Types of Cancer

There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Cancer can develop in almost any organ or tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin, bones or nerve tissue.

Cancer grows out of normal cells in the body, which are essentially the building blocks of living things. Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when the body doesn't need them. Cancer occurs when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too quickly. Cancer can also occur when cells lose the ability to die. Cancerous cells are also referred to as malignant cells.

Cancer Types: Benign vs. Malignant

In terms of cancerous and non-cancerous cells, it is important to understand:

  • Benign tumors are not cancer. These tumors can usually be removed and cells from them do not spread to other parts of the body. These types of tumors are rarely a threat to life.

  • Malignant tumors are cancer. Cancer cells can spread to nearby tissue and organs. They can invade the bloodstream and spread cancer from the original tumor to form new tumors in other parts of the body. The spread of cancer is called metastasis.
Most types of cancer are named for the location (organ or type of cell) in which they originate. When cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the new tumor will have the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary tumor.

See a Cancer Care Specialist

For more information about any of the cancer types or cancer treatment options, or to schedule an oncology consultation, please call the
Natalie Warren Bryant Cancer Center at 918-494-2273.

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