Winning the battle against cancer starts with knowledge. At MacNeal Hospital, we strive to stay up-to-date on the latest cancer diseases and conditions — and to share that information with you.
We provide information below on common cancer conditions that we may treat at our advanced cancer centers. For more information about your symptoms, please contact one of our physicians to assist with a diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan.
The adrenals are small glands that sit above each kidney which are responsible for the release of adrenaline. Most adrenal cortex tumors, called adenomas, are benign (non-cancerous); only rarely are they malignant (cancerous).
The anus is the opening at the lower end of the intestines through which digested solids are excreted. Anal cancer is when malignant cells form within and spread from this area.
BILE DUCT CANCER
Bile duct cancer starts in one of the bile ducts, which are a series of thin tubes that reach from the liver to the small intestine. The major function of the bile ducts is to move bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine, where it helps digest the fats in food.
Bladder cancer develops within the cells of the bladder, a hollow organ in the pelvis with flexible, muscular walls. The bladder’s main function is to store urine before it leaves the body.
Bone is the supporting framework of our bodies. Usually bone cancer is cancer that has spread to the bones from somewhere else.
BRAIN/CNS TUMORS IN ADULTS
Brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumors are masses of abnormal cells in the brain or spinal cord that have grown out of control. These tumors are concerning because they spread readily and even benign tumors can, as they grow, press on and destroy normal brain and nervous tissue.
Due to the various tissues found in the breast, there are many categories of breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, invasive lobular carcinoma, medullary carcinoma, and Paget disease of the nipple.
BREAST CANCER IN MEN
A breast cancer is a group of abnormal cells in the breast that may invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. Breast cancer occurs mainly in women, but can affect men as well.
Castleman disease (CD), also known as giant lymph node hyperplasia and angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia (AFH), is a rare disease of lymph nodes and related tissues. It is not a cancer but a lymphoproliferative disorder, which means there is an abnormal overgrowth of cells of the lymph system that is similar to cancers of lymph nodes.
When the normal cells of a woman’s cervix change into pre-cancer cells, they can then turn into cancer cells. These changes can be detected with regular screenings.
Colorectal cancer is a term used for cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum, which comprise the final section of the lower intestine. These cancers can also be referred to separately as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start.
Endometrial cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus.
The esophagus is the hollow, muscular tube that brings food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. Cancer of the esophagus (also referred to as esophageal cancer) starts in the inner layer (the mucosa) and grows outward (through the submucosa and the muscle layer). Because two types of cells can line the esophagus, there are two main types of esophageal cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.
EWING FAMILY OF TUMORS
The Ewing family of tumors is a group of cancers that start in the bones or nearby soft tissues. These tumors can develop at any age, but they are most common in the early teen years.
Two types of cancer can be found in the eye. Primary intraocular cancer starts inside the eyeball, while secondary intraocular cancer starts somewhere else in the body and then spreads to the eye.
Gallbladder cancer starts in the gallbladder, an organ that stores bile that aids in digesting fats. About 9 out of 10 gallbladder cancers are adenocarcinomas which means they start in gland-like cells that line many internal and external surfaces of the body.
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a cancer that starts in the stomach, where food and gastric juices are mixed to form a thick fluid before entering the small intestine to be broken down for nutrients to be absorbed.
GASTROINTESTINAL CARCINOID TUMORS
Carcinoid tumors start in cells of the diffuse neuroendocrine system, which consists of cells that are like nerves in some ways and like hormone-producing endocrine cells in other ways. They are scattered throughout the body in organs like the stomach, intestines, appendix, rectum and lungs.
GASTROINTESTINAL STROMAL TUMOR
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are uncommon tumors of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These tumors start in cells found in the wall of the GI tract, called the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs), which signal the muscles in the digestive system to contract and move food and liquid.
GESTATIONAL TROPHOBLASTIC DISEASE
Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a group of rare tumors that involve abnormal growth of the cells that would normally develop into the placenta inside a woman’s uterus during pregnancy.
Hodgkin disease (Hodgkin lymphoma) is a type of lymphoma, a cancer that starts in white blood cells, called lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system.
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a cancer that develops from the cells that line lymph or blood vessels. It usually appears as tumors on the skin or on mucosal surfaces such as inside the mouth, but tumors can also develop in other parts of the body, such as in the lymph nodes, lungs or digestive tract.
Kidney cancer is a cancer that starts in the kidneys. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), also known as renal cell cancer or renal cell adenocarcinoma, is by far the most common type of kidney cancer. About 9 out of 10 kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas.
LARYNGEAL & HYPOPHARYNGEAL CANCER
These cancers start in the lower part of the throat. Cancers that start in the larynx are called laryngeal cancers. Cancers that start in the hypopharynx are called hypopharyngeal cancers.
LEUKEMIA (ADULT AND CHILDHOOD)
Leukemia is a cancer of the early blood-forming cells. Most often, leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, but it may start in other blood cell types as well. Leukemia is often described as being either acute (fast growing) or chronic (slow growing).
The liver is the largest internal organ in your body and is responsible for the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, the production of clotting factors in the blood and for filtering toxic waste from the blood.
