How Many Types of Cancer are There?

A medical professional examines a chest X-ray for indications of cancer.
Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables every day can help to lower an individual's chances of developing cancer.
Samples of blood from a healthy person and from one with leukemia, a type of blood cancer.
Checking for lumps or swelling can help a person detect cancer.
Article Details
  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
External Resources

In all, there are around 200 different types of cancer that can affect the human body. A large percentage of people will be affected by some form of cancer or other in their lifetime. Some types are more serious than others, some cancers can be treated more easily than others, and the survival rate varies among types.

There are two general categories of cancer. Carcinomas are cancers that develop on the surface linings of the organs. Sarcinomas are cancers that develop in the cells, and they affect solid tissues such as muscle and bone. They can also develop in the blood vessels.

The human body is made up of tiny cells, each of which contains genes. Proteins inside these genes regulate the division and multiplication of the cells. If a gene becomes damaged, the cells can continually grow and divide without stopping. If too many of these damaged cells form together, they can grow into a tumor.

Tumors can either be malignant or benign. Malignant tumors are the serious cancers because they can multiply and spread throughout the body's tissues and organs. Not all types of cancer form tumors, however, and cancers of the blood, such as leukemia, attack other areas of the body through the bloodstream.

Ad

Many of the causes of certain cancers are known. Contributing factors to cell damage include smoking, high exposure to the sun and an unhealthy diet. It has been proven that many types of cancer, such as breast cancer, are hereditary. There are also links between cancer and obesity or a lack of exercise.

The symptoms of cancer vary according to the form of the disease, although different types usually have a few common symptoms. These may include weight loss, lethargy, and strange lumps or swellings. Cancer may also produce night sweats, fever and anemia. These symptoms can all be caused by other illnesses, so it is important for people who experience them to consult a medical professional as early as possible.

The form of cancer treatment chosen will depend on how advanced the cancer is and the type of cancer present. There are three main types of cancer treatment: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Surgery is used to remove solid tumors, and it is commonly used in the early stages of cancer. Chemotherapy is a type of medication used to shrink tumors or kill cancerous cells. Radiotherapy consists of using radiation from x-rays to destroy cancerous cells. All three treatments have a higher success rate in reducing or killing cancer if the disease is caught early.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

anon281591
Post 7

I love my mom. She is going through a difficult stage in her life: she was diagnosed with cancer.

If you read this and you or your family member has cancer, be always positive. That's the best remedy. I am 17 and I don't let my mom's disability bring me down, I try harder to make her happy. See the bright side of everything, and enjoy life to the fullest.

anon280501
Post 6

First, I think about those who have cancer and how hard it must be to have cancer. We should be aware of the cancers. It shocked me that there are more than 200 types of cancer.

anon256693
Post 5

My only question and concern is why there is no blood test or good screening for 95 percent of cancer? Why can't scientists find out what should be normal blood work and what could be possible reasons to have concerns?

Most cancer stories I know their blood work was always normal. Why? Why can doctors not find out something right away? There are so many questions.

GraniteChief
Post 4

This clouding of motivation and reasoning behind helping cancer movements that @summertime is speaking of is very concerning.

Like most fund raising efforts there are often misguided and even criminal intentions behind them. Crooks and criminals realize that there is a certain degree of empathy that people have for sufferers of cancer and will take advantage of the generous donations that people are willing to give.

With so many types of cancer afflicting people today it is hard to keep track of individual organizations and exactly how they use the money that you donate.

I wish some sort of national system could be setup to help regulate fund raising efforts.

summertime
Post 3

One thing that concerns me about the many types of cancer that exist in the world is that some of the more rare forms can be forgotten about because of publicity for the major types. This means that if you become afflicted with some out of the ordinary cancer type, the likelihood of our science movements working on it are quite diminished.

Just as JeanCastle00 has pointed out, there are many types of fundraisers for major cancer types such as breast cancer but other types that are more rare get ignored.

Mesothelioma is actually on type of rare cancer that has gotten a lot of attention but not necessarily in a good way. Usually public information and any kind of publicity is good for a cause but most peoples thoughts of Mesothelioma include cheap and corny infomercials about the use of Asbestos and its affect on workers lungs. This form of Asbestos exposure can lead to Mesothelioma and has brought the situation to light.

Unfortunately the reason that you find these commercials on television about this form of rare cancer is because lawyers are trying to profit off of the settlement claims against companies that have been held responsible for Asbestos use.

Please don't misunderstand my statement in that I do think it is great that these victims of this unfortunate caner are getting the compensation that they deserve, even if no monetary amount can ever recover their health or compare to having a healthy life.

jeancastle00
Post 2

I think some hope can be found in the incredible effort that is put forth by the victims and the families of victims toward finding the cures and answers that we need from this mysterious epidemic.

Many forms of fund raising and monetary help for cancer research can be found at any given time in almost any region of the country. Organizations and events like Discovery Stores, Relay for Life, and even car races are used to support the efforts of fighting off cancer.

With so many types of cancer out there it is hard to focus but luckily our society has come to realize that the challenge of this disease must be faced and many localized efforts for specific forms of cancer can be found.

There is a desert race in Southern California that is held with the sole purpose of trying to raise awareness and monetary support for breast cancer victims and research. The usual ranks of male race drivers are replaced with female counterparts and the race draws quite a bit of attention with the use of motto's like, "Save the Ta-Ta's."

I can only imagine the pain and strife in life that having breast cancer would mean.

FrogFriend
Post 1

I think the most daunting thing about cancer is the far reach and ever invasive effect it has on almost everyone's life. If you were to ask a room full of people if they had cancer affect anyone in their life you would quickly find a room full of people with heart felt stories of discouragement and disease.

These sometimes unexplainable ailments that we call cancer eat away at our society and bring the reality of our Earth to the front of our attention.

One of the most discouraging things about the entire situation is how much money every year is spent on cancer and yet there are still no cures for a majority of the ailments. While some progress has been made into vaccines and treatments, many of our friends, family and coworkers suffer from this horrible disease.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email