The All Encompassing Cancer Definition

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According to the National Cancer Institute, the most basic Cancer Definition is a disease in which cells divide uncontrollably and invade other tissues of the body. Cancer begins at the cell level and is usually named for the organ of the body it starts in. Cancer Research UK states that over 14 million adults throughout the world were diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Over 8 million deaths occurred from cancer worldwide during the same year. There are more than 100 various kinds of cancer. The following information describes three different types of cancer, the definition of each, symptoms, treatment options, and what it means for cancer to be in remission.

Breast Cancer

The breast cancer definition, as outlined by the American Cancer Society, is a type of malignant cancer that begins in the cells of the breast. The female breast is made up primarily of what are called lobules, which are milk producing glands. There are also milk ducts, fatty tissue, and blood vessels in the breast. Fortunately, most lumps that grow in the breast area are benign or non-cancerous. Most of these benign lumps are caused by cysts or fibrosis.

When understanding the definition of breast cancer it’s also important to know there are different types of cancer in the breast area. These different types are generally classified by where in the breast the cancer originated, the kind of cancer, and how far it has spread. Some of the different kinds of breast cancer include the following.

  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer – This type of breast cancer is a rare, aggressive type of the disease in which the cancer cells are blocking lymph vessels that are in the skin of the breast. The breast may look red and swollen.
  • Ductal Carcinoma – This is a type of cancer that starts in the milk ducts of the breast.
  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma – Approximately 80 percent of all breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinoma. Like ductal carcinoma, it starts in the milk ducts. The cancer has, however, spread to other tissues in the breast.
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer – This type of breast cancer means that the cells in this particular tumor are negative for estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 / neu receptors.
  • Metastic Breast Cancer – This refers to stage 4 breast cancer. In this case the cancer has spread throughout the body. The usual places that the cancer may spread to include the bones, brain, lungs, and liver.

Symptoms of breast cancer can include a change in how the nipple or the breast area feels, a change in the appearance of the breast, or a discharge from the nipple. More specifically, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., states that dimpling, swelling, red scaly patches, lumps, or a change in skin texture could all be signs of breast cancer. It’s important to note that having these signs or symptoms does not necessarily mean that a person has breast cancer.

Treatment for breast cancer can include several different methods or a combination of methods. What type is used will be determined by the doctor and the patient. Some treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy.

Lung Cancer

The lung cancer definition basically means a cancer that begins in the lungs. The definition of lung cancer would also include cancer that started in one or both of the lungs. Medicalnewstoday.com states that primary lung cancer has its start in the lungs, while what is termed secondary lung cancer starts at another place in the body and then metastasizes and moves to the lung area. According to lungcancer.org there are generally two different types of lung cancer and various stages of each.

  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer – This type of lung cancer includes Adenocarcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Large Cell Carcionoma. Approximately 85 percent of all lung cancers are of the non-small cell type.
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer – This type accounts for about 15 percent of lung cancers. It grows rapidly and spreads to other parts of the body earlier than non-small cell lung cancer. It does, however, usually respond better to chemotherapy.

Healthline.com lists several lung cancer symptoms. A cough that lingers for a long period of time is sometimes a symptom of lung cancer. Whether the cough is dry or produces mucus, if it doesn’t go away in a few weeks an individual should see his or her doctor. Changes in breathing, such as shortness of breath, and pains in the shoulder or chest area could also be symptoms of lung cancer. A hoarse voice, a sudden drop in weight, and headaches or other unexplained aches can be symptoms. Sometimes there are not any early symptoms. In about 40 percent of cases, the disease has advanced before a diagnosis has been made.

Treatment for lung cancer depends upon the type of cancer. Treatment options for non-small cell lung cancer is usually different than that for small cell lung cancer. Chemotherapy is often used for small cell lung cancer. Surgery is only an option if it’s known that the cancer has not spread into the lymph glands. Non-small cell lung cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery. Sometimes biological therapy can be used, or a combination of any of the previous treatments. Treatment choices may depend on the stage of the cancer.

Skin Cancer

A skin cancer definition would include the three basic types of skin cancers. The Reliant Medical Group lists the three most basic categories of skin cancer. These include Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Malignant Melanoma.

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma – Basal cell skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer, and fortunately is the most easily cured. The cancer starts in the basal cells, which are at the bottom of the epidermis.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This is the second most common type of skin cancer and is found in the epithelium layer of skin.
  • Malignant Melanoma – This is the most serious of all the skin cancers. This type begins in the melanocytes. These are the cells in the skin that make it tan.

Skin cancer symptoms include a waxy or pearly looking bump on the skin. This is often what basal cell cancer will look like. Squamous cell cancer may look like a red nodule that is firm. It can also be flat with a crusted, scaly surface. Signs of melanoma might include a mole that changes in size, color, or starts bleeding. Dark lesions that appear in various colors on different spots throughout the body are possible signs of melanoma. Spots on the skin that have irregular borders can also be a sign of this type of skin cancer.

There are several treatment options available for skin cancer depending on the type and how advanced the cancer may be. Mohs surgery, excisional surgery, electrosurgery, cryosurgery, laser surgery, radiation, and topical medications are all possible options for treating skin cancer.

Remission from Cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, a cancer remission definition means that after the treatment has ended there is not any sign of cancer. A remission cancer definition would include an understanding of the terms complete remission and partial remission. A complete remission means that cancer can’t be found on X-rays, scans, or in blood work. A partial remission indicates that the treatment destroyed some of the cancer cells but not all. The treatment might have stopped the cancer from growing larger. It might have shrunk it to the point that now other methods such as surgery can completely remove the cancer.

The survival rates for various types of cancers depend on a variety of factors including the stage of cancer an individual has had. Statistically, survival rates are usually based on the previous outcomes of high numbers of people who have had this particular disease. The American Cancer Society reported in 2014 that the 5 year survival rate for stage one breast cancer was 100 percent. Stage two survival rates were recorded at 93 percent, while stage three was 72 percent. Finally, rates for stage four were at 22 percent.

Whatever type of cancer an individual is diagnosed with it is important to become informed of all treatment options and to begin treatment as quickly as possible. It’s also important to have regular screenings to check for various kinds of cancer.

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