Health Topics

Cancers

Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Carcinoma
Malignancy
Neoplasms
Oncology
Tumor

Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don't need them, and old cells don't die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren't cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Most treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some may involve hormone therapy, immunotherapy or other types of biologic therapy, or stem cell transplantation.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Neoplasms
Cancers
Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. ...
Throat Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Hypopharyngeal Cancer
Laryngeal Cancer
Laryngopharyngeal Cancer
Nasopharyngeal Cancer
Oropharyngeal Cancer
Pharyngeal Cancer

Throat cancer is a type of head and neck cancer. Throat cancer has different names, depending on which part of the throat is affected. The different parts of your throat are called the oropharynx, the hypopharynx, the nasopharynx, and the larynx, or voice box.

The main risk factors for throat cancer are using tobacco heavy drinking. Certain types of throat cancer also have other risk factors. For example, having HPV is a risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer.

Symptoms of throat cancer may include

  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • A lump in the neck
  • Pain or ringing in the ears
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Ear pain

To diagnose throat cancers, doctors may do a physical exam and history, imaging tests, and a biopsy. You may also need other tests, depending on the type of cancer. Treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Treatment for some types of throat cancer may also include targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Pharyngeal Neoplasms
Cancers
Ear, Nose and Throat
Throat cancer is a type of head and neck cancer. Throat cancer has different names, depending on which part of the throat is affected. The different parts of ...
Intestinal Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
Small Intestine Cancer
Duodenal cancer
Ileal cancer
Jejunal cancer

Your small intestine is part of your digestive system. It is a long tube that connects your stomach to your large intestine. Intestinal cancer is rare, but eating a high-fat diet or having Crohn's disease, celiac disease, or a history of colonic polyps can increase your risk.

Possible signs of small intestine cancer include

  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss for no reason
  • Blood in the stool
  • A lump in the abdomen

Imaging tests that create pictures of the small intestine and the area around it can help diagnose intestinal cancer and show whether it has spread.

Surgery is the most common treatment. Additional options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Ileal Neoplasms
Jejunal Neoplasms
Duodenal Neoplasms
Cancers
Digestive System
Your small intestine is part of your digestive system. It is a long tube that connects your stomach to your large intestine. Intestinal cancer is rare, but ...
Nasal Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Paranasal Sinus Cancer
Sinus Cancer
Cancer of the nasal cavity
Cancer of the paranasal sinus

Your paranasal sinuses are small hollow spaces around the nose. They are lined with cells that make mucus, which keeps your nose from drying out. The nasal cavity is the passageway just behind your nose. Air passes through it on the way to your throat as you breathe.

Cancer of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses is rare. You are at greater risk if you are

  • Male and over 40 years old
  • Exposed to certain workplace chemicals
  • Infected with HPV
  • A smoker

There may be no symptoms at first, and later symptoms can be like those of infections. Doctors diagnose nasal cancer with imaging tests, lighted tube-like instruments that look inside the nose, and biopsies. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Nose Neoplasms
Cancers
Ear, Nose and Throat
Your paranasal sinuses are small hollow spaces around the nose. They are lined with cells that make mucus, which keeps your nose from drying out. The nasal ...
Cancer--Living with Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Living with Cancer

Cancer is common. Half of all men and a third of women will get a diagnosis of cancer in their lifetime. Many people with cancer do survive. Millions of Americans alive today have a history of cancer.

For most people with cancer, living with the disease is the biggest challenge they have ever faced. It can change your routines, roles and relationships. It can cause money and work problems. The treatment can change the way you feel and look. Learning more about ways you can help yourself may ease some of your concerns. Support from others is important.

All cancer survivors should have follow-up care. Knowing what to expect after cancer treatment can help you and your family make plans, lifestyle changes, and important decisions.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Cancer Survivors
Neoplasms
Cancers
Mental Health and Behavior
Cancer is common. Half of all men and a third of women will get a diagnosis of cancer in their lifetime. Many people with cancer do survive. Millions of Americans ...
Colorectal Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Colon Cancer
Rectal Cancer

The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer occurs when tumors form in the lining of the large intestine. It is common in both men and women. The risk of developing colorectal cancer rises after age 50. You're also more likely to get it if you have colorectal polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, eat a diet high in fat, or smoke.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • A feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Frequent gas pains or cramps, or feeling full or bloated
  • Weight loss with no known reason
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting

Because you may not have symptoms at first, it's important to have screening tests. Everyone over 50 should get screened. Tests include colonoscopy and tests for blood in the stool. Treatments for colorectal cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination. Surgery can usually cure it when it is found early.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Colorectal Neoplasms
Cancers
Digestive System
The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer occurs when tumors form in the lining of the large intestine. It is common in both ...
Lung Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Bronchogenic Carcinoma
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Small Cell Lung Cancer
What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells that line the air passages. It is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.

There are two main types: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. These two types grow differently and are treated differently. Non-small cell lung cancer is the more common type.

Who is at risk for lung cancer?

