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Diseases & Conditions

Provided below is general information about specific types of cancers and blood disorders. The needs of each patient are unique. Your medical oncologist can discuss with you information about your condition and treatment options.

Not all specific types of cancer and blood disorders are listed here. Call the Cancer Answer Line for more information about specific types of cancer.

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Overview

Adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL; also called acute lymphocytic leukemia) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. This type of cancer usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated.

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Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Overview

Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets.

Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. This type of cancer usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated. It is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. AML is also called acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.

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Adrenal Tumors

Overview

Adrenal gland cancers are diseases in which a tumor – an abnormal uncontrolled growth of cells – originates in the tissues of the adrenal gland. There are two major types of cancer of the adrenal gland, both of which are rare: cancers of the cells in the adrenal medulla (the inner part of the adrenal gland) that produce adrenaline and noradrenaline; and cancers of the cells in the adrenal cortex (the outer part of the adrenal gland) that make corticosteroids.

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Adrenocortical Carcinoma

Overview

Adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the outer layer of the adrenal gland.

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Amyloidosis

Overview

Amyloidosis is when cells lose their ability to respond to controlling signals from immune cells. Plasma cells then divide and form abnormal proteins that damage the bone, bone marrow or other organs of the body.

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Anal Cancer

Overview

Anal Cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the anus.

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Anemia

Overview

Anemia is a blood disorder that occurs when there is not enough hemoglobin in a person's blood. Hemoglobin is a substance in the red blood cells that makes it possible for the blood to transport oxygen through the body. When a person develops anemia, he or she is said to be "anemic."

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Aplastic Anemia

Overview

A rare but extremely serious disorder that results from the unexplained failure of the bone marrow to produce blood cells. Failure of the bone marrow cell production can result from damage to the stem cells or to the environment.

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Benign Hematology

Overview

The field of hematology covers a wide spectrum of disorders. Some of these disorders are benign, meaning they resolve completely with therapy or do not cause symptoms and do not affect overall lifespan.

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Bile Duct Cancer

Overview

The bile ducts connect the liver to the intestine and their function is to drain the bile, a waste product of normally functioning liver cells, which are also called hepatocytes. Diseases of the bile ducts usually result in narrowing of the duct, which is called a stricture.

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Bladder Cancer

Overview

Bladder cancer is a disease in which a tumor (an abnormal uncontrolled growth of cells) is found in the tissues of the bladder. Bladder cancers can form in many locations in and around the bladder, including the ureters and the lining of the kidneys (called renal pelvis).

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Bone Cancer

Overview

Bone Cancer, also known as Osteosarcoma, usually starts in osteoblasts, which are a type of bone cell that grows into new bone tissue. Osteosarcoma is most common in teenagers and young adults. Rarely, osteosarcoma may be found in soft tissue or organs in the chest or abdomen.

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Brain Cancer (Brain Tumor)

Overview

An adult brain tumor is a disease in which abnormal cells form in the tissues of the brain. Brain tumors can occur in both adults and children. However, treatment for children may be different than treatment for adults.

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Breast Cancer

Overview

Breast cancer originates in the breast tissue. Like other cancers, breast cancer can invade and grow into the tissue surrounding the breast. It can also travel to other parts of the body and form new tumors, a process called metastasis.

For the latest information on breast health, cancer research and treatment options from a unique, multidisciplinary program, visit our Breast Center site.

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Cancer

Overview

Cancer is a disease that occurs when cells in the body begin to divide at a faster rate than the body requires. These rapidly dividing cells grow into a lump that is known as a tumor. The tumor can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

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Carcinoid Syndrome

Overview

Carcinoid tumors are slow-growing malignancies (cancerous growths) that usually occur in the ileum (the lower section of the small intestine), the appendix, and the rectum.

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Carcinoma of Unknown Primary

Overview

A carcinoma of unknown primary is a cancer that presents with distant metastases (spread of tumor) and the source of the cancer or primary site remains unknown. It is usually detected by a biopsy from a part of the body that does not produce that type of cancer, and no site of origin is identified.

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Cervical Cancer

Overview

Cervical cancer, or cancer of the cervix (the lower part of the womb), begins in the lining of the cervix. There are two main types of cancer of the cervix — squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. About 80% to 90% are squamous cell carcinomas, while 10%-20% are adenocarcinomas. If the cancer has characteristics of both kinds of cancer, it is called mixed carcinoma.

