Types of cancer a z what types of tumors are there the glossary on cancer i

Cancer is a term for many different diseases with one thing in common. Formerly healthy cells divide uncontrollably, displace their neighboring cells and can even invade foreign tie.

In addition to organs such as kidneys and lungs, the blood, bones or tie can also be affected. Depending on the site of origin, the cancer differs in its characteristics. Learn more in our cancer glossary.

The glossary of cancer types is currently under construction and is constantly being expanded. In order to ensure that news and articles on KREBS& ICH to miss, just subscribe to our newsletter.

Cancer types A-Z

Pancreatic cancer (pancreatic carcinoma)

The pancreas, also called pancreas by experts, is an endogenous gland with two important functions. For one thing, it provides important messenger substances (hormones) for the body's sugar balance, for example insulin. This is done via so-called hormone-producing cells. On the other hand, pancreatic tie produces digestive juices.

Both hormone-producing cells and the remaining pancreatic tie can form tumors. In this case, the hormone-producing cells usually form benign tumors, while the pancreatic tie usually forms malignant tumors.

In the years 2011 to 2016, approximately 22.100 people in Germany suffer from pancreatic cancer. Thus, pancreatic cancer is one of the more common types of tumors. The probability of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer increases with age.

To date, there are no effective measures for early detection of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic carcinoma rarely causes symptoms in the early stages.

Back pain is often a first symptom, a feeling of prere in the upper abdomen or abdominal pain also occur. Usually the pain also occurs at night. Radiate in the back.

If the tumor blocks the bile duct, there are problems with fat digestion. Fat is increasingly excreted in the stool. So-called fatty stools develop, which are lighter in color and more odorous than normal stools.

None of the symptoms listed are specific to pancreatic cancer. They occur in other diseases as well. Not all patients with pancreatic cancer show these symptoms.

The substance CA 19-9 is suitable for monitoring the course of the disease. Ca 19-9 occurs in the tie of the pancreas. The concentration in the blood is increased in most patients with pancreatic cancer. Since an elevated CA19-19 value can also occur in other diseases, the value is not suitable for diagnosing pancreatic cancer.

Bladder cancer (urinary bladder carcinoma)

Bladder cancer usually develops in the mucosal layer lining the bladder. This tumor is also called urothelial carcinoma. 90% of tumors in the urinary bladder are urothelial carcinomas. Only 10% originate from other ties.

Because of its close proximity in the genitourinary system, spread to the renal pelvis, ureters, or parts of the urethra is possible.

Men are significantly more likely to be affected by bladder cancer than women. This difference is due to smoking behavior and has been decreasing for years. In 2016, 11.470 women and 34980 men die of bladder cancer, most of them, however, of largely harmless forms.

To date, there are no test procedures that are used in early detection, i.e. in nationwide screening.

If, however, there is a suspicion of a disease, for example, cystoscopy is used as an examination method.

The early symptoms of bladder cancer resemble a bladder infection. Affected persons often have the feeling that they have to go to the toilet, but cannot urinate there. Blood in the urine can also occur.

If the cancer is already advanced, pain may occur in the abdomen and kidney area. The signs are not specific. Can also indicate other diseases. In any case, the doctor should check the cause.

The urinary bladder encloses a layer of muscle that is needed for emptying. If the tumor has already penetrated this layer, this is referred to as "muscle invasion.

The therapy of a muscle-invasive carcinoma of the urinary bladder differs from that of a non-muscle-invasive carcinoma of the urinary bladder.

Blood cancer (leukemias and lymphomas)

Cancers do not exclusively originate from organ tie. The cells of the blood can also degenerate. Multiplying uncontrollably. There is no tumor, but many individual cancer cells that multiply constantly. The various cancers that result from this are grouped together under the term blood cancer.

More precisely, lymphomas and leukemias are involved.


The lymphatic system is the waste disposal system of the human body. Substances that we no longer need are transported away via a system of lymphatic channels.

The cells of the lymphatic system are called lymphocytes. They form a subspecies of white blood cells. In the case of lymphoma, lymphocytes turn into cancer cells.

Lymphomas are further differentiated into Hodgkin's lymphomas, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and multiple myelomas.


Actually, the uncontrolled growth in leukemia does not affect the blood cells. Rather, it is the so-called hematopoietic cells from which the cancer arises. These are located in the bone marrow and normally ensure a sufficient supply of blood cells. In leukemia, a large number of white blood cells are produced, but they do not mature. This means that the blood is flooded with many half-finished white blood cells. In addition, the normal hematopoietic cells are displaced. This shifts the entire balance of blood cells.

