Posts Tagged all cancers

January: Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.


Cervical Cancer- Starts in a woman’s cervix. It begins when normal cells on the surface of the cervix change and grow uncontrollably forming a mass called a tumor.

There are two main types of cervical cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. They are named by the cells where the cancer starts. Other types of cervical cancer are rare. Squamous cell carcinoma makes up about 80% to 90% of all cervical cancers. Adenocarcinoma makes up 10%-20% of all cervical cancers.


Signs & Symptoms:

Most women do not have any signs or symptoms of a precancer or early stage cervical cancer. In most cases the symptoms do not appear until the cancer has spread to other tissues and organs.

  • Blood spots or light bleeding between or following periods
  • Menstrual bleeding that is longer and heavier than usual
  • Bleeding after intercourse, douching or a pelvic examination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding after  menopause
  • Increased vaginal discharge

Prevention: Getting an annual physical examination, pap tests and pelvic examinations

Helpful Links:

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November- Pancreatic Cancer and Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November is Pancreatic Cancer and Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic Cancer:

Pancreatic cancer ribbon

Pancreas- Pear shaped gland located in the abdomen between stomach and spine made up of two major components:

Exocrine Component- Made up of ducts and acini (small sacs on the end of the ducts). Makes enzymes (specialized proteins) that are released into the small intestine to help the body digest and breakdown food particularly fats.

Endocrine Component- Made up of specialized cells lumped together in islands in the organ called islets of Langerhans. These cells make specific hormones, most importantly insulin, which helps control the amount of sugar in the blood.

Types of Pancreatic Cancer: There are several types depending on whether the cancer began in the endocrine or exocrine component.

Exocrine Tumors- Most common type. About 95% of people with pancreatic cancer have adenocarcinoma which starts in ducts of the pancreas called ductal adenocarcinoma.

Less Common: If tumor begins in the acini it is called acinar adenocarcinoma. Common diagnosis is called intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN)- A tumor that grows within the ducts of the pancreas and makes a thick fluid called mucin. IPMN is not cancerous when it begins but could become cancerous if not treated. Sometimes an IPMN has already become cancer by the time it is diagnosed. Rarer types of exocrine pancreatic cancer include: Acinar cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, colloid carcinoma, giant cell tumor, hepatoid carcinoma, mucinous cystic neoplasms, pancreatoblastoma, serous cystdenoma, signet ring cell carcinoma, solid and pseudopapillary tumors, squamous cell carcinoma and undifferentiated carcinoma.

Endocrine Tumors- Also called islet cell tumors or pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNET). Much less common than exocrine tumors (1%).  Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor can be functioning meaning it makes hormones or non-functioning meaning it doesn’t make hormones . A functioning neuroendocrine tumor is named based on the hormone the cells normally make.

Signs and Symptoms:

Not many noticeable symptoms early on. When there are symptoms they are similar to other medical conditions such as ulcers or pancreatitis.

  • Yellow skin and eyes, darkening of the urine, itching, and clay colored stool, which are signs of obstructive jaundice (Blockage of bile ducts)
  • Pain in the upper abdomen or lower back
  • Painful swelling due to a blood clot
  • Burning feeling in stomach or other gastrointestinal discomforts
  • Stomach bloating
  • Floating stools with bad odor and unusual color due to body not digesting fats well
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomitting
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss

Prevention: No established guidelines for prevention. Best approach is to avoid risk factors as much as possible.

Helpful Links:

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer- Usually begins when cells in the lung change and grow uncontrollably forming a mass called a tumor. A lung tumor can begin anywhere in the lung.


Two major types:  Non small cell and small cell.

Non small cell (NSCLC ): comes from epitneliat cells and is the most common type.

Small Cell: begins in the nerve cells or hormone- producing cells  of the lung. The term “small cell” refers to the size and shape of the cancer cells as seen under a microscope.

It is important for doctors to distinguish between the two because they are usually treated in different ways.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain if tumor spreads to the lining  of the lung or other parts of the body near the lungs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up phlegm or mucus
  • Coughing up blood

Prevention: There is no proven way to completely prevent lung cancer. Quitting smoking lowers the risk.

Helpful Links:

Also if you haven’t already please read these previous posts!!

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October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast cancer ribbon

Breast Cancer- begins when normal cells in the breast change and grow uncontrollably forming a mass called a tumor.

2015 Symposium: Highlights Notable advances in Breast Cancer research-

Types of Breast Cancer: Most breast cancer starts the ducts or lobes.