Lung cancer can affect anyone, but there are certain factors that raise your risk of getting it:

  • Smoking. This is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. Tobacco smoking causes about 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in men and about 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer in women. The earlier in life you start smoking, the longer you smoke, and the more cigarettes you smoke per day, the greater your risk of lung cancer. The risk is also greater if you smoke a lot and drink alcohol every day or take beta carotene supplements. If you have quit smoking, your risk will be lower than if you had kept smoking. But you will still have a higher risk than people who never smoked.
  • Secondhand smoke, which is the combination of smoke that comes from a cigarette and smoke breathed out by a smoker. When you inhale it, you are exposed to the same cancer-causing agents as smokers, although in smaller amounts.
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Being exposed to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, beryllium, nickel, soot, or tar in the workplace
  • Being exposed to radiation, such as from
    • Radiation therapy to the breast or chest
    • Radon in the home or workplace
    • Certain imaging tests such as CT scans
  • HIV infection
  • Air pollution
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

Sometimes lung cancer does not cause any signs or symptoms. It may be found during a chest x-ray done for another condition.

If you do have symptoms, they may include

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • A cough that doesn't go away or gets worse over time
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Blood in sputum (mucus coughed up from the lungs)
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swelling in the face and/or veins in the neck
How is lung cancer diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will ask about your medical history and family history
  • Will do a physical exam
  • Will probably do imaging tests, such as a chest x-ray or chest CT scan
  • May do lab tests, including tests of your blood and sputum
  • May do a biopsy of the lung

If you do have lung cancer, your provider will do other tests to find out how far it has spread through the lungs, lymph nodes, and the rest of the body. This is called staging. Knowing the type and stage of lung cancer you have helps your provider decide what kind of treatment you need.

What are the treatments for lung cancer?

For most patients with lung cancer, current treatments do not cure the cancer.

Your treatment will depend on which type of lung cancer you have, how far it has spread, your overall health, and other factors. You may get more than one type of treatment.

The treatments for small cell lung cancer include

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Laser therapy, which uses a laser beam to kill cancer cells
  • Endoscopic stent placement. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument used to look at tissues inside the body. It may be used to put in a device called a stent. The stent helps to open an airway that has been blocked by abnormal tissue.

The treatments for non-small cell lung cancer include

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy, which uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells
  • Immunotherapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT), which uses a medicine and a certain type of laser light to kill cancer cells
  • Cryosurgery, which uses an instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue
  • Electrocautery, a treatment that uses a probe or needle heated by an electric current to destroy abnormal tissue
Can lung cancer be prevented?

Avoiding the risk factors may help to prevent lung cancer:

  • Quitting smoking. If you don't smoke, don't start.
  • Lower your exposure to hazardous substances at work
  • Lower your exposure to radon. Radon tests can show whether your home has high levels of radon. You can buy a test kit yourself or hire a professional to do the test.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Lung Neoplasms
Cancers
Lungs and Breathing
What is lung cancer? Lung cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells that line the air passages. It is the leading cause ...
Oral Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Mouth Cancer
Tongue Cancer

Oral cancer can form in any part of the mouth. Most oral cancers begin in the flat cells that cover the surfaces of your mouth, tongue, and lips. Anyone can get oral cancer, but the risk is higher if you are male, use tobacco, drink lots of alcohol, have HPV, or have a history of head or neck cancer. Frequent sun exposure is also a risk factor for lip cancer.

Symptoms of oral cancer include

  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • A mouth sore that won't heal
  • Bleeding in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Problems or pain with swallowing
  • A lump in your neck
  • An earache

Tests to diagnose oral cancer include a physical exam, endoscopy, biopsy, and imaging tests. Oral cancer treatments may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Some patients have a combination of treatments.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Mouth Neoplasms
Cancers
Mouth and Teeth
Oral cancer can form in any part of the mouth. Most oral cancers begin in the flat cells that cover the surfaces of your mouth, tongue, and lips. Anyone can ...
Bladder Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Urinary Bladder Cancer

The bladder is a hollow organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Bladder cancer occurs in the lining of the bladder. It is the sixth most common type of cancer in the United States.

Symptoms include

  • Blood in your urine
  • A frequent urge to urinate
  • Pain when you urinate
  • Low back pain

Risk factors for developing bladder cancer include smoking and exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace. People with a family history of bladder cancer or who are older, white, or male have a higher risk.

Treatments for bladder cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biologic therapy. Biologic therapy boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Urinary Bladder Neoplasms
Cancers
Kidneys and Urinary System
The bladder is a hollow organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Bladder cancer occurs in the lining of the bladder. It is the sixth most common type ...
Cancer Alternative Therapies
National Library of Medicine
Alternative Therapy for Cancer

You have many choices to make about your cancer treatment. One choice you might be thinking about is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard care. Examples of CAM therapies are acupuncture, chiropractic, and herbal medicines.

People with cancer may use CAM to

  • Help cope with the side effects of cancer treatments
  • Ease worries of cancer treatment and related stress
  • Feel that they are doing something more to help their own care

CAM treatments do not work for everyone. Some methods, such as acupuncture, might help with nausea, pain and other side effects of cancer treatment. Talk to your doctor to make sure that all aspects of your cancer care work together.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Complementary Therapies
Neoplasms
Cancers
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
You have many choices to make about your cancer treatment. One choice you might be thinking about is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is ...