Leukemias are distinguished on the basis of two aspects. If symptoms appear quickly (within days), it is called acute leukemia; if the disease begins more gradually, it is called chronic leukemia. On the basis of the cells affected, a further distinction is made between lymphatic and myeloid leukemias.

Breast cancer (mammary carcinoma)

Breast cancer, also known as mammary carcinoma, is a malignant degeneration of the breast tie. In most cases, the glandular tie is affected.

Tumors often occur in the upper, outer part of the chest, i.e. near the armpit. Only rarely does a lump remain. Often tumors develop in different places in the chest.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. According to current data, about 12.5% of women develop breast cancer during their lifetime, about 60% following menopause.

Men are also affected by breast cancer, accounting for one percent of all new cases.

There are various examination options for the early detection of tumors of the breast tie. From the age of 30. From the age of 18, a palpation examination can be carried out by a doctor at yearly intervals. Imaging by mammography is performed between the age of 50 and the age of breast cancer. And the 69. The examination is covered by the health insurance every 2 years after the age of 25.

If a BRCA1, BRCA2 or RAD51C mutation is present, the likelihood of developing the disease later in life is increased. In these cases a closer control is recommended. A palpation examination already from the 25. age and at six-monthly intervals every two years. An ultrasound examination can be performed between the 25. and the 70. Mammograms should be performed every six months after the age of 40, and annually thereafter. Likewise, the examination by means of magnetic resonance imaging is available from the age of 25. Year of life once a year. Mammography from the age of 40. The same tests are available annually from the age of 25 onwards. The examinations used are chosen in consultation with the treating oncologist.

At the beginning of breast cancer there are no complaints. Suspicious abnormalities in both men and women are new hardenings or lumps in the breast or swellings in the armpit, below the collarbone or next to the breastbone. Changes in the breasts, for example in shape or size, or in the skin, such as retractions, should also be clarified by the gynecologist or family doctor.

Fortunately, in most cases the changes are benign. In women, the firmness of the breast tie also changes during the menstrual cycle.

In the course of the diagnosis, further characteristics of the tumor are examined on the basis of a tie sample. Breast cancer is divided into hormone-sensitive and hormone-insensitive tumors, as well as HER2-positive and HER2-negative tumors.

"Hormone-sensitive" or "hormone receptor-positive" is the term used to describe breast cancer tie in which the presence of female sex hormones increases growth. The abbreviations ER+ and PgR+ are also commonly used. Patients with hormone-sensitive breast cancer benefit from anti-hormone therapy.

HER2 is a docking site (receptor) for so-called growth factors. These growth factors, as the name implies, cause further growth of cancer cells. If a particularly large number of these HER2 structures are present in the tumor tie, the disease is referred to as HER2-positive breast cancer. Drugs that are specifically directed against the HER2 structure can be used to good effect.

If the tumor tie is neither hormone-sensitive nor HER2-positive, it is referred to as triple-negative breast cancer.

With this information, the attending physician selects the therapy.

Colorectal cancer

At a length of about 5.3 to 8.5 meters, cancer in the intestine can arise in many different places. The upper part of the intestine, the small intestine, is the longest section of the intestine at 4 to 7 meters and is responsible for absorbing most nutrients. The large intestine is much shorter at 1.2 -1.5 meters and ends in the rectum, also called rectum. Here the food pulp is deprived of water and the stool is formed. The tumors arise from the mucosal tie lining the inner surface of the intestine.

Despite its comparatively short length, most colorectal cancers affect the colon. In this case, one also speaks of a colorectal carcinoma.

Tumors in the small intestine, small bowel cancer, occur less frequently.

The so-called anal carcinoma, also called anal cancer occurs at the end of the intestine in the rectum. This is also a rather rare form of cancer.

Ovarian cancer (ovarian carcinoma)

Malignant tumors can form not only in the uterus, but also in a woman's ovaries. The ovaries not only play an important role in egg maturation and thus fertility, they also perform important functions in hormone balance.

Most ovarian tumors arise from the glandular tie of the fallopian tubes or ovaries. Some cancer cells also originate in certain cells of the peritoneum.

Very rarely it happens that the oocytes or their precursors degenerate themselves.