Ductal Carcinoma- Accounts for 75%. It begins in the cell lining of the milk ducts.

Lobular Carcinoma- Cancer that begins in the lobules.

The difference between the two is determined by a pathologist who examines a tumor sample removed during a biopsy.

Invasive or Infiltrating Ductal or Lobular Carcinoma- when the disease has spread outside of the duct or lobule and into the surrounding tissue.

Cancer that is located only in the duct or lobule is called situ meaning “in place”.  How situ grows, spreads and is treated depend on whether it  is Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or Lobular Carcinoma in situ (LCIS). Most situ cancers are DCIS.

LCIS is not considered a cancer and is usually monitored by doctors.

Less common types of Breast Cancer: Medullary, mucinous, tubular, metaplastic and papillary.

Very uncommon: Inflammatory breast cancer- A faster growing cancer that accounts for 1%-5%. It may be misdiagnosed as a breast infection because there is often swelling of the breast and redness of the breast skin that starts suddenly.

Pagat’s Disease-type of cancer that begins in the ducts of the nipple. The skin often appears scaly and may be itchy. Although it is usually an situ it can also be an invasive cancer.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Lumps that feel like a hard knot (Many women normally have lumpy breast) or thickening in the breast or under the arm.
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Nipple tenderness, discharge (may occur suddenly, be bloody or occur only in one breast) or physical changes such as nipple turned inward or a persistant sore
  • Skin irritation or changes such as puckers, dimples, scaliness or new creases
  • Warm red swollen breasts with or without a rash resembling the skin of an orange ( called peau d’orange)
  • Pain in the breast ( usually not a symptom of breast cancer but it should be reported to a doctor especially if pain doesn’t go away)

Prevention: Self breast exams and annual mammograms.

Also if you haven’t already please read these previous posts!!!

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September Cancer Awareness Month Part II. : Prostate Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Awareness

September Cancer Awareness Month Part II. : Prostate Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Awareness

Prostate Cancer


Prostate Cancer- Cancer that forms in the tissues of the prostate ( a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum.)

Prostate Cancer Facts:

  • Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men.
  • Can invade nearby organs
  • Can spread to other areas of the body
  • Often can be removed but sometimes grows back

Symptoms and Signs

  • Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms.
  • Problems passing urine (including slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night)
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer spread to bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Prevention: The exact cause of Prostate cancer is not known at this time it is not known at this time it is not possible to prevent most cases of the disease.

Helpful Links:
Gynecologic Cancers: Ovarian, Cervical, Uterine, Vaginal and Vulvar Cancer

gyn cancers
Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer- A growth of abnormal malignant cells that begins in the ovaries.

Facts about Ovarian Cancer:
Ovarian cancer accounts for approximately 3% of cancers in women
Cause is unknown but some theories exist: Genetic errors may occur because of damage from the normal monthly release of an egg. Increased hormone levels before and during ovulation may stimulate the growth of abnormal cells.

Types of Ovarian Cancer:

Epithelial Tumors- 90% of Ovarian cancers develop in the epithelium, the thin layer of the tissue that covers the ovaries. This form generally occurs in post menopausal women.

Germ Cell Carcinoma Tumors- 5% of Ovarian cancers begins in the cells that form eggs. Can occur in women of any age, tend to be found in women in their early 20’s. 6 main types of germ cell carcinoma exist, the 3 most common types are teratomas, dysgerminomas and endodermal sinus tumors.

Stromal Carcinoma Tumors- Accounts for 5% of Ovarian cancers. Develops in the connective tissue cells that hold the ovary together and those that produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. 2 most common types are granulosa cell tumors and sertoli-leydig cell tumors.

Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary (SCCO)- A rare, highly malignant tumor that affects mainly young women. Subtypes of SCCO include pulmonary, neuro-endocrine and hypercalcemic. Accounts for 0.1% of Ovarian cancers.

Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Urinary urgency or frequency
  • Difficulty eating of feeling full quickly

Oral contraceptives- The use of oral contraceptives decreases the risk of developing ovarian cancer especially when used for several years.

Helpful Links:
Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer- Starts in a woman’s cervix. I begins when normal cells on the surface of the cervix change and grow uncontrollably forming a tumor.
2 Main types of Cervical cancer named for the type of cell where the cancer started. Other types of cervical cancers are rare.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma- which makes up about 80-90% of all cervical cancers

Adenocarcinoma-  which makes up about 10-20% of all cervical cancers.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Most women do not have any signs or symptoms of a precancer or early stage cervical cancer. Symptoms do not appear until the cancer has spread to other tissues and organs.
  • Blood spots or light bleeding between or following periods
  • Menstrual bleeding that is longer or heavier than usual
  • Bleeding after intercourse, douching or a pelvic examination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Increased vaginal discharge

Prevention: Getting an annual physical examination, pap tests and pelvic examinations.

