s ability to breathe.

The main cause of lung cancer is the breathing of intoxicated products such as tobacco.

Types of Lung Cancers

There are particularly two main types of lung cancer:

  • Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)
A. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

These subtypes of NSCLC are grouped together because their treatment and symptoms are similar. The NSCLC is further divided into three categories, which are

1. Adenocarcinoma: It usually starts in the cells that would normally secrete substances such as mucus. But, this type of lung cancer occurs largely in current or former smokers.

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma: It begins in squamous cells, which are flat cells that are inside the airways of the lungs. They usually occur consequently in the central part of the lungs near the main airway called bronchus.

3. Large Cell Carcinoma: It appears in any part of the lung. It grows and spreads quickly and harder to treat. A subtype of Large Cell Carcinoma— large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma which is similar to SCLC.

B. Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

Sometimes, Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) is also known as oat cell cancer and about 10% to 15% of lung cancers are from SCLC. It grows and spreads faster than NSCLC.

Symptoms of Lung Cancers (NSCLC & SCLC)

  • Persistent cough
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness— abnormal voice change
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Coughing with blood 
  • Shortness of breath

Test for Lung Cancers

There are various tests that can be used to determine cancerous lungs.

1. Bronchoscopy: In this test, a sample of tissue is taken through a small tube that is placed into the lungs.

2. Thoracentesis: The doctor places a needle in the area between your lung and chest wall to drain fluid.

3. Needle Biopsy: The doctor dehydrates the skin and makes use of a needle to extract a tissue sample.

4. Chest X-Ray. It uses a low-dose radiation pulse to take pictures of your lungs.

All around the world, Lung cancer kills nearly 160,000 lives annually. And about 85% of lung cancers are from NSCLC.

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3. Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

It is a disease in which cancerous cells grow abnormally in the region of the breast and these growing cells eventually form a tumor that can be easily be seen on an x-ray. 

It occurs commonly in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.

Types of Breast Cancers

There are various types of breast cancers that certainly depend on the type of infected cells. The following are the different types of breast cancers:

  1. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)— the cancerous cell that began growing in the milk duct.
  2. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)— the cancerous begins in the milk-producing glands (lobules).
  3. Inflammatory Breast Cancer— makes the breast red, swollen, and tender.

Symptoms of Breast Cancers

  • New lumps in the breast 
  • Abnormal thickening of the part of the breast.
  • Irritation of breast skin.
  • Redness in the breast.
  • Pain in the nipple area.

Test for Breast Cancers

  • Breast examination
  • Mammogram: A mammogram is an x-ray image of the breast. It may be used to check cancerous breast in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease.
  • Breast Ultrasound
  • Sample of breast cells for testing (biopsy)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

In 2019, total reported cases of breast cancer include 268,600 women and 2,670 cases of men. 

4. Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer

In general, a bladder is a hollow, flexible pouch that stores urine which is connected to the kidney through a tube called ureters. So, due to cancerous cell growth in the region of the bladder, it causes blockage and pain during urination. In addition, with time, it spread to nearby lymph and other lower parts of the body. 

Types of Bladder Cancers

There are three main types of bladder cancers, notably are:

  • Urothelial Carcinoma— most common— cancers start in the urothelial cells.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma— rare
  • Adenocarcinoma— arising from the urothelial lining

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

These are the following symptoms of the cancerous bladder:

  • Urination is often than usual.
  • The color of the urine changes.
  • Pain during urination.
  • Feeling of pee, even if your bladder is not full.
  • Many times one can’t pee.

Test For Bladder Cancers

To detect cancerous bladder, the doctor may prescribe the following tests.

1. Cystoscopy:  In this test, the doctor inserts a small, narrow tube through the urethra to examine the inner lining structure. 

2. Biopsy: During the cystoscopy, the doctor passes a special instrument into the bladder to collect a sample for further testing. 

3. Urine Cytology: A sample of your urine is analyzed under a microscope for cancer cells.

4. Imaging Tests: Computerized Tomography (CT) urogram or retrograde pyelogram, are the instruments used by the doctor or consultant to examine the urinary tract.

According to the stats of the American Cancer Society in the United States for 2020, there are about 62,100 in men and 19,300 in women that chiefly have bladder cancers. Certainly, around 17,980 deaths are from bladder cancer which includes 13,050 in men and 4,930 in women.

5. Kidney Cancer

Kidney Cancer

The kidneys help to excrete waste from the body in the form of urine. But due to some reason, when the working of the kidney abrupted, it may due to two main reasons; one is kidney stones and other kidney cancer.

Similarly, like other, kidney cancer is the development of cancerous cells in the kidney.

Types of Kidney Cancers

The following are the types of kidney cancers;

  • Renal cell carcinoma— cancers cell in the lining of the proximal convoluted tubule
  • Wilms tumor— primarily seen in children
  • Lymphoma— infection-fighting cells of the immune system

Symptoms of Kidney Cancers

These are the following symptoms of cancerous kidney cells.

