Words with Cancer: Cancer, Tumor, Neoplasm, Melanoma & Carcinoma

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There’re a bunch of medical glossary associated with cancer. And people often get confused among cancer, tumor, neoplasm, melanoma and carcinoma. What exactly do they mean and how they differentiate with others?

tumor, neoplasm, melanoma and carcinoma
Cancerous cells

Cancer

Cancer refers to a disease in which abnormal cells divide without control. These cells can invade nearby tissues, attack healthy cells and cause important organs to break down. They can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. There are several main types of cancer. For example:

  • Carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.
  • Sarcoma is a cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.
  • Leukemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue, such as the bone marrow, and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.
  • Lymphoma and multiple myeloma are cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.
  • Central nervous system cancers are cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

In fact, cancer has now become the world’s biggest killer. Millions of people die of cancer around the world throughout a year. Sadly, some types of cancer have no cures, like pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. Still, scientists and researchers around the world have been combating cancer to find out possible treatments and cures for different types of cancer.

tumor, neoplasm, melanoma and carcinoma
Pink ribbon for cancer

Tumor

When cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should, they form tumor. Tumors may be benign (non-cancerous, not cancer), pre-cancerous (pre-malignant) or malignant (cancer). Another name of tumor is neoplasm.

Neoplasm

Neoplasm are formed when mutated cells keep dividing and do not die when they should. Basically, it’s just another name of tumor.

Melanoma

Melanoma is a specific type of cancer that only grows in cells that produce pigment melanin. It may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), but can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines.

tumor, neoplasm, melanoma and carcinoma
Beware of melanoma!

Carcinoma

Carcinoma is a type of malignant tumor. It usually grows in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.

tumor, neoplasm, melanoma and carcinoma
Carcinoma under microscope.

 

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