Helpful Links:
Uterine Cancer

Uterine Cancer-Most common cancer of a woman’s reproductive system. It begins when normal cells in the uterus change and grow uncontrollably forming a tumor.

2 Major Types of Uterine Cancer:

Adenocarcinoma-This type of cancer makes up more than 95% off uterine cancers. It develops from cells in the lining of the uterus, the endrometrium. This cancer is also commonly called endometrial cancer.
Sarcoma-This form of uterine cancer develops in the myonetrium (the uterine muscle) or in the supporting tissues of the uterine glands. Sarcoma accounts for 2-4% of uterine cancers.
Less common types:
Carcinosarcoma-Starts in the endrometrium and is similar to both adenocarcinoma and sarcoma
Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma-Starts in the connective tissue of the endometrium.
Signs and Symptoms:

  • Uterine cancer is most likely to occur after menopause. Most common symptom is vaginal bleeding.
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting or discharge
  • Difficulty or pain when urinating
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the pelvic area

Prevention: Research shows that certain factors can lower the risk of Uterine cancer:

  • Taking birth control pills, especially over a  long period of time.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • If diabetic, maintaining good self care
  • Having pelvic exams and trans vaginal ultrasounds

Helpful Links:

Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal Cancer- An uncommon cancer of the female reproductive system. It begins when normal cells in the vagina change and grow uncontrollably forming a tumor.

Types of Vaginal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma-  Type of skin cancer that begins in the cells lining the vagina, most often in the area closest to the cervix. Accounts for 85-90% of vaginal cancers. Develops slowly through a pre cancerous condition (changes in cells that may, but do not always become cancer) called vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia or VAIN.

Adenocarcinoma- Begins in the vaginal gland tissue. It accounts for 5-10% of all vaginal cancers.

Clear Cell Adenocarcinoma- Cancer occurs in young women whose mother’s took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy between the late 1940’s and 1971. Estimated 1 out of 1,000 women exposed to DES will develop vaginal cancer.

Melanoma- Another type of skin cancer that is usually found on skin exposed to the sun, but it can begin on the skin on the vagina or other internal organs. It often appears as a dark colored tumor on the lower or outer parts of the vagina.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Precancerous conditions such as VAIN and vaginal cancer do not often cause symptoms in the early stages, but in more advanced stages.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Difficulty urinating or pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the pelvic area
  • Pain in the back or legs
  • Swelling in the legs

Prevention: Annual gynecologic examination.

  • Delaying first sexual intercourse until the late teens or older
  • Avoiding sexual intercourse with multiple partners
  • Avoiding sexual intercourse with someone who has multiple partners
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Having regular pap tests
  • Not smoking
  • Quitting smoking

Helpful Links:
Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar Cancer- Begins when normal cells change and grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor. Vulvar cancer is classified in to 2 main types named for the type of tissue where the cancer started.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma- Type of skin cancer that accounts for 90%. of vulvar cancers. It is usually found on the vulva.

Adenocarcinoma- starts in Bartholin’s glands or vulvar sweat glands and it accounts for a small percentage of vulvar cancers. Usually found on the sides of the vaginal opening.

Melanoma- Another type of skin cancer that accounts for 2-4% of vulvar cancers. It occurs most often on the clitoris. Women with melanoma on other parts of their body have an increased risk of developing vulvar cancer.

Less common types:

Paget’s Disease- The adenocarinoma cells are found in the vulvar skin.

Sarcoma- A tumor of the connective tissues beneath the skin.

Verrucous Carcinoma- A slow growing subtype of squamous cell carcinoma that looks like a wart.
Signs and Symptoms:

  • A lump or growth in or on the vulvar area
  • A patch of skin that is differently textured or colored than the rest of the vulvar area
  • Persistent itching, pain, soreness or burning in the vulvar area.
  • Painful urination
  • Bleeding or discharge that is not menstrual blood
  • An ulcer that persists for more than one month
  • A change in the appearance of an existing mole
  • Wart like growths (similar to genital warts)

Prevention: Annual gynecologic examination.

