Hover over a cancer ribbon that you would like to learn about, click on it, and the page will take you to that cancer's section. If you are confused about the complicated vocabulary used, please use our dictionary. You can download it below. 

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HumanBody

Bone Cancer

Definition:

  • A cancer that forms in the cells of the bone
  • Three main types of bone cancer
    •   Osteosarcoma usually begins developing in the pelvis, arms or legs, and the area around the knee
    • Chondrosarcoma: cancer of cartilage, specifically in the pelvis, legs, or arms
    • Ewing’s sarcoma can start in bones, tissues or organs, the pelvis, chest wall, legs, or arms.

Symptoms:

  • Bone pain, swelling and tenderness near the affected area, broken bones, fatigue, and unintended weight loss

 Diagnostic Tests:

  • Bone scan- CT, MRI, PET Scan, or X-ray
  • Biopsy- removing a sample of tissue for testing

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the entire bone cancer through removing the tumor and a part of the healthy tissue surrounding it
    • The cancer tissue is sent to pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 has spread a lot
  • Various therapies are also available including radiation and/or chemotherapy

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Brain Cancer

Definition:

  • A mass or growth of abnormal cells in ones brain

Symptoms:

  • New patterns of headaches, headaches that slowly occur more often or more severe, feeling like vomiting or unexplained vomiting, vision changes, and sometimes speech difficulties

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Neurological exam: checking vision, hearing, balance, coordination, and reflexes
  • Imaging tests used to help diagnose the tumors: MRI, CT, and PET scans
  • Biopsy: to take a sample of the abnormal area in the brain tissue and view it to see if it is malignant or benign

Treatment:

  •   Surgery
    • Surgery, if possible, is done to take out the cancer tumor
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4 where 1 has not spread and 4 where it has
  • Other treatments available are radiation, targeted drug, and/or chemotherapy

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Breast Cancer

Definition:

  • Cancer that can occur in men and/or women and forms in the cells of the breast
  • Two main types of breast cancer
    • Ductal carcinoma - the tumors form in the cells of the milk duct
    • Lobular carcinoma - in the lobules

Symptoms:

  • Breast lump or thickening, changes in the size or shape of the breast, and changes in the skin over the breast

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Breast exam – doctor checks both breasts to feel for lumps or other abnormalities
  • MammogramX-ray for the breast
  • Breast Ultrasound – non painful sound wave machine to get special images of inside the breast tissue
  • Biopsy – samples taken of the breast tissue and examined to determine if the cells are malignant or benign
  • MRI – creates pictures of the interior of the breast

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to remove the cancer.
    • The cancer tissue is first sent to pathology when a biopsy is taken before the final surgery so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
    • Depending on the type of cancer, stage, and how much it has spread- a mastectomy is done
  • Various treatments available are radiation, hormone, targeted drug, and/or chemotherapy – depending on the staging 

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Cervical Cancer

Definition:

  • A cancer that forms in the cells of the cervix
  • Three main types of cervical cancer
    • Squamous cell carcinomas – cancer developing in the in the thin cells covering the outer part of the cervix
    • Adenocarcinomas – cancer developing in the mucus-producing gland
    • Mixed Carcinomas – both adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas

Symptoms:

  • Early stages – usually no symptoms
  • Sometimes – vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, or pain during intercourse

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Pap test – doctor does a special pelvic examination and scrapes cells of the cervix to send on a slide to a lab to look at under a microscope
  • HPV DNA test – (generally recommended for women over 30) used to determine if the patient may have HPV (a common cause of cervical cancer) that may lead to cervical cancer

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the cancer by removing the uterus and cervix
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens include radiation and/or chemotherapy

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Coloretcal Cancer

Definition:

  • Cancer that forms in the colon and the rectum

Symptoms:

  • Change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, abdominal discomfort, weakness, and fatigue

 Diagnostic Tests:

  • Examining inside the colon – a long, flexible, soft tube attached to a video camera to look at the entire colon and rectum for abnormal tissue, polyps, or bleeding
  • CAT Scan – combining multiple scan images to create a detailed photos of inside the colon

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the cancer, sometimes part of the colon
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens include radiation, targeted drug, and/or chemotherapy

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Leukemia

Definition:

  • A cancer of blood cells, that begins in the bone marrow
  • Leukemia usually starts in the white blood cells of the body. These white cells are what help the body fight infections. With leukemia, the white blood cells are not normal and so do not work properly.

