Different types of cancer can behave very differently. For example, lung cancer and breast cancer are very different diseases. They grow at different rates and respond to different treatments. That is why people with cancer need treatment that is aimed at their own kind of cancer. AnMed Health offers a full array of various treatments to treat all types of cancer.
The information here is based on guidelines put together by The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of 21 of the world’s leading cancer centers. AnMed Health uses NCCN guidelines when building treatment plans. For a full discussion on treatment options, please talk to your doctor.
Cancer begins when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control. There are many kinds of cancer, but they all start because of this out-of-control growth of abnormal cells.
Cancer cells can also form more abnormal cells and invade other tissues, something that normal cells cannot do. Being able to grow out of control and invade other tissues is what makes a cell a cancer cell. In most cases, cancer cells form a tumor. But some cancers like leukemia rarely form tumors. Instead, these cancer cells are in the blood and bone marrow.
When cancer cells get into the bloodstream or lymph vessels, they can travel to other parts of the body. There they begin to grow and form new tumors that replace normal tissue. This process is called metastasis (muh-tas-tuh-sis).
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, your treatment team will need to determine the extent to which it has grown or spread. This is called staging. Staging is important because it helps your doctors plan your treatment and estimate the likely course of the disease. Staging usually is based on several factors, including:
- Location of the primary tumor
- The size and number of tumors
- Whether the cancer has travelled into lymph nodes
- Cell type and how closely the cancer cells resemble normal tissue
- Whether the cancer has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body).
Stages of cancer are usually labeled using Roman numerals I (one) through IV (four). As a rule, the lower the number, the less the cancer has spread and a higher number, such as stage IV (4), means a more advanced cancer.