At 4.8% of cancer cases, ovarian cancer ranks as the 5th most common cancer in women. The risk of a malignant neoplasm increases with age. On average, patients are diagnosed at 68 years of age.

Two methods can be used for early detection of ovarian cancer. The ultrasound examination via the vagina and the determination of a marker in the blood, the CA-125. Neither of these examinations has yet been shown to be beneficial. For this reason, these procedures are not usually covered by statutory health insurance. Both tests belong to the group of individual health services, IGeL for short.

Ovarian cancer remains without symptoms for a long time. Non-specific indications are persistent pain in the abdomen, swelling of the abdomen as well as bloating and indigestion. Unusual cycle changes, spotting or bleeding between periods can also indicate ovarian cancer.

Therefore, these symptoms should always be clarified by a doctor.

The so-called "BRCA mutation" plays a role in the decision for a form of therapy.

The alteration of the BRCA gene is, as it were, a risk factor for these and other tumor diseases (z.B. breast cancer) and is passed on within the family.

After the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, a test for the said mutation is not performed for risk assessment, but to assist the physician in evaluating treatment options.

Gallbladder cancer / bile duct cancer (gallbladder carcinoma)

The gallbladder and bile ducts play an important role in digesting food in the intestines. The gallbladder lies below the liver. Is connected to it by the bile ducts. It is a kind of temporary storage for bile, which is not needed for digestion. Bile is produced in the liver. The bile ducts connect the liver, gallbladder and intestines. In the case of tumor disease, the outflow of bile into the intestine may be impaired.

Tumors in the biliary system are a rather rare cancer that mainly develops at an older age. The proportion of diseased women is slightly higher than that of diseased men. About 5400 people per year in Germany are diagnosed with gallbladder cancer or. Bile duct cancer.

So far, there are no effective measures for early detection of cancer of the biliary system.

The symptoms of gallbladder or. Bile duct carcinomas result from a disturbed outflow of bile into the small intestine. There may be a yellowing of the skin and eyes, as well as a dark urine and a light stool discoloration. Itching may also occur. Some sufferers experience nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain. Rapid medical clarification is required here, because these symptoms also occur in (non-malignant) diseases of the liver.

The type of therapy depends on the stage of the cancer. Both tumor size and presence play a role in the evaluation. The spread of metastases plays a role. The patient's general health is also taken into account.

Skin cancer

The largest organ of the human body is the skin. As a barrier to the outside world, it has an important protective function in the defense against harmful substances and pathogens. This protective wall is composed of different cell types. Unfortunately, these cells can also degenerate. you develop malignant growths.

With the type of cell affected, the cancer also differs.

If the disease originates from cells of the uppermost skin layer, it is referred to as squamous cell carcinoma or spinalioma. If the basal cells lying somewhat deeper in the skin are the cause of the cancer, the term basal cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma is commonly used. Since there is no dark discoloration of the skin, spinalioma and basal cell carcinoma are also referred to as white or light skin cancer.

Melanocytes are skin cells that contain a dark pigment that protects us from the sun's rays. When the cancer originates from melanocytes, it is called a melanoma or malignant (malignant) melanoma.

One speaks of the malignant melanoma also with the black skin cancer. The name comes from the dark coloration that spreads with the dye contained in melanocytes.

Brain tumors (CNS tumors)

The human brain is a complex system of nerve fibers and networks that we still do not fully understand. Together with the spinal cord, it forms the central nervous system – CNS for short.

Depending on the type of tie they originate from, brain tumors have different names. Gliomas are the most common type of brain tumors, these arise for example from the glia cells. Ependymomas, schwannomas, neurinomas and neurofibrons also belong to the category of brain tumors.

The brain is rarely the starting point for cancer. Just 7430 men and women developed a tumor of the central nervous system in 2016. The risk of developing the disease increases with age.

brain metastases are much more frequent. In these cases, tumor tie migrates from the organ of origin (z.B. the lungs) into the brain.

So far, there are no meaningful examinations for the early detection of brain tumors. The exception is present, very rare hereditary disease, such as neurofibromatosis, von Hippel-Lindau or Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

Brain tumors do not cause uniform symptoms. The symptoms a patient develops are strongly related to the affected area of the brain. Occurrences may include vomiting, problems with vision and speech, headaches, paralysis, epileptic seizures, or behavioral changes.