  • Delaying first sexual intercourse until late teens or older
  • Avoiding sexual intercourse with multiple partners
  • Avoiding sexual intercourse with someone that has multiple partners
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Not smoking
  • Quitting smoking

Helpful Links:

If you haven’t already please check out these posts!!

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September Cancer Awareness Month Part I : Childhood Cancer, Leukemia, Lymphoma and Thyroid Cancer Awareness

September Cancer Awareness Month Part I : Childhood Cancer, Leukemia, Lymphoma and Thyroid Cancer Awareness

Childhood Cancer


Childhood Cancer- A general term used to describe a range of cancer types and non cancerous tumors found in children. May also be called pediatric cancer.

Types of Childhood Cancer (Children under 15)

Leukemia:(34% of childhood cancers)
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Brain and CNS Tumors including tumors of the spinal cord: (27% of childhood cancers)
Brain Stem Glioma
Central Nervous System
Desmoplastic Infantile Ganglioglioma
High-Grade Glioma
Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor

Neuroblastoma: (7% of childhood cancers) – A tumor of immature nerve cells that often starts in the adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys and are a part of the body’s endocrine (hormonal) system.

Wilms Tumor: (5% of childhood cancers) – A type of kidney tumor

Non- Hodgkin Lymphoma: (4% of childhood cancers) and Hodgkin Lymphoma:(4% of childhood cancers) – Cancers that begin in the lymph system.

Rhabdomyosarcoma: (3% of childhood cancers) – A type of tumor that begins in the striated muscles, which is a part of the skeletal voluntary muscles that people can control. Other rare soft tissues sarcomas also occur.

Retinoblastoma: (3% of childhood cancers) -An eye tumor.

Osteosarcoma: (3% of childhood cancers) and Ewingsarcoma (1% of childhood cancers) – Tumors that usually begin in the bone.

Germ Cell Tumors- Rare tumors that begin in the testicles in boys and ovaries in girls, even more rarely the tumor can begin in other places in the body, including the brain.

Pleuropulmonary Blastoma- A rare kind of lung cancer.

Hepatoblastoma and Hepatocellular Carcinoma- Liver tumors.

Cancer in Teens and Young Adults Ages 15-19

Hodgkin Lymphoma (16% of teen cancers) and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (8% of teen cancers)

Germ Cell Tumors- including testicular cancer and ovarian cancer (16% of teen cancers)

CNS Tumors (10% of teen cancers)

Thyroid Cancer (7% of teen cancers)

Melanoma (7% of teen cancers)

ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) (6% of teen cancers)

Soft-tissue Carcinoma (7% of teen cancers)

Osteosarcoma (5% of teen cancers)

AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) (5% of teen cancers)

Ewingsarcoma (2% of teen cancers)

Other Cancers (12% of teen cancers)
Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Cancer:

  • Continued and unexplained weight loss
  • Headaches, often with early morning vomiting
  • Increased swelling of persistent pain in the bones, joints, back and legs
  • Lump or mass, especially in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis or armpits
  • Development of excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash
  • Constant infections
  • A whitish color behind the pupil
  • Nausea that persists or vomiting without nausea
  • Constant tiredness or noticeable paleness
  • Eye or vision changes that occur suddenly and persist
  • Recurring or persistent fevers of unknown origin

Prevention– Because specific causes have not been found for each individual type of childhood cancer the way to prevent childhood cancer is still unknown.

Helpful Links:


Leukemia- Cancer that starts in the tissue that forms blood. Bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells). Unlike normal cells leukemia cells don’t die when they should. They may crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Making it hard for normal blood cells to do their work.

Types of Leukemia-

Types are classified as either chronic or acute.

Chronic leukemia-usually gets worse slowly and there may not be any symptoms until the cancer advances. Early in the disease the leukemia cells can still do some of the work of normal white blood cells.
Acute leukemia– usually gets worse quickly and often symptoms are noticeable in the beginning stages. Leukemia cells cannot do any of the work of the normal white blood cells.

4 Common Types Of Leukemia
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): Affects lymphoid cells. It accounts of over 15,000 new cases of leukemia each year. Most often occurs in people over 55. It rarely affects children.
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML): Affects myeloid cells. It accounts for 5,000 new cases of leukemia. It affects mainly adults.
Acute Lymphocytic (Lymphoblastic) Leukemia (ALL): Affects lymphoid cells. Accounts for 5,000 new cases of leukemia. It is most common in young children but can also affect adults.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML): Affects myeloid cells. Accounts for more than 13,000 new cases of leukemia. It can occur in both adults and children.

