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Neoplasm or new growth which is synonymous with tumor may either be benign or malignant. Malignancy is similar to the term cancer. Cancer is a class of disorders characterized by rapid and uncontrolled cell multiplication that can lead to excessive growth of tissues. This disorder is one of the major causes of death particularly in developed countries affecting all ages but a higher risk is found among those people with advancing age.


Generally, malignant tumors differ from benign ones because of the following main features: first of all, malignant cells rapidly multiplies which has escaped the immunosurveillance performed by the members of the immune system and these cells grow so fast without any boundaries because they are not usually encapsulated; secondly, cancer cells invades by direct growth and extension into adjacent normal tissues termed as invasion; third, there is predominance of more anaplastic, undifferentiated and primitive cells which signify a higher degree of malignancy and lastly, cancer cells metastasizes or spread to distant sites or organs by implantation transported either through the bloodstream or the lymphatics .

Several explanations have been made with regards to how cancer cells are formed. One explanation is that formation of cancer is a failure of our immune system in short, when the theory of immunosurveillance fails, cancer cells are formed. This means that the host’s defense mechanisms specifically the macrophages or histiocytes, natural killer’s cells (NK cells) or the T lymphocytes have failed to control the rapid multiplication of cancer cells. Another explanation is the theory of carcinogenesis. This theory presents that gene mutations are caused by damage to the DNA of ordinary human cells. These many series of mutations may eventually lead to transformation of a normal cell into a pre-malignant cell then to a malignant cell bearing all the characteristics of malignancy as mentioned above. The mutations are usually caused by exposure to carcinogens such as chemical or physical agents (e.g. diethylstilbestrol or DES; hydrocarbons in cigarette smoking; toxins; radioactive substances like radiation in nuclear medicine laboratory and nuclear bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan) and due to certain viruses that can insert their DNA into the human genome (e.g. HPV 16, 18 and 31, HTLV, EBV). The last theory for cancer cell formation is the presence of oncogenes in some patients. This oncogene is inherited from previous generations and considered to be defective and vulnerable to mutations and possible cancer formation. By and large, there is no specific etiology for malignancy. It remains a multifactorial disease, interplay of different factors and although some of these risk factors can be avoided but still there is no known way to completely avoid the disease. An immune system that is competent is one important way to actively defend the body from any potential invaders and may possibly but not absolutely prevent formation of malignant cells.

There are many types of cancer. The severity of symptoms depends on the site and character of the malignancy and the presence of metastasis. A definitive diagnosis is made usually by a pathologist and requires histologic examination of a diseased tissue under a microscope. This is the gold standard in determining if a neoplasm is benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The tissue is obtained by biopsy or surgery (e.g. staging laparotomy). There are two ways of classifying cancer disorders: staging and grading. Grading is a measure of the degree of malignancy based on histologic examination of the cancer cells. The more undifferentiated, anaplastic and primitive the cancer cells are, the higher is the grade. The higher the grade, the degree of malignancy is greater and therefore, the prognosis and survival rate is poorer. The staging represents the extent of the malignant condition. This makes use of the formal mode of staging usually the TNM classification. The “T” stands for tumor size, “N” for node involvement and “M” for metastasis. An advanced stage like stage IV cancer usually signifies presence of metastasis whatever may be size of the tumor or node involvement. Proper grading and staging of cancer can guide the oncologists and surgeons in choosing the most effective treatment approach in the management of cancer.

The classification of cancers are based on the type of cell which resembles the neoplasm itself and, the nature of the tissue presumed to be the primary source or origin of the tumor. Ninety percent of cancers are epithelial tissue in origin. These cancers are mostly derived from the cells of the glandular epithelium of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. The rest of the cancers are connective tissue in origin. Examples are malignant tumors derived from the blood and bone marrow cells such as leukemia and lymphoma; mesenchymal cells known as sarcomas and mesothelial cells lining the membranes like the pleura or peritoneum such as the mesothelioma.

Cancers can be treated and some are cured but it will largely depend on the specific type, location, and stage at the time of initial evaluation. Methods of cancer treatment include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Further research will lead to development of more specific treatments that will target a particular type of cancer hence; better prognosis is possible especially if cancer has been detected in its earlier stages. In fact, some new drugs already exists which are used for specific type of cancer. In some developed countries, anti-cancer vaccines to prevent majority of cervical cancer cases are advocated especially for females belonging to the age group 9 – 22 years old. These vaccines are 100% effective in preventing HPV infections particularly strains type 16 and 18. Although it does not always follow that cancer is equated with death but still if left untreated, cancer will eventually progress to serious illness and imminent death.

Lung cancer particularly bronchogenic carcinoma remains to be the most lethal cancer with the highest fatality rate in both sexes. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men which is equivalent to breast cancer, being the most common cancer in women.

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Propecia tablet


Women still capable of childbearing should not use or handle crushed Propecia tablets. Propecia can cause birth defects in male fetuses. Propecia belongs to the group of medicines called enzyme inhibitors. It is used to treat urinary problems caused b more...

Lortab tablet


Combination medicines like Lortab contain narcotic analgesics (Hydrocodone) and Acetaminophen, and are used to relieve pain. This combination may provide better pain relief than either medicine used alone. In some cases, relief of pai more...

Premarin tablets


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Vicodin tablet


Combination medicines like Vicodin contain narcotic analgesics (Hydrocodone) and Acetaminophen, and are used to relieve pain. This combination may provide better pain relief than either medicine used alone. In some cases, relief of pain may come at lower more...

Climara patches


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Clonidine tablets

Clonidine HCL

Clonidine injection is used with injected pain medicine to treat pain in cancer patients. Be sure to tell your doctor of any allergies you have whether it is to medication or food, preservatives, or dyes. Tell your doctor immediately if you are, or bec more...

Synthroid tablets


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Ortho Cyclen

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Ortho Cyclen, also known as Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol, is one of a group of birth control pills containing a form of estrogen and a form of progesterone that work to stop the release of the egg during ovulation. Be sure to tell your doctor of more...

Morphine bottles


Morphine is a Narcotic Analgesic used to treat pain. Morphine works in the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. Be sure to tell your doctor of any allergies you have whether it is to medication or food, preservatives, or dyes. Tell your doctor more...

Cardura tablets


Cardura, also called Doxazosin, belongs to the general class of medicines called antihypertensives. It is used to treat high blood pressure. Cardura works by relaxing blood vessels so that blood passes more easily. It is also used to treat noncancerous en more...

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