Types of cancer: definition, risks and how they are classified

Cancer, unfortunately, is a disease that we talk about very often today. According to estimates by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), in 2015, 220,000 new cases were diagnosed in Spain.

The same institution also specifies that the future is alarming, since taking into account the forecasts of the United Nations (UN), it is estimated that in 2020 246,713 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Spain, 97,715 in women and 148,998 in men.

What is cancer?

Our body is made up of millions of billions of cells, which are so small that they can only be seen under a microscope. These cells are grouped together to form the tissues and organs of our body, and among them we find great diversification because they perform different functions. With this supplementation, they cover the vital needs of an organism, such as maintaining body structure, nutrition and breathing.

Cancer occurs when normal cells are turned into carcinogens – that is, they multiply uncontrollably. and invade adjacent organs or tissues.

Types of cancer

Cancer can start in any part of the body and they are named and classified based on different characteristics. But, What types of cancer are there? Here we tell you.

A) Types according to their prognosis (benign or malignant)

Although many people think that the word cancer and the term tumor are the same, they are not. Tumors can be benign or malignant. If the tumor is benign, the cells multiply uncontrollably but without spreading to other parts of the body. The benign tumor usually does not pose a risk to the life of the patient, but if not treated in time, it can turn into a malignant or cancerous tumor.

A malignant tumor or cancer occurs when uncontrolled cells spread to other areas of the body, Which is called metastasis.

B) Type of cancer by origin

Depending on the origin, cancers are given specific names. For example:

  • Breast or breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Kidney cancer

C) According to the type of fabric

The International Classification of Diseases by Oncology (ICD-O) has been in use for almost 25 years and is considered a prognostic and diagnostic tool for coding tumors and cancers.

In view of the third edition of this manual, there are six types of cancer:

1. Carcinoma

It is the most common type of cancer and originates in the epithelial layer of cells.. These cells are those that line the entire surface of the body as well as internal structures and cavities. Carcinomas can occur in different parts of the body, for example, the lung, breast, prostate, and colon.

There are different types of carcinoma:

  • Embryonic carcinoma: It originates in the cells of the testes and ovaries.
  • Carcinoma in situ: Not yet in the initial or extended phase. They are removed by surgery.
  • Carcinoma of unknown origin: Your place of origin is unknown.
  • Invasive carcinoma: It is he who invaded other regions. This is called carcinomatosis.

2. Sarcoma

Sarcoma is a malignant tumor of connective tissue, Which include: muscle, bone, cartilage and fat.

Depending on the origin, there are different subtypes of sarcoma:

  • Osteosarcoma: Bone sarcoma
  • chondrosarcoma: Cartilage sarcoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma: Affects smooth muscles
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma: Impact on skeletal muscles
  • Mesothelioma: Affects the tissue lining the lungs and chest cavity (pleura), abdomen (peritoneum) or sac containing the heart (pericardium)
  • Fibrosarcoma: Affects fibrous tissue
  • Angiosarcoma. has its effect on blood vessels
  • Liposarcoma: Sarcoma that affects fatty or fatty tissue
  • Glioma: It comes from the brain or the spinal cord. It comes from the glial cells
  • Myxosarcoma: Occurs in primitive embryonic connective tissue)

3. Myeloma

Myeloma or multiple myeloma is a cancerous tumor that starts in plasma cells in the spinal cord.. Normal plasma cells are an important part of the immune system because they are made up of several types of cells that work together to fight disease and infection. For example, lymphocytes.

4. Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that affects around 5,000 people each year in Spain. Leukemia occurs when different cells become cancerous affecting the bone marrow. Although it may seem that leukemia and myeloma (explained in the previous point) are the same, in reality they are not.

You may even have more doubts when you hear the name of a type of leukemia called myeloid leukemia. Well, multiple myeloma and myeloid leukemia involve different types of cells. Although cells affected by leukemia are also generated in the bone marrow, they are not plasma cells.

Leukemia can be classified according to different criteria:

  • Based on its history: “De novo”, because there was no previous process; and “secondary”, when there is a previous process (eg, blood disease) that results in leukemia.

  • According to transformation and speed: “Acute leukemia”, if the development is rapid; and “chronic leukemia”, that is, slow progression.

  • According to its place of origin: “Lymphoblastic”, affect lymphocytes; and “myeloblasts” (myeloid or myelocytic), which affect precursor cells of the myeloid or red series, such as red blood cells and platelets.

5. Lymphoma

If there could be any doubt between leukemia and myeloma, the terms lymphoma and leukemia can also be confusing. But leukemia is often called liquid cancer because it affects the blood instead. lymphomas are called solid cancers because they originate in the lymph nodes.

Lymphomas are classified in two ways: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These types of lymphomas are different in behavior, spread, and treatment.

6. Mixed types

These carcinogenic tumors are characterized by the presence of at least two carcinogenic components. They are rare and can be caused by a poor prognosis. Mixed type cancer is, for example, carcinosarcoma, a mixture of carcinoma and sarcoma. That is to say that it is a cancer of the epithelial tissue and at the same time connective, bone, cartilaginous or fatty. However, there are other rare “mixed type cancers” such as mixed mesodermal tumor, adenosquamous carcinoma or teratocarcinoma.

D) Type according to degree

Depending on the degree of development, cancer can be classified into 4 levels. The greater the differentiation or the anomaly and the greater or lesser the speed of evolution, the greater the number of degrees.

The degrees of this classification, proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), “should be considered as degrees of malignancy and not as stages of malignancy, regardless of whether certain grade III or IV tumors result from a malignant transformation of an existing pre-tumor “, according to this institution. Therefore, depending on the degree, the WHO classifies tumors into:

1. Low content or slow evolution

Depending on whether or not they have a circumscribed character

  • Grade I: Slowly evolving and limited limits. Better prognosis than grade II
  • grade II: Slowly evolving but with fuzzy boundaries and imprecise extension. Prognosis lower than grade I

2. High quality and rapid growth

Depending on the evolution of the prognosis and the degree of anomaly.

  • grade III: Anaplastic foci (poorly differentiated or undifferentiated cells) assign the grade III label to an existing tumor, that is to say it was low grade.
  • Grade IV: It is the most serious and undifferentiated cells occupy all or all of the tumor.

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