Signs and Symptoms of Leukemia:
The symptoms of leukemia depend on the number of leukemia cells and where these cells collect in the body. People with chronic leukemia may not have symptoms. People with acute leukemia usually will feel sick

  • Swollen lymph nodes that don’t hurt (especially in neck or armpit)
  • Fevers or night sweats
  • Frequent infections
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Bleeding and bruising easily (bleeding gums, purplish patches in the skin or tiny red spots under the skin)
  • Swelling or discomfort in the abdomen (from a swollen spleen or liver)
  • Weight loss for no reason
  • Pain in the bones or joints

Prevention- Most cases cannot be prevented. The cause of leukemia is still unknown.

Helpful Links:


lymphoma awareness ribbon car magnet-500x500

Lymphoma- Cancer of the lymphatic system(part of the immune system).

Types of Lymphoma :
Lymphoma Hodgkin (Hodgkin’s Disease)
Lymphoma Hodgkin- Childhood
Lymphoma Non-Hodgkin
Lymphoma Non-Hodgkin- Childhood

Hodgkin Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s Disease)- One category of lymphoma.

Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma (CHL)- is diagnosed when characteristic abnormal lymphocytes, known as Reed-Sternberg cells are found. CHL can be divided into 4 different subtypes:

1. Nodular Sclerosis Hodgkin Lymphoma- Most common form of CHL (80%). Most common in young adults especially women. Often involves the lymph nodes in the chest.

2. Lymphocyte-rich Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma- Not as common (6%). Most common in men. Usually involves areas other than the chest.

3. Mixed Cellularity Hodgkin Lymphoma- Often occurs in older adults. Commonly found in the abdomen.

4. Lymphocyte-depleted Hodgkin lymphoma- Least common subtype of CHL (1%) Most common in older adults, people with HIV and people in non industrialized countries.

Another type : Not a part of the CHL group

Nodular Lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma- Not common (5%). Often found in lymph nodes in the neck or groin. Most common in younger patients.
Signs and Symptoms

  • Painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin area that doesn’t go away in a few weeks.
  • Unexplained fever that does not go away
  • Night sweats ( usually drenching)
  • Pruritus (generalized itching that may be severe)
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the lymph nodes associated with alcohol intake

Prevention: The cause is unknown so there is no way to prevent the disease.

Lymphoma- Hodgkin- Childhood
Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma- More common for males and younger patients. Usually found in the neck, underarm or groin.

Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma- Most common type of Hodgkin in adolescents and young adults. Tumors are often bulky. Most often it begins in the lymph nodes in the neck, chest or abdomen. It may also spread to the lungs.

Mixed Cellularity Hodgkin Lymphoma- Most common in children ages 10 years or younger. Usually begins in the lymph nodes in the abdomen or in the spleen.

Lymphocyte Rich Hodgkin Lymphoma- This type is rare. It may be hard to distinguish from Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin lymphoma. It usually begins in the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm or groin. It sometimes involves the spleen and nodes in the chest.

Lymphocyte Depleted Hodgkin Lymphoma- This type is very rare. It is an aggressive type that is uncommon in children. It is usually more wide spread, involving lymph nodes as well as the bones and bone marrow.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin that doesn’t go away in a few weeks
  • Coughing or trouble breathing
  • Unexplained fever that doesn’t go away
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Itching
  • Fatigue

Prevention- There is no prevention.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

Most subtypes of NHL are classified as either indolent or aggressive.

Indolent (Low-grade) NHL- Grows slowly. Often the disease has spread by the time it is diagnosed.
Aggressive (High-grade) NHL- Usually needs more intensive chemo-therapy. These lymphomas are often curable.

NHL is grouped by what cell the lymphoma started in. There are two major groups.

B-cell Lymphoma- More common, accounts for 90%.
T-cell Lymphoma- Less common, accounts for 10%
Subtypes of B-cell Lymphoma:
Diffuse Large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) – Most common (30%). It is an aggressive form that involves organs other than lymph nodes.

Mantle Cell Lymphoma- Not as common (7%). Often appears in people over 60. It involves the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen and gastrointestinal system.

Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma- Accounts for 5%. It is closely related to a disease called B-cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia(CLL). It is considered an indolent lymphoma

Mediastinal Large B-cell Lymphoma- An aggressive form of DLBCL. It appears as a large mass in the chest . It is most common in women 30-40 years old (2.5%).