There are three main types of lung cancer: non–small cell lung cancer, which is the most common; small cell lung cancer, which comprises 10-15% of cases and spreads very quickly; and lung carcinoid tumors, which are typically slow growing and rarely spread.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the immune system’s white blood cells, which are also called lymphocytes. It is differentiated from other lymphomas by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (sometimes called NHL, or just lymphoma) is a cancer that starts in the white blood cells, also called lymphocytes. The condition can be further categorized as having either an indolent (slow growing) course or an aggressive (fast growing) course.
LYMPHOMA OF THE SKIN
Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in white blood cells, or lymphocytes, that are part of the body's immune system. Rare lymphomas that start in lymphocytes of the skin are called skin lymphomas (or cutaneous lymphomas).
Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that starts in cells of the linings of certain parts of the body, especially the chest cavity or abdominal cavity.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of the immune system.
Often shortened to MDS, this type of cancer occurs when damaged cells in the bone marrow make defective blood cells. The body destroys the defective cells, which can leave a person with low blood counts. In some cases, MDS can progress to leukemia.
NASAL CAVITY & PARANASAL SINUS CANCER
This diverse set of cancers develop within the mucus-producing cells within the cavities in and around the nose.
Nasopharyngeal cancer is a cancer that starts in the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat behind the nose and near the base of the skull.
A type of cancer seen in children and infants, neuroblastomas are made up of immature nerve cells. Most often, a neuroblastoma starts in the adrenal glands, near the spine or in the trunk of the body (belly, chest or pelvis).
ORAL CAVITY AND OROPHARYNGEAL CANCER
Oral cavity cancer, or just oral cancer, is cancer that starts in the mouth (the oral cavity). Oropharyngeal cancer starts in the oropharynx, which is the part of the throat just behind the mouth.
Also called osteogenic sarcoma, this type of cancer starts in the bones, specifically the cells called osteoblasts, which build bones up and give them their strength. This cancer is seen mainly in teens and children, although it can also affect young adults.
Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries, the female reproductive glands that produce eggs (ova) for reproduction.
Pancreatic cancer starts in the pancreas. This organ contains exocrine glands that secrete digestive enzymes into the intestines, as well as a small number of endocrine glands that create and release hormones like insulin and glucagon directly into the blood.
This cancer begins in one of several different tissues of the penis. The majority of penile cancers begin in the skin cells; however, other forms can develop in the sweat glands, blood vessels, smooth muscle tissue or other connective tissue of the penis.
These tumors start in the pituitary gland, the “master control gland” below the brain that releases hormones that regulate the body’s endocrine system.
The prostate is a gland found only in males that makes some of the fluid that protects and nourishes sperm cells in semen. Several types of cells are found in the prostate, but almost all prostate cancers develop from the gland cells.
A retinoblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in the nerve cells lining the back of the eyeball (retina). It’s most often seen in developing babies, when cells called retinoblasts fail to become mature retina cells and instead continue to divide and grow out of control.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a rare type of cancer seen mainly in children and teens and forms in immature skeletal muscle cells. It’s often found in the head and neck, the trunk or the arms and legs.
SALIVARY GLAND CANCER
Salivary gland cancer starts in one of several glands that produce saliva, the lubricating fluid found in the mouth and throat. Most salivary gland tumors are benign (non-cancerous).
Sarcoma is a broad term for cancers that develop in mesodermal tissues, i.e., bone, muscle, fat, nerves, cartilage, connective tissue and blood cells.
By far the most common type of cancer, skin cancer can develop in any of various types of skin cells, from sun-exposed epidermis, to pigment-producing melanocytes, to lymphoid (immune system) tissue in the skin.
SMALL INTESTINE CANCER
Small intestine cancers develop in the small intestine, where enzymes break down food and most nutrients are absorbed. Like colon cancer, small intestine cancers often begin as benign growths called polyps before becoming malignant.
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a cancer that starts in the stomach. These cancers tend to develop slowly over many years. Precancerous changes often occur in the inner lining (mucosa) of the stomach and can go undetected due to a lack of noticeable symptoms.
Testicular cancer typically develops in one or both testicles in young men, but it can occur in older men as well.
The thymus gland is a small organ located just behind the breastbone (sternum) that produces T cells, a type of white blood cell, during fetal development and childhood. Cancers of the thymus gland are very uncommon.
Thyroid cancer is a cancer that starts in the thyroid gland, a gland located below the thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) in the front part of the neck. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism.
Uterine sarcoma is a cancer of the muscle and supporting tissues of the uterus.
Many vaginal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that begin in the cells of the lining of the vagina. Others are adenocarcinomas, which begin in vaginal gland cells.
Most cancers of the vulva are squamous cell carcinomas, which begin in skin cells of the outer part of the female genitalia. A smaller percentage of vaginal cancers develop in the Bartholin glands, which produce a mucus-like fluid.
Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which the cancer cells create a large amount of protein in the blood, which may reduce or clog blood flow in smaller blood vessels.
Wilms tumor (also called Wilms’ tumor or nephroblastoma) is a type of cancer that starts in the kidneys. It is the most common type of kidney cancer in children.
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