What is Cancer?
In our bodies, we have “normal cells,” that grow and multiply, become old and are replaced by new cells. Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. These abnormal cells invade other tissues and organs and can spread to other parts of the body.
How Does Chemotherapy Work?
Chemotherapy attacks cells that rapidly divide (fast growing cells), including the cancer cells. It also interferes with cell division and cell reproduction. Chemotherapy can’t tell the difference between a “normal” cell and an “abnormal” cell. This is why, with certain drugs, “normal” cells are affected by the chemotherapy.
The Cancer Center at Wise Health System provides chemotherapy services to treat the following conditions:
A condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal. Having anemia can make you feel very tired or weak.
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is malignant (cancer) if the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.
Coagulation disorders deal with disruption of the body’s ability to control blood clotting. The most commonly known coagulation disorder is hemophilia, a condition in which patients bleed for long periods of time before clotting.
Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can also be named colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start. Most colorectal cancers begin as a growth called a polyp on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Some types of polyps can change into cancer over the course of several years, but not all polyps become cancer.
Gastrointestinal cancer refers to malignant conditions of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and accessory organs of digestion, including the esophagus, stomach, biliary system, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. The symptoms relate to the organ affected and can include obstruction (leading to difficulty swallowing or defecating), abnormal bleeding or other associated problems.
Cancers that are known collectively as head and neck cancers usually begin in the squamous cells that line the moist, mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck (for example, inside the mouth, the nose, and the throat). These squamous cell cancers are often referred to as squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. Head and neck cancers can also begin in the salivary glands, but salivary gland cancers are relatively uncommon. Salivary glands contain many different types of cells that can become cancerous, so there are many different types of salivary gland cancer.
Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One kind is Hodgkin lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells.
Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slow-growing) course and those that have an aggressive (fast-growing) course. These subtypes behave and respond to treatment differently. Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur in children and adults, and prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and the type of cancer.
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Also called Kahler disease, myelomatosis, and plasma cell myeloma.
A condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell).
Cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow (soft sponge-like tissue in the center of most bones) and causes large numbers of blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream. Bone marrow cancer includes leukemias and multiple myeloma.
Lung cancer starts when cells of the lung become abnormal and begin to grow out of control. As more cancer cells develop, they can form into a tumor and spread to other areas of the body. There are two main types of lung cancer: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Small Cell Lung Cancer.
An abnormal mass of tissue that usually does not contain cysts or liquid areas. Solid tumors may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Different types of solid tumors are named for the type of cells that form them. Examples of solid tumors are sarcomas, carcinomas, and lymphomas.