Splenic Marginal Zone B-cell Lymphoma- Begins in the spleen and can also involve the blood

Extranodal Marginal Zone B-Cell Lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT)- Most commonly occurs in the stomach but may also occur in the lung, skin, thyroid, salivary gland, or eye. Patients with this often have a history of auto immune disease.

Nodal Marginal Zone B-Cell Lymphoma- A rare indolent type (1%). It involves the lymph nodes

Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma- A rare indolent type (1%). Most often involves bone marrow, lymph nodes and spleen

Primary Effusion Lymphoma- An aggressive form. Most often occurs in people with HIV, people whose immune system doesn’t work well and the elderly. It begins in the the lung, heart or abdominal cavities. Often there is not just one tumor.

Burkitt Lymphoma/ Burkitt cell Leukemia- A very rare aggressive type. 3 forms of Burkitt Lymphoma: Endemic, Sporadic and Immuno deficiency- related lymphoma. Occurs most commonly in Africa. Appears mostly in the jawbones of children. It spreads quickly and needs immediate treatment.
Subtypes of T-cell and Natural Killer (NK) Lymphoma:
Natural Killer- Cells that fight microbes and cancer cells

Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma- Primary cutaneous type, it involves only skin. It is often indolent although aggressive types are possible.

Peripheral T-cell Lymphoma- Aggressive form. It is most common in people over 60 (6%) in U.S. And Europe.

Angiommunoblastic T-cell Lymphoma- Aggressive form. It has specific symptoms- swollen lymph nodes, fever, weight loss, rash and high levels of anti bodies called gamma globulin in the blood.

Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma- systematic type. Accounts for 2% of all lymphomas and 10% of all childhood lymphomas.

Precursor T-Lymphoblastic Lymphoma/Leukemia (Precursor T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia- Rare type. It accounts for 2% of all NHL. Most common in young adults. It is more common in men then women. It is the same as ALL (Acute Lymphocytic (Lymphoblastic) Leukemia). When it is found in the blood or bone marrow it is called ALL. When it is in the lymph nodes it often involves the lymph nodes in the chest.
Adult T-Cell Lymphoma/Leukemia (Human T-cell Lymphotropic virus type 1 positive)- Aggressive form. Often involves the bones and skin. The lymphoma cells are found in the blood which is why it is sometimes referred to as leukemia.

Extranodal NK/T-Cell Lymphoma nasal type- Aggressive type. It is very rare in the U.S. And Europe. It is more common in Asians and Hispanics, it can occur in children or adults. It most often involves nasal area and sinuses. It can also involve the trachea, gastrointestinal tract, testicles and skin.

Enteropathy-associated T-Cell Lymphoma- Aggressive type. Rare in the U.S., it is more common in Europe. It involves the intestines of people who have caliac disease ( gluton intolerance).

Gamma/Delta Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma- Aggressive form. It involves the liver and spleen. It occurs most often in adolescents and young men.

Subcutaneous Panniculitis- Aggressive form. It is like T-cell lymphoma. Similar to Gamma/Delta Hepatosplenic T-cell. It involves the tissue under the skin.

Mycosis Fungoides- Rare idolent T-cell lymphoma. It primarily involves the skin.
Signs and Symptoms

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the abdomen, groin, neck or underarms
  • Enlarged spleen or liver
  • Fever that cannot be explained by an infection or other illness
  • Weight loss with no known cause
  • Sweating and chills
  • Fatigue

Prevention- Most people with NHL have no risk factors that can be changed. There is no way to prevent these lymphomas.
Lymphoma- Non-Hodgkin- Childhood

3 Major types- Distinguished from one another by how the cells look under the microscope.

Burkitt Lymphoma- B-Cell lymphoma that commonly affects bone marrow and central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). One of the fastest growing types of cancer. It often develops in the abdomen and may spread to other organs including the brain. Accounts for 40% of NHL in children in the U.S.

Large Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (LCL)- Accounts for 25% of childhood NHL. It may affect throat, abdomen, lymph tissue of the neck, or near the thymus ( behind the breast bone). LCL is further classified into subtypes.
Most common subtypes:
Large B-Cell Lymphoma- Accounts for 15%. Develops from B-Cells
Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ACL)- Accounts for 10%. It commonly develops from T-Cells but can arise rarely from B cells.