Benign tumors, which neither grow rapidly nor destroy healthy tie, are also a problem in the brain. They exert prere on the affected area. Interfere with their function.

For the classification of brain tumors a system of the World Health Organization is used, which divides the tumor into 4 grades. Grade I stands for a completely benign tumor, grade IV for a malignant and aggressive tumor.

The degree of disease and the location of the tumor in the brain are important factors in the treatment decision.

Testicular cancer (testicular carcinoma)

90 percent of cancers in the testicles originate in the so-called germ cells. This is also where the term germ cell tumor comes from. In most cases, only one testicle is affected.

In the course of the disease, the cancer can also spread to the epididymis and vas deferens.

With about 4000 men developing testicular cancer each year, this cancer is one of the rare tumor diseases. A peculiarity is that men aged 25-45 years are more often affected than older men.

The German Society of Urology recommends that men between the ages of 14 and 45 have their testicles palpated regularly. In the case of painless, hard swellings or lumps in or on the testicles, medical clarification is necessary and important.

Besides swellings and nodules, there are other symptoms that can be caused by testicular cancer. These include a pulling or tightening/heavy sensation in the testicles or groin area, accumulation of fluid in the scrotum, and sensitivity to touch of the testicles.

In some cases of testicular cancer, the increased production of female hormones can also lead to breast growth.

The type of therapy depends on the tie characteristics of the tumor, because there are very different types of cells in the testicles.If the tumor forms from the sperm-producing cells, it is called a semion; if it arises from other germ cells, it is called a non-semion. It is also possible for testicular cancer to form from "scattered" testicular tie that is not in the testicles. Then one speaks of extragonadal germ cell tumors.

The initial tie of the tumor is determined at diagnosis by histology (examination of a tie sample under a microscope).

Further information

Interesting facts about wanting to have children despite cancer can be found here.

Bone cancer (osteosarcoma)

In primary bone cancer, the cancer arises from bone cells. Since these are called osteoclasts and osteoblasts, they are also called osteosarcoma.

Tumors that develop from bone marrow or cartilage tie are less common.

Bone metastases are to be differentiated from these. These have migrated from a tumor in other tie into the bone. Thus they do not consist of bone cells, but belong to the tie type of the original tumor. Bone metastases are also called secondary bone cancer.

Primary bone cancer is a rare form of cancer. In Germany, about 800 people are diagnosed with bone metastases every year. Men are affected slightly more often than women. Bone cancer is also more common in children and adolescents than in adults.

Both bone cancer and bone metastases are often initially noticeable by pain. These also occur at rest, often at night. In primary bone cancer, swellings may be. Movement restrictions occur in the affected area. This often happens above or below the knee joint or on the upper arm, or. of the shoulder. The affected bones are more unstable. Often fracture even when a slight force is applied.

There is no screening specifically for bone cancer in Germany. The best chance of a quick diagnosis is to go to the doctor early, when unusual symptoms appear.

The treatment of primary and secondary bone cancer differs considerably, since bone metastases consist of a different tie type than bone tumors.

Bone metastases are treated with the same drugs as their tumor of origin.

Lung cancer (bronchial carcinoma)

If tumors or growths occur in the lungs, they are benign in over 90% of cases. If, however, the tumors invade and destroy neighboring tie, the disease is called lung cancer; experts also call it bronchial carcinoma. Tumors frequently occur in the upper sections of the lungs, as these come into contact with pollutants more frequently. In principle, however, the cancer can develop in all areas of the lung. If the cancer forms in the mucous membranes of the lungs, it is called squamous cell carcinoma. If it originates in the alveoli of the lungs, it is an adenocarcinoma.

Depending on the findings, a distinction is made between small cell bronchial carcinoma (engl. SCLC: small cell lung cancer) and non-small cell lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer). NSCLC: non small cell lung cancer). Non-small cell bronchial carcinomas usually grow more slowly than small cell bronchial carcinomas.

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in Germany. In 2016, 35.960 men and 21.500 women diagnosed with lung cancer. This discrepancy is due to the difference in smoking behavior between men and women. However, the numbers are steadily approaching. Accordingly, bronchial carcinoma is the second most common cancer in men and third in women.

In the case of lung cancer, there are no symptoms for a long time. Indications are cough or hoarseness lasting for weeks, shortness of breath, chest pain or bloody sputum. Especially long-time smokers or passive smokers should have these symptoms clarified by a doctor.

