Know Cancer

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  • Types of Tumors

    The term tumor has a Latin progenitor of the same spelling. In Latin, tumor literally means swelling. In contemporary usage, the word is used to identify a structure caused by abnormal tissue growth. Cells that invoke abnormal tissue growth are called neoplastic cells.

    The word “neoplasm” is an accepted synonym of “tumor” even though certain neoplasms are non-tumorous. Leukemia is an example of neoplasia that does not form a distinct mass (tumor).

    Cancer is not a synonym of tumor. By definition, cancers invade into adjacent tissues; destroy adjacent tissues by pressing against them; or they spread to other structures in the body (metastasis). Many cancers are tumorous, but not all tumors are cancerous.

    Risk Factors

    A balance of cell growth and cell death is essential to the good health of tissues in the body. When this balance is upset, a tumor may form.

    Common tumor risk factors include:

    Tobacco Use: Tobacco causes more cancer deaths than any other environmental stimuli.
    Chemical Exposure: Many chemicals used in the agriculture, adhesive, electric, and textile industries have been shown to cause tumors. You should always be aware of hazardous chemicals in your workplace or home.
    Alcohol Abuse: Excessive alcohol consumption may lead to the development of a tumor.
    Genetic Anomalies: Certain inherited disorders may predispose you to tumor development.
    Obesity: Obesity is a common risk factor for most forms of cancer. Furthermore, a tumor will generally affect an obese person more seriously than a person of normal weight.
    Radiation Exposure: Working in the medical or electrical industries may increase your radiation exposure risk. Recipients of radiation tumor treatments are also exposed to ionizing radiation that may lead to additional tumor development.
    Sedentary Lifestyle: Regular exercise and a balanced diet will help maintain good overall health and prevent tumor development.

    Symptoms of Tumors

    The symptoms of a tumor depend on its size, location, type, and the overall health of the patient. For example, tumors of the gastrointestinal tract may cause diarrhea, constipation, anemia, blood in the stool, and weight loss.

    Common tumor symptoms include:

    Fever: Elevated body temperature.
    Chills: A cold sensation, often resulting in the “shivers”.
    Night Sweats
    Weight Loss
    Malaise: A general feeling of illness or discomfort.
    Loss of Appetite

    Many tumors are asymptomatic. This means that they produces no symptoms or features that the patient is able to recognize. Generally, asymptomatic tumors are discovered during unrelated examinations.


    Tumor treatment also depends on the tumor’s size, location, type, and the overall health of the patient. Benign tumors that are asymptomatic sometimes require no treatment at all.
    Many benign tumors must be removed because of their close proximity to sensitive structures in the body. For example, benign tumors in the brain are almost always removed to avoid the migraines and/or cognitive abnormalities. Benign lung tumors are often removed because they can cause a shortness of breath.

    Common tumor treatment options include:

    Surgical Resection: The removal of the tumor through surgical procedures.
    Chemotherapy: The use of chemicals to kill tumorous cells. In most cases, the term “chemical” is in reference to a variety of anti-cancer drugs.
    Radiation: The medical use of ionizing radiation kills tumorous cells by damaging their cellular DNA.
    Combination Treatment: This may include, for example, the employment of chemotherapy and radiation to treat a tumor.

    When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider

    Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any suspicious lumps, bumps, or lesions on your body. A noticeable change in the appearance of a mole also justifies immediate medical attention.

    Tumor Types

    Learn more about a variety of tumor types. Examine the signs and symtpoms, risk factors, diagnosis and staging procedures, treatment options, and outlooks (prognoses) of the following tumors:

    • Brenner Tumor
    • Bladder Tumor
    • Bone Tumor
    • Breast Tumor
    • Germ Cell Tumor
    • Gestational Trophoblastic Tumor
    • Glomus Tumor
    • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor
    • Kidney Tumor
    • Liver Tumor
    • Malignant Tumor
    • Medulloblastoma
    • Ovarian Tumor
    • Pheochromocytoma
    • Pineal Astrocytoma
    • Pineal Germinoma
    • Pituitary Adenoma
    • Sertoli-Leydig Cell Tumor
    • Sex Cord-Stromal Tumor
    • Thymoma
    • Trophoblastic tumor
    • Uterine Sarcoma
    • Warthins Tumor
    • Wilms tumor
    • Yolk sac tumor