Lymphoblastic Lymphoma ( LBL)- Accounts for 30% of all childhood NHL. Most often develops in lymph nodes in the chest area (mediastinum) behind the breast bone (near the thymus gland). Can spread to the surface off the brain, the bone marrow, other lymph nodes and the membranes surrounding the heart and lungs.
Signs and Symptoms

  • Swelling or lumps in the lymph nodes located in the abdomen, groin, neck or underarm. Swollen lymph nodes may join together to form a mass or tumor
  • Fever that is not associated with an illness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sweating and chills
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Symptoms related to tumor location may include:
  • A swollen belly, caused by a large tumor in the abdomen
  • Painful urination and bowel movements caused by fluid build up and a tumor around the kidneys and intestines
  • Difficulty breathing, caused by a tumor in the chest (mediastinum) near the windpipe

Serious symptom- Super vena cava syndrome (SVCS)- A tumor in the chest behind the breastbone blocks the flow of blood in the vein that carries blood from the head and arms to the heart. This causes the head and arms to swell. SVCS is life threatening and requires emergency medical attention.

Prevention: There is no prevention.

Helpful Links:

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid Cancer- Malignant tumor or growth originating within the thyroid gland

Types of Thyroid Cancer: 4 Types
Papillary, Follicular, Medullary and Anaplastic.

Papillary and follicular thyroid cancers are referred to as differentiated thyroid cancers, which means that the cancer cells look and act like normal thyroid cells. It accounts for 90% of all thyroid cancers. They also tend to grow slower.

Papillary Thyroid Cancer- Most common type of thyroid cancer. Accounts for 80% of all thyroid cancers. Often grows slowly, but can spread to lymph nodes in the neck , also to other parts of the body.

Follicular Thyroid Cancer- Accounts for 10-15% of all thyroid cancers. Doesn’t usually spread to the lymph nodes but can spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs or bones.

Medullary Thyroid Cancer (MTC)- Accounts for 5-7% of thyroid cancers. Develops in the c cells of the thyroid gland. Easier to treat if it is found before it spreads to other parts of the body.
2 Types:
1. Sporadic MTC- Accounts for 80% of all MTC. Occurs in individuals without an identifiable family history.
2. Familial MTC- May be associated with hypercalcemia and adrenal tumors.
Genetic testing should be done for all people diagnosed with medullary thyroid cancer.

Undifferentiated Thyroid Cancer- Cells do not behave or look like normal thyroid cells.

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer (ATC)- Least common type of thyroid cancer. It accounts for 1-2% of thyroid cancers. It is seen more often in people over 60. It is difficult to control, very aggressive and can spread rapidly within the neck and to other parts of the body. It is also resistant to radioactive iodine.

Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer:

  • Lump in the front of the neck, near Adam’s apple
  • Hoarseness
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the neck or throat
  • A cough that persists and is not caused by a cold

Prevention- Most people with thyroid cancer have no known risk factors, so it is not possible to prevent most cases of the disease.

Helpful Links:

Also if you haven’t already check out these posts!!

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May: Cancer Research Month

May is Cancer Research Month

I wanted to put together a post with a bunch of helpful sites for general information on cancer. I also wanted to include sites for emotional support, financial needs, transportation needs, housing/lodging, children’s services and home health care/hospice.

Cancer- A brief overview

Cancer- A disease in which an abnormal, unregulated growth of cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue. The cells can ultimately spread to vital organs.

Major Cancer Types:

  • Carcinonmas- these are the most common cancers such as breast, lung and colon cancers.  These cancers invade surrounding tissues and organs and can spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
  • Melanomas- these are the most serious types of skin cancer. They initially appear on the surface of the skin as a change in shape, color or feel of a mole.
  • Leukemias- these are more common in children then adults, they account for about 25% of all childhood cancers. They are immature cells arising in bone marrow that should have become functioning white blood cells.
  • Lymphomas- these arise in lymph nodes and other tissues of the body’s immune system. Lymphoid tissues include tonsils, adenoids, spleen, thymus and bone marrow.
  • Sarcomas- these are rare cancers, accounting for about 1% of all cancers.  They grow from cells in bones, cartilage, joints, muscle, fat, nerves, deep skin tissues and blood vessels.