Symptoms:

  • Fever, chills, fatigue, feeling weak, swollen lymph nodes, frequent infections, loss of weight, easy bleeding or bruising, excessive sweating, and bone pain

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Physical exam: the doctor will look for signs of leukemia
  • Blood tests: looking at a sample of blood under a microscope to check the different kinds of blood cells and checking the number of white blood cells and different platelets. From this sample, the doctor can determine if there are abnormal blood cells that look like leukemia cells.
  • Bone marrow test: (doctor may recommend) removing a sample of bone marrow to see if there are leukemia cells

Treatment:

  • Various treatment regimens include radiation, biological, targeted, and/or chemotherapy
  • Stem cell transplant: procedure to replace diseased bone marrow with a healthy bone marrow
    • Before this procedure, one receives high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy to destroy the diseased cells  

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Lung Cancer

Definition:

  • Cancer that forms in the cells of the lung

Symptoms:

  • New cough that does not go away, coughing up blood, chest pain, bone pain, and headaches

 Diagnostic Tests:

  • Imaging tests: an X-ray image of the lungs is taken to reveal if there is an abnormal mass
  • Sputum cytology: if one has the abnormal cough as a symptom of lung cancer, and the sputum is looked at, it can reveal the presence of lung caner cells
  • Biopsy: a sample that is taken in order to be tested and analyzed

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the cancer, sometimes a small, large, or the entire section of one lung
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens include radiation, targeted drug, and/or chemotherapy

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Lymphoma

Definition:

  • Cancer of the lymphatic system
  • Types
    • Two main types of Lymphoma, based on the type of lymphocyte that is abnormal
      • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
      • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Symptoms:

  • The most common symptom is enlarged lymph nodes – these are painless lumps under the skin
  • Persistent fatigue, fever and chills, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, coughing, itching, and loss of appetite
  • Sometimes the only symptom is being tired all the time

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Physical Examination: doctor will evaluate size of lymph nodes to see if they are enlarged
  • Blood and urine tests: used to see if patient may have infection or other diseases
  • Imaging tests: done to look for tumors in the body by using an X-ray, CT, MRI, or PET scan
  • Biopsy: analyzing lymph node tissue to see what type of lymphoma, if the patient has it
  • Bone marrow: doctor may request a biopsy of the patient’s bone marrow to see if the disease has spread

Treatment:

  • Staging
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens include radiation, stem cell transplant, and/or chemotherapy 

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Ovarian Cancer

Definition:

  • Cancer that forms in the tissues of the ovary

Symptoms:

  • In early stages it is rare to have any symptoms
  • Abdominal bloating or swelling, quickly feeling full when eating, unexpected weight loss, pelvis discomfort, and frequent urination

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Pelvic examination: genitals carefully inspected and doctor checks for abnormalities
  • Imaging tests: Ultrasound or CT scan to take an image of the ovaries
  • Surgery: remove a sample tissue to confirm a diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the cancer, sometimes the ovaries, the uterus, and nearby lymph nodes (to see if the cancer has spread)
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Treatment regimens include chemotherapy

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Pancreatic Cancer

Definition:

  • A disease in which malignant cancer cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas

Symptoms:

  • Yellowing of the skins or eyes, change in color of urine and stool, pain in abdomen or middle of the back, bloating, nausea, lack of appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and blood clots

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Imaging tests: done to visualize internal organs to diagnose cancer – done through an ultrasound, CT, or MRI
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound: using a scope with an ultrasound device to take internal pictures in the abdomen of various organs from the inside
  • Biopsy: remove a sample of tissue for examination

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the cancer, sometimes a part of the pancreas
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens include radiation, targeted, and/or chemotherapy

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Prostate Cancer

Definition:

  • Cancer that forms in the tissues of the prostate, usually in older men

 Symptoms:

  • Painful urination, inability in starting to urinate, weak urine flow, trouble emptying the bladder completely, and blood in urine or semen

 Diagnostic Tests:

  • Digital Rectal Exam: doctor examines the prostate to see if there are any abnormalities
  • Prostate-specific antigen: a blood sample taken to check if it is abnormal- indicating the possibility of a prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement, or cancer
  • Ultrasound: used to evaluate and view the prostate and make a picture of the gland
  • Biopsy: collecting a sample of cells from the prostate tissue to be analyzed in order to determine if there are cancer cells

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the cancer, sometimes the prostate gland 
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens include radiation, hormone, immunotherapy, and/or chemotherapy

