Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. These abnormal cells are termed cancer cells, malignant cells, or tumor cells. These cells can infiltrate normal body tissues. Many cancers and the abnormal cells that compose the cancer tissue are further identified by the name of the tissue that the abnormal cells originated from (for example, breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer). Cancer is not confined to humans; animals and other living organisms can get cancer.
Types Of Cancer
There are over 200 types of cancer; far too numerous to include in this introductory article. However, the NCI lists several general categories. This list is expanded below to list more specific types of cancers found in each general category; it is not all inclusive and the cancers listed in quotes are the general names of some cancers
Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs — “skin, lung, colon, pancreatic, ovarian cancers,” epithelial, squamous and basal cell carcinomas, melanomas, papillomas, and adenomas
Cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue — “bone, soft tissue cancers,” osteosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, liposarcoma, angiosarcoma, rhabdosarcoma, and fibrosarcoma
Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood — “leukemia,” lymphoblastic leukemias (ALL and CLL), myelogenous leukemias (AML and CML), T-cell leukemia, and hairy-cell leukemia
4. Lymphoma And Myeloma
Cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system — “lymphoma,” T-cell lymphomas, B-cell lymphomas, Hodgkin lymphomas, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and lymphoproliferative lymphomas
5. Central Nervous System Cancers
Cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord — “brain and spinal cord tumors,” gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, primary CNS lymphomas, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors
6. Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is cancer that begins in plasma cells, another type of immune cell. The abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, build up in the bone marrow and form tumors in bones all through the body. Multiple myeloma is also called plasma cell myeloma and Kahler disease.
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.