There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and brain cancer starts in the brain. Cancers also may be described by the type of cell that formed them, such as an epithelial cell or a squamous cell.
Here are a few of the most common types of cancer;
This type of cancer originates from the epithelial layer of cells that form the lining of external parts of the body or the internal linings of organs within the body.
Carcinomas, malignancies of epithelial tissue, account for 80 to 90 percent of all cancer cases since epithelial tissues are most abundantly found in the body from being present in the skin to the covering and lining of organs and internal passageways, such as the gastrointestinal tract.
Carcinomas usually affect organs or glands capable of secretion including breast, lungs, bladder, colon and prostate.
Carcinomas are of two types – adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma develops in an organ or gland and squamous cell carcinoma originates in squamous epithelium. Adenocarcinomas may affect mucus membranes and are first seen as a thickened plaque-like white mucosa. These are rapidly spreading cancers.
Examples of carcinomas include prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer.
These cancers originate in connective and supportive tissues including muscles, bones, cartilage and fat. Bone cancer is one of the sarcomas termed osteosarcoma. It affects the young most commonly. Sarcomas appear like the tissue in which they grow.
Other examples include chondrosarcoma (of the cartilage), leiomyosarcoma (smooth muscles), rhabdomyosarcoma (skeletal muscles), Mesothelial sarcoma or mesothelioma (membranous lining of body cavities), Fibrosarcoma (fibrous tissue), Angiosarcoma or hemangioendothelioma (blood vessels), Liposarcoma (adipose or fatty tissue), Glioma or astrocytoma (neurogenic connective tissue found in the brain), Myxosarcoma (primitive embryonic connective tissue) and Mesenchymous or mixed mesodermal tumor (mixed connective tissue types).
Cancers that begin in the blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow are called leukemias. These cancers do not form solid tumors. Instead, large numbers of abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells and leukemic blast cells) build up in the blood and bone marrow, crowding out normal blood cells. The low level of normal blood cells can make it harder for the body to get oxygen to its tissues, control bleeding, or fight infections.
There are four common types of leukemia, which are grouped based on how quickly the disease gets worse (acute or chronic) and on the type of blood cell the cancer starts in (lymphoblastic or myeloid). Acute forms of leukemia grow quickly and chronic forms grow more slowly.
Lymphoma is cancer that begins in lymphocytes (T cells or B cells). These are disease-fighting white blood cells that are part of the immune system. In lymphoma, abnormal lymphocytes build up in lymph nodes and lymph vessels, as well as in other organs of the body.
There are two main types of lymphoma:
Hodgkin lymphoma – People with this disease have abnormal lymphocytes that are called Reed-Sternberg cells. These cells usually form from B cells.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma – This is a large group of cancers that start in lymphocytes. The cancers can grow quickly or slowly and can form from B cells or T cells.
Multiple myeloma is cancer that begins in plasma cells, another type of immune cell. The abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, build up in the bone marrow and form tumors in bones all through the body. Multiple myeloma is also called plasma cell myeloma and Kahler disease
Melanoma is cancer that begins in cells that become melanocytes, which are specialized cells that make melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color). Most melanomas form on the skin, but melanomas can also form in other pigmented tissues, such as the eye.
Find out more about the types of cancer here