Different Types of Cancer and Their Treatments

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Different Types of Cancer and Their Treatments

All living things are made up of cells. They are the smallest things that are capable of basic life-they take in nutrients when needed, they put out waste and they reproduce. Cells divide (reproduce) at least once during their life, sometimes dozens of times. Organisms rely on this, this is how they grow or repair themselves when they are damaged. A normal body has around 30 trillion cells.

Permanent gene mutations are what cause cells to malfunction. When this happens several times to the same cell it can become cancerous. This can take many years in some cases. A cancerous cell reproduces at different rates, but eventually they overcrowd the normal cells and turn into a tumor.

There are two types of tumors, benign and malignant. A benign tumor does not spread to other parts of the body, it stays in one place. Benign tumors are not dangerous and do not need to be removed, but if you would like to have it removed for appearance purposes or if it is uncomfortable it can be surgically removed very easily. A malignant tumor is a tumor that can spread to other parts of the body which makes them very dangerous.

There are many different kinds of cancer and they all react differently to different types of treatments. Cancer cells can break away from a tumor and spread to other parts of the body. They usually spread through the blood or lymph systems. When this happens it is called metastasis. It doesn’t matter where the cancer spreads to; it is still named after the part of the body where it started. For example if the cancer started in the breast and then spread to the lymphatic system it is defined as metastastic breast cancer. A recurrence is when the cancer returns after someone has had treatments and appeared to be cancer free.

Cancer can take years to develop so it is usually a few things that contribute to it. Scientists are not exactly sure what causes cancer but there have been studies that show that some people are more prone than others to develop it. One million people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer every year. In the United States 163 out of every 100,000 men develop cancer, and 110 out of every 100,000 women develop it.1 People of all ages develop cancer but it is more common in people 50 years old or older. Although we are not quite sure what causes cancer studies have...

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...nt for lymphoma, because it so easily spreads throughout the body. Sometimes radiation therapy is used after chemotherapy to help prevent relapses.

Several recent discoveries have improved treatment for lymphoma. These include, antibody therapy, which monoclonal antibodies are used to destroy lymphoma cells without as much damage to the normal cells. There is also a vaccine therapy, which helps stimulate the patients immune system to help fight off lymphatic cancer. These treatments are still experimental and very expensive. In patients who have reoccurring lymphoma, higher doses of chemotherapy or radiation may be necessary in an attempt to kill the cancerous cells. These treatments also destroy the blood producing cells in the patient’s bone marrow. This sometimes requires a bone marrow transplant.


1. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2001


3. Prostate Cancer written by David G. Bostwick M.D. Published by Villard Books in 1996.

4. Colorectal Cancer written by Bernard Levin M.D. Published by Villard Books in 1996 Call #: NF 616.99

5. Women and Cancer written by Carolyn D. Runowicz M.D. Published by Villard Books in 1999.
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