  • Blood in your urine
  • A lump in your side or abdomen
  • A loss of appetite
  • Pain in your kidney side that doesn’t go away
  • Weight loss that occurs for no known reason
  • Fever that lasts for weeks not caused by any cold or any other infection
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Anemia

Test For Kidney Cancers

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Imaging tests
  • Removing a sample of kidney tissue (biopsy)

As per the American Cancer Society, there are 73,750 new cases of kidney cancer which include 45,520 in men, and 28,230 in women. And among all 14,830 death are reported.

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6. Blood Cancer

Blood Cancers

It occurs when cancerous blood cells grow automatically at an uncontrollable amount which disturbs the normal functioning of the blood cells. Most blood cancers are also called hematological cancers which start from the bone marrow. 

Types of Blood Cancers

There are particularly three main types of blood cancers which are listed—

1. Leukemia: Leukemia is a category of blood cancers that typically arises due to dysfunction of the bone marrow that produces abnormal blood cells. Leukemia is one of the blood cancers that apparently doesn’t pose any symptoms. In short, Leukemia is a slow-growing type of cancer that can be chronic.

2. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: In this type, cancers cells develop from special cells— lymphocytes which is a type of white blood cell that helps the body to fight infections.

3. Hodgkin Lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma is identified by the presence of an abnormal lymphocyte— the Reed-Sternberg cell.

4. Multiple Myeloma: Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that begins in the plasma cells of the blood— a type of white blood cell produced in the bone marrow.

Symptoms of Blood Cancers

Following are the common blood cancers symptoms:

  • Fever and chills
  • Persistent fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of appetite and nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent infections
  • Itchy skin or skin rash
  • lymph nodes all around the neck and underarms

Test for Blood Cancers

These are the test that doctors use for the diagnosis of the patient for blood cancers.

  • Blood Tests
  • Understanding Blood Counts
  • Bone Marrow Tests
  • Imaging Tests
  • Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Lumbar Puncture
  • Urine Test

According to the estimation of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, it causes a total of 176,200 cases in the US.

7. Mouth Cancer

Mouth Cancers

It refers to cancerous cells that develop in any of the parts of the mouth. It is fairly common in Asian countries, and it is mostly found in lips, gums, and tongue region.

Types of Mouth Cancers

1. Squamous Cell Carcinoma:  Squamous cell carcinoma develops only when squamous cells grow abnormally. And approximately more than 90% of mouth cancers are due to squamous cell carcinomas.

2. Verrucous Carcinoma: In this type of cancer, it unusually spreads to other parts of the body, like throat and food-pipe.

3. Minor Salivary Gland Carcinomas: This disease includes several types of oral cancer that may develop on the minor salivary glands. These are some of the types of minor salivary gland carcinomas:

  • Cystic carcinoma
  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma 
  • Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma.

4. Lymphoma: It usually develops in the lymph tissue of the mouth which is usually found in the immune system. 

5. Benign Oral Cavity Tumors: There are several types of non-cancerous tumors or tumor-like conditions that may develop in the oral cavity and oropharynx. And sometimes, these conditions may lead to cancers.

Symptoms of Mouth Cancers

The following are the symptoms of mouth cancer that include:

  • A sore and a lump on your lip or in your mouth.
  • Red or white patches usually found on the gums, tongue, or lining of your mouth.
  • Abnormal bleeding along with pain in your mouth
  • A feeling of something caught in the throat.
  • Numbness in some mouth or tongue region.
  • Trouble in chewing or in swallowing.

Test For Mouth cancers

There are various tests to determine mouth cancer. But some of the tests are listed below:

  • Positron emission tomography (PET) 
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan
  • Barium swallow/modified barium swallow
  • HPV testing
  • Endoscopy

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Summary 

At last, cancer is not a single disease, it is a group of diseases that are characterized according to their ability to cause cells to change abnormally without having any control over it.

However, most types of cancers can form a tumor. Cells from a tumor may break and move to other parts of the body, where they can easily settle or multiply. This spreading process is called metastasis.

In addition, not all tumors are cancerous, some are harmless and some are not life-threatening and few cancers don’t form lumps, such as those that affect the blood, such as leukemia.

So, from now, you get an overview of the major types of cancer along with their clinical tests and symptoms.

At last, we also deduce the general FAQ section for you. Please have a look.

General FAQ

What are the main causes of Kidney cancer?

Ans. The exact cause of kidney cancer is unknown. But one element is the same in all types of cancers are, they replicated uncontrollably. Other causes such as smoking tobacco and obesity are strongly linked with this.

Can kidney cancer be identified from blood tests?

Ans. There is no blood test to diagnose kidney cancer. But a full blood count (CBC) and other blood tests can evaluate the sign of other kidney diseases such as creatinine-based kidney disease.

What is the first sign of blood cancers?

Ans. There is no definite first sign for blood cancer. And majorly, it doesn’t show a sign until the patient feels weak along with fever, chills, continuous pain, appetite loss, and nausea.

What is the main cause of bladder cancer?

Ans. Causes of bladder cancers include smoking tobacco, chronic irritation of the lining of the bladder, and any past radiation exposure.

Does caffeine cause bladder cancer?

Ans. Some reports concluded that too much coffee consumption increases the risk of urinary tract cancer by 20%.

Can you die from Stage 1 breast cancer?

Ans. Stage 1 tumors are the early stage of real breast cancer and are 100% curable with surgery since the cells are completely paralyzed.

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