Types of Cancer Made Simple
Although there are hundreds of different types of cancer, malignancies generally fall into five basic categories: carcinomas, sarcomas, myelomas, lymphomas, and leukemias.
The most common cancers are carcinomas . These cancers originate in tissues which either cover surfaces or line internal organs. Carcinomas account for 80 to 90 percent of all cancer cases. Carcinomas are divided into two major subtypes: adenocarcinoma, which develops in an organ or gland, and squamous cell carcinoma, which originates in the epithelium (surface layer of cells), often the skin. Examples of carcinomas include cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, intestine, skin, pancreas, liver, kidneys, and bladder.
There are more than 50 types of sarcomas, belonging to two main classes – bone sarcoma and soft tissue sarcoma. Sarcomas originate in connective tissue, appearing in bones, muscles, fat, cartilage, nerves, tendons, and joints, mostly of the arms or legs. These are considered to be the rarest and most deadly forms of cancer.
Myelomas, also rare, are produced in the plasma cells of bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones. Plasma cells are white blood cells that produce disease-fighting and infection-fighting antibodies. Myeloma cells prevent the normal production of antibodies, leaving the immune system weakened. The multiplication of myeloma cells also interferes with normal production and function of red and white blood cells and can cause bone destruction, leading to bone pain and/or fractures. Because myeloma frequently occurs at many sites in the bone marrow, it is often referred to as multiple myeloma.
Lymphomas are cancers of the white blood cells of the lymphatic system. The two most prevalent types are Hodgkin disease and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The latter group includes common B-cell lymphoma (originating in the B-cells) and the rarer T-cell lymphoma (originating in the T-cells). Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are also classed as indolent or aggressive, depending on how rapidly they are growing.
Leukemias are cancers of the blood. They manifest as overproduction of white blood cells and not as solid tumors. Leukemias originate in the tissues of the bone marrow, spleen, and lymph nodes. There are four main types of leukemia, grouped by how fast the disease gets worse and what kind of white blood cell it affects. While acute leukemia progresses very quickly, chronic leukemia gets worse slowly and may not cause symptoms for years.
Leukemias are further classified as lymphocytic or myelogenous. Lymphocytic leukemia affects white blood cells called lymphocytes. Myelogenous leukemia affects other types of cells like red blood cells or platelets.
From the point of view of conventional oncology, it is very important to confirm the exact diagnosis and identify the specific cell type and cancer stage in order to determine the appropriate treatment protocol. Often much precious time is spent sending specimens to laboratories, receiving conflicting or confusing diagnostic results, and getting several treatment opinions from specialists in one type of cancer or another.
While valuable, this information is not particularly important at BeatCancer.org for three reasons:
- First of all, we don’t diagnose, prescribe or treat. We educate.
- Secondly, we have a host-oriented rather than a tumor-oriented approach. This means that we focus on causes rather than on symptoms and teach our clients how to repair their immunological, nutritional and psychological status so the body can fight the cancer from within.
- Third, we have a patient-driven not a protocol-driven approach. Our coaching is highly individualized for each client. As Sir William Osler, the Father of Modern Medicine, stated: “It is more important to know the patient that has the disease than the disease that has the patient!”