To decide whether a patient will benefit from targeted tumor therapy, doctors examine the tumor tie for certain characteristics. Of interest in lung cancer are the structures "BRAF-V600" and "EGFR", both of which promote tumor growth. These can be targeted with drugs. The structure "PD-L1" is also tested for. With it the cancer suppresses the immune system. PD-L1" can also be targeted in the same way.

Stomach cancer (gastric carcinoma)

The wall of the stomach is lined with a mucous membrane. This consists in part of glandular cells that are responsible for the formation of digestive juice. In most cases of stomach cancer, the tumor forms from these cells. This is called adenocarcinoma.

Only if the majority of the tumor is located in the stomach and at least two centimeters from the entrance to the stomach, a stomach cancer is present. In other cases, it is an AEG tumor or esophageal cancer, even if a small part of the tumor is still in the stomach.

With a total of 15.140 new cases in 2016, stomach cancer ranks 8th in men and 10th in women among cancers in Germany. Men are affected more often than women. The risk of contracting the disease increases from the age of 50. The incidence of cancer increases with age.

There are no complaints that can be clearly attributed to a stomach carcinoma. Indications may be:

– Loss of appetite, especially regarding meat or fish – Feeling of fullness, prere, or pain in the upper abdomen – Difficulty swallowing – Frequent nausea and vomiting – Difficulty swallowing – Unusual dark coloration of stools

These symptoms can also be caused by other diseases. You should always be on the alert if symptoms persist over a long period of time.

In Germany, there are no routine tests for gastric carcinoma. The cancer screening programs in Germany do not provide for this. Stomach cancer occurs rather rarely, so healthy people should not be burdened by an examination and a possible false positive result.

The so-called Lauren classification plays a role in the assessment of gastric carcinoma. This is an assessment of how similar cancer cells and healthy cells are. A distinction is made between the "intestinal type", in which the cancerous tie shows only a few differences from healthy tie, and the "diffuse type", in which there are clear deviations. Also a mixture of intestinal. Diffuse type is possible. One speaks then of a mixed type.

Prostate cancer (prostate carcinoma)

The prostate, also called the prostate gland, is a gland that surrounds the upper part of the urethra in men. It is responsible for the production of seminal fluid. In the course of his life, a man's prostate grows from the size of a walnut to the size of a tangerine. In most cases, this enlargement is benign. Requires treatment only if symptoms are present.

However, due to changes in the genetic material of the cells, a malignant tumor can develop.


Nearly 11% of all men will receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer in their lifetime. This makes prostate cancer the most common type of cancer in men. The risk of disease increases with age. While statistically only one in 5.100 36-year-olds will develop the disease in the course of the next 10 years, in 75-year-olds it is one in 19. Men under 50 years of age are unlikely to have prostate cancer.

Early detection

Methods used for early detection of prostate cancer include PSA measurement and prostate palpation. The goal is to find fast-growing, aggressive, localized tumors. Doctors should provide information about these examinations at the patient's request. It makes sense to carry out early detection from the age of 45, when the expected life expectancy is at least 10 years. It is important to deal with the topic in advance. Here, the pros and cons have to be weighed, such as the significance of the test results, as well as their consequences.

In the case of an enlargement of the prostate, symptoms only appear when the function of the urethra is impaired. Increased urinary urgency and difficulty, sometimes even pain, in urinating is the result. Ejaculation may also prove problematic or painful.

Severe pain in the lower back, pelvis, hips or thighs may also be a clue.

Even if there is usually a harmless reason behind the symptoms mentioned, it makes sense to have the background clarified by a doctor.

It goes without saying that a doctor should also be consulted if there is blood in the urine or seminal fluid.

Tumor characteristics that are decisive for therapy

The prostate-specific antigen – PSA for short – provides an estimate of the size of the tumor. PSA is a protein structure formed in the prostate gland. The more prostate tie there is, the more PSA there is in the blood.

However, other factors can also lead to an increase in the PSA value, for example a recent ejaculation of semen.

The PSA value is therefore more suitable for monitoring, i.e. it can provide information about how the tumor size changes during therapy.

Important: An elevated PSA value measured once does not correspond to a confirmed diagnosis, but clarification is advisable!

The so-called Gleason score shows how much the cells of the tumor tie differ from the cells of the normal prostate tie. The lower the score on the scale of 2-10, the more similar the tumor cells are to healthy cells. The prognosis with a low Gleason score is more favorable than with a high score.

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