DIFFERENT TYPES OF CANCER

Cancers are divided into two large groups: sarcomas and carcinomas. Sarcomas usually affect the bones and muscles, and are apt to grow rapidly and be very destructive. The carcinomas make up the majority of the cancers of the breast, stomach, lungs, uterus, skin, and tongue.

Fortunately, most cancers grow at first only in the site where they originated. Even then, the cancer may invade the neighbouring cells and tissues, and perhaps destroy valuable structures. However, it becomes far more dangerous when it spreads, or sets up new growths, in other parts of the body. The new cancer is called a metastasis or metastatic lesion. A cancer can spread from the kidney to the bones, or from the lungs to the brain, apparently by way of the bloodstream.

When cancer enters this stage, it becomes very difficult to cure. Yet, in some instances, it can still be held in check. For example, widespread metastases from a cancer of the prostate gland have been cleared up and kept under control for many years by surgery and the administration of certain hormones.

Obviously, the time when cancer can best be cured is in the early period of its growth, before it destroys neighbouring tissues or spreads to other parts of the body.

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