General Sites for information about Cancer:

American Cancer Society:

American Institute For Cancer Research:

Association Of Cancer Online Resources:

Cancer Care:

Emotional Support:

Cancer Hope Network:

Family Caregiver Alliance:

Caregiver Action Network:


Cancer Support Community:

Financial, Transportation and Housing Needs:

Angel Flight:

Catholic Charities USA:

Corporate Angel Network:

The Max Foundation:

National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses (NAHHH):

National Patient Travel Center:

Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA):

Patient Access Network Foundation (PANF):

Patient Services Inc. (PSI):

Ronald McDonald House Charities:

United Way Of America:

Visting Nurse Associations Of America (VNAA):

Children’s Services:

Children’s Cause For Cancer Advocacy (CCCA):

Children’s Hospice International (CHI):

Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA):

CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation:

Kids Konnected:

Make-A-Wish Foundation Of America:  (Also for Adults- Dream Foundation:

National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS):

Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation:

Home/Hospice Care:

National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC):

American Hospice Foundation:

Hospice Education Institute:

Hospice Foundation Of America (HFA):

International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC):

National Association For Home Care and Hospice (NAHC):

National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization:

Also if you haven’t already read the previous posts please take the time out to go read!

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May: Brain Tumor Awareness and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention

May is Brain Tumor Awareness and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention MonthBrain Tumor Awarenessskin cancer ribbon

Brain Tumor– An abnormal growth of tissue in the brain.

Skin Cancer– Uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells

Advances in treatment of Melanoma, Oral Cancer, Brain Metastases and Childhood Cancers:

Here is a brief summary of facts about Brain Tumors:

  • Unlike other tumors, brain tumors rarely metastasize (spread) outside of the brain
  • There are over 120 different types of brain tumors
  • A tumor can increase pressure in the brain, shift brain or push it against the skull and/ or invade and damage nerves and healthy brain tissue.

Here is a brief summary of facts about Skin Cancer:

  • Most common form of cancer
  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer the the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
  • 1in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • Most skin cancers are caused from UV rays from the sun.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain Tumors:

  • A new seizure in an adult
  • Gradual loss of movement or sensation in arm or leg.
  • Unsteadiness or imbalance, especially if it’s associated with headache.
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes, especially if the vision lost is more peripheral.
  • Double vision, especially if associated with headaches.
  • Hearing loss with or without dizziness.
  • Speech difficulty of gradual onset.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer:

  1. Actinic Keratosis:
  • Scaly or crusty growths caused by damage from UV rays from the sun.
  • Growths commonly show up in sun exposed areas, such as the face, bald scalp, lips and the backs of hands.
  • Growths are often elevated, rough in texture and resemble warts
  • Often become red, but some will be tan, pink, red and or flesh toned.
    1. Basil Cell Carcinoma:
  • Looks like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps or scars.

  1. Squamous Cell Carcinoma- Uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells ( upper layers of skin).
  • Looks like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with central depression or warts.
  • They may crust or bleed.
  1. Dysplastic Nevi ( Atypical Moles):
  • Unusual benign moles that resemble melanoma.

V. Melanoma: Most dangerous form of skin cancer.

  • Often resemble moles, some develop from moles.
  • Majority of melanomas are black or brown but can be skin colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white.
  • ABCDE’s of Melanoma: A– Asymmetry B– Borders- Borders of early melanoma are uneven. C– Color- Variety of color is a warning signal. D– Diameter- Melanomas are usually larger in diameter than an eraser on a pencil. E– Evolving- Any change in size, shape, color, elevation or another trait or any new symptoms such as bleeding, itching or crusting.
  • Types of Melanoma:
  1. Superficial Spreading Melanoma– Most common type of melanoma. It grows on the top layer of the skin for a fairly long time before penetrating more deeply. It is usually discolored patches with irregular borders. This type usually is diagnosed in younger people.
  2. Lentigo Maligna- Also remains close to the skins surface. Often has a tan, brown or dark brown discoloration. This type is usually diagnosed in the elderly. It is referred to as Lentigo Maligna Melanoma when it becomes more invasive.
  3. Acral Lentiginous Melanoma- Also spreads superficially before penetrating more deeply. Appears as a black or brown discoloration under nails, soles of feet and palms of hands. Most common in African Americans and Asians.
  4. Nodular Melanoma- Usually invasive. Malignancy is recognized when it becomes a bump. It’s usually black but occasionally blue, gray, white, tan, brown, red or skin tone.

Prevention – Skin Cancer:

  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Seek shade especially between the hours of 10 am – 4pm.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Cover up.
  • Apply 1oz of sunscreen to body 30 mins before going outside. Reapply every 2 hrs or immediately after swimming or sweating excessively.
  • Examine skin head to toe every month
  • See physician every year for professional skin examination.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun.

Helpful links for more information:

Also if you haven’t already read the previous posts please take the time out to go read!

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