Cancers of the bladder and kidney are when abnormal cells divide and form malignant growths or tumors in each of these respective organs. The bladder and kidney are part of the body’s urinary system, making them part of the genitourinary (GU) cancer group which involves cancers of the urinary tract and male genital tract.
Malignant brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells in the brain. A primary tumor originates in the brain and its growth remains confined to this organ. A secondary brain tumor is the opposite. The cancer originates in another organ and then spreads or metastasizes to the brain making the brain site secondary—also known as metastatic brain cancer.
Breast cancer refers to a malignant mass or tumor that has developed from the uncontrolled growth of cells in the breast. The most common female breast cancers begin in the cells that line the milk ducts or in the cells of the lobules, the milk-producing glands. A small number start in other tissues.
Cervical cancer or cancer of the cervix, part of the female reproductive system, is the result of an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix. It is one of the five main gynecologic cancers the others being, ovarian, uterine (endometrial), vaginal and vulvar. A sixth type is the very rare fallopian tube cancer.
Colorectal cancer is when cancer starts in either the tissue lining of the colon or the rectum. If the cancer starts in the colon it is known as colon or bowel cancer. If it starts in the rectum it is known as rectal cancer. Both organs are part of the body’s gastrointestinal (GI) system making colorectal cancer a GI cancer.
Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are the group of cancers that affect the digestive system, of which the stomach is a part. There are four primary types of stomach cancer with adenocarcinomas (tumors in the inner lining of the stomach) being the most common. Neuroendocrine tumors (carcinoids) can be found in the hormone producing cells of the stomach.
As a Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers patient your cancer care will be overseen by a medical oncologist/hematologist. As your primary cancer care physician he/she will manage your treatment plans and medical therapies—including the administering of chemotherapy; monitor and evaluate your progress; and collaborate with other medical caregivers on additional treatment options like radiation therapy. He/she will lead a team of highly trained clinical providers including physician assistants, nurse practitioners and oncology-trained nurses, fighting cancer on your behalf.
The head and neck cancer group includes cancers that begin in the moist tissue linings of the mouth, nose and throat. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of any or all. Given the location of these cancers, rehabilitative therapy may also be needed as treatments may affect eating, speaking or breathing.
The internal medicine specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant blood-related conditions is called hematology, and the specialist with expertise in this area is a hematologist. Benign blood conditions include anemia, bleeding and clotting disorders (hemostasis and thrombosis), blood count irregularities and platelet irregularities. Malignant conditions include leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Leukemia is when abnormal white blood cells grow and divide, inside bone marrow, crowding out normal cells and affecting their production and function. Common types are: acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). These classifications reflect the rate and type of abnormal cells being produced and help guide treatment planning.
Lung cancer usually starts in the cells that line the air passage of one or both lungs. These abnormal, abundant cells divide rapidly and form tumors which interfere with the functioning of the lung(s) to provide oxygen to the body. There are two main types of lung cancer, small cell and non-small cell.
Lymphoma begins in the lymphatic system in infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. The two main types, non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin Lymphoma each affect a different kind of lymphocyte and spread and respond to treatment differently. The more common non-Hodgkin spreads randomly while Hodgkin or Hodgkin’s disease spreads in an orderly fashion from one group of lymph nodes to another.
Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer begins in melanocytes, the cells that produce color in the skin through a pigment called melanin. Melanomas of the skin can appear anywhere on the body, and are commonly associated with atypical brown or black moles. It is likely to spread to other parts of the body if not caught early.
In Multiple Myeloma or Myeloma identical cancerous plasma cells produce abnormal antibodies, or M proteins, that accumulate in the bone marrow, replacing normal plasma cells and preventing the bone marrow from making enough red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. If a single tumor, is formed it is called a plasmacytoma. Multiple myeloma means multiple tumors have been formed.
Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are abnormal growths that begin in neuroendocrine cells- cells that are a cross between traditional hormone-producing endocrine cells and nerve cells. This rare, cancer occurs most often in the lungs, stomach, intestines and pancreas. One of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of all cancer types it is best recognized as “the cancer Steve Jobs had.”
Ovarian cancer, cancer of the ovaries, is the second most common gynecologic cancer, behind endometrial cancer. The ovaries are the part of the female reproductive system that stores and releases eggs (ova) and produces hormones. Epithelial cell tumors start on the outer surface of the ovary and germ cell tumors start within the cells that produce the eggs.
The pancreas is a gland behind the lower part of the stomach that produces digestive juices and hormones that regulate blood sugar. Pancreatic cancer is categorized depending on whether it affects the exocrine or endocrine functions of the pancreas. The majority of pancreatic cancers start in the exocrine cells. Neuroendocrine tumors start in the endocrine cells.
After skin cancer prostate cancer, part of the genitourinary (GU) group of cancers, is the most common cancer in American men. The prostate gland, part of the male reproductive system, is located just below the bladder. Cancer is most commonly diagnosed in the glandular tissue. Known as prostate adenocarcinoma, this slow growing cancer is highly treatable if detected early.
Sarcomas are tumors that grow in connective (non-epithelial) tissue such as bone, cartilage, muscle, or tendon. Individual types are named for the specific tissue they affect but they can be grouped into two main kinds: soft tissue, and bone or osteosarcoma. These tumors usually develop rapidly and first line of treatment is typically surgical removal.
Uterine cancer, or endometrial cancer, begins in the inner lining of the uterus, part of the female reproductive system. Most uterine cancers develop over a period of years with the average age of diagnosis being 60. Abnormal or postmenopausal bleeding is an early warning sign that can help doctors diagnose it in its earliest stage, when it is highly curable.