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Skin Cancer

Definition:

  • Cancer that forms in the tissues of the skin
  • Three main types
    • Basal Cell Carcinoma: slow-growing and barely spreads, being 90% of all skin cancers
    • Squamous cell: more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, and grows deep below the skin allowing for the cancer to potentially spread to other parts of the body
    • Melanoma (more aggressive): less common than basal and squamous cell carcinoma, but much more dangerous

Symptoms:

  • The symptoms vary from person to person
  • Common ones
    • Change on the skin, such as a new pearly bump or spot that changes in size, shape, or color
    • Bump or spot that changes feelings, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain
    • The spot itself varies, some are waxy, some are red that may bleed and develop into a crust, some are flat spots that are rough, dry or scaly

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Examining the skin: doctor may examine the skin to see if there are any changes
  • Biopsy: removing a small sample of the suspicious looking skin for testing in order to determine if there is cancer
    • This is the only way to find out for sure if the patient has skin cancer

Treatment:

  • Staging
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens
    • Freezing: destroy early skin cancers by freezing them
    • Surgery: doctor cuts out the cancerous tissue and a surrounding margin of some healthy skin
    • Mohs surgery: doctor removes the skin growth layer by layer through examining each one under a microscope until there are no more abnormal cells
    • Radiation, photodynamic, biological, and/or chemotherapy 

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Stomach Cancer

Definition:

  • Also called Gastric Cancer
  • A cancer that forms in tissues lining the stomach
  • Not very common, and decreasing in incidence
  • Types
    • Adenocarcinoma: cancer that begins in the mucus cells of the stomach lining and the most common type
      • Proximal stomach cancer (Type of Adenocarcinoma): cancerous cells forming in the first part of the stomach where the esophagus joins the stomach
      • Diffuse stomach cancer (Aggressive Type of Adenocarcinoma): cancer that grows rapidly within the stomach wall
    • Non-cardia stomach cancer (Distal Stomach Cancer): related to long periods of inflammation and irritation in the lower part of the stomach

 Symptoms:

  •  Abdominal pain or discomfort, loss of appetite, heartburn, nausea and vomiting, bloating or swelling, diarrhea or constipation, bloody or black stools, fatigue, and unintentional weight loss

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Upper Endoscopy: Tiny camera to see inside the stomach: camera is passed down the throat so the doctor can look for signs of cancer while patient is asleep
  • Imaging tests: look for stomach cancer by CT, PET Scan, or X-ray. Sometimes a special stomach test called Barium Swallow, where a patient drinks a white liquid and then X-rays are taken to see where the liquid goes in the stomach
  • Exploratory surgery: recommended to see if the cancer has spread beyond the stomach

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the cancer, sometimes the tumor, a portion of the stomach, or even the entire stomach
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens include radiation, targeted drug, and/or chemotherapy

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Thyroid Cancer

Definition:

  • Cancer that forms in the thyroid

Symptoms:

  • Hoarseness when speaking, trouble swallowing, swollen glands in the neck, difficultly breathing, undying pain in the throat or neck, and a cough that does not go away

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Physical exam: doctor will look for changes in the thyroid
  • Blood test: used to see if thyroid is functioning normally
  • Biopsy: doctor will take a sample of the tissue to see if there are cancer cells
  • Imaging tests: doctor will use these to see if cancer has spread beyond the thyroid through a CT, PET, or ultrasound scan

 Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the cancer, sometimes most or all of the thyroid  
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens include radiation, targeted drug, hormone, and/or chemotherapy

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Uterine Cancer

Definition:

  • A cancer that forms in the cells of the uterus, the organ in a woman’s pelvis
  • Two main types of uterine cancer
    • Endometrial cancer: beginning in the lining of the uterus
    • Uterine sarcoma: a rare cancer beginning in the muscle or other tissues in the uterus

Symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, and pain during intercourse

Diagnostic Tests:

  • Pelvic exam- where the doctor examines outer and inner parts of the genital area
  • Pelvic Ultrasound:  sound waves to create pictures of the uterus, using a scope to examine the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium), taking a biopsy

Treatment:

  • Surgery
    • Surgery is done to take out the cancer, sometimes the entire uterus
    • The cancer tissue is sent for pathology so it can be “staged” based on how far it has spread
    • It can be staged from 1 to 4, where 1 has not spread and 4 being that it has spread a lot
  • Various treatment regimens include radiation, hormone, and/or chemotherapy