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Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Overview

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (also called CLL) is a blood and bone marrow disease that usually gets worse slowly. CLL is the second most common type of leukemia in adults. It often occurs during or after middle age; it rarely occurs in children.

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Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Overview

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) affects the myeloid cells. The disease usually affects people in their 50s and 60s but may affect a person at any age. The diagnosis of CML can be confirmed in most cases by the presence of an abnormal gene or chromosome - the Philadelphia chromosome.

There are three phases of CML: the chronic phase, which may last years; the accelerated phase, which may last months; and blast crisis, which is treated more like acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

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Colorectal Cancer

Overview

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer and cancer deaths in the United States and affects men and women equally. These cancers develop in the lining of the large intestine. Tumors may also develop in the lining of the very last part of the colon, called the rectum. Fortunately, Colorectal Cancer is preventable and curable if detected early.

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Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma

Overview

Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are types of Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma. Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are diseases in which lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) become malignant (cancerous) and affect the skin.In mycosis fungoides, T-cell lymphocytes become cancerous and affect the skin. In the Sézary syndrome, cancerous T-cell lymphocytes affect the skin and the peripheral blood.

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Endometrial Cancer

Overview

Endometrial cancer, or cancer of the endometrium, is a cancer that develops in the inner lining of the uterus (womb). This lining is called the endometrium.

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Esophageal Cancer

Overview

Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the esophagus.Esophageal cancer starts at the inside lining of the esophagus and spreads outward through the other layers as it grows.

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Ewing's Sarcoma

Overview

Central nervous system (CNS) embryonal tumors form in brain cells when the fetus is beginning to develop. The tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Most CNS embryonal tumors in children are malignant.

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Extrahepatic Bile Duct Cancer

Overview

Extrahepatic bile duct cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the part of bile duct that is outside the liver.

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Fabry's Disease

Overview

Fabry disease is caused by the lack of or faulty enzyme needed to metabolize lipids, fat-like substances that include oils, waxes, and fatty acids. The enzyme is known as ceramide trihexosidase, also called alpha-galactosidase-A. A mutation in the gene that controls this enzyme causes insufficient breakdown of lipids, which build up to harmful levels in the eyes, kidneys, autonomic nervous system, and cardiovascular system.

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Gallbladder Cancer

Overview

Gallbladder cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that lies just under the liver in the upper abdomen.

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Gaucher's Disease

Overview

Gaucher disease is an inherited metabolic disorder in which harmful quantities of a fatty substance called glucocerebroside accumulate in the spleen, liver, lungs, bone marrow, and sometimes in the brain.

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Hairy Cell Leukemia

Overview

Hairy cell leukemia is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). Hairy cell leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. This rare type of leukemia gets worse slowly or does not get worse at all. The disease is called hairy cell leukemia because the leukemia cells look "hairy" when viewed under a microscope.

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Head & Neck Cancer

Overview

Head and neck cancer refers to several types of cancers that affect the head and neck areas of the body. These cancers account for approximately 3 to 5 percent of all cancers in the United States. Head and neck cancer is more common in men and in people over age 50. These cancers are very treatable if caught early, and are easily preventable. The most common causes of head and neck cancer are tobacco and alcohol use.

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Hemophilia

Overview

Hemophilia is a rare hereditary (inherited) bleeding disorder in which blood cannot clot normally at the site of a wound or injury. The disorder occurs because certain blood clotting factors are missing or do not work properly. This can cause extended bleeding from a cut or wound.

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Hodgkin's Disease
Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Overview

Hypopharyngeal cancer is a disease that occurs when cancerous (malignant) cells develop in the tissues of the hypopharynx, the bottom part of the pharynx (throat), which is a hollow tube that is about five inches long.

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Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Overview

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a bleeding condition in which the blood doesn't clot as it should. This is due to a low number of blood cell fragments called platelets.

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Kidney Cancer

Overview

Kidney cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in kidney tissue. In time, these cells form a mass called a tumor. Cancer begins when something triggers a change in the cells, and they divide out of control. A cancerous, or malignant, tumor can metastasize, or spread, to other tissues and vital organs.

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Leukemia

Overview

In a patient with leukemia, many of the white blood cells produced in the bone marrow do not mature normally. These abnormal cells, called leukemic cells, are unable to fight infection the way healthy white cells can. As they accumulate, the leukemic cells also interfere with the production of other blood cells. Eventually, the body has too few red cells for supplying oxygen to the body’s tissues, too few platelets for proper clotting and too few healthy white cells for fighting infection. As a result, people with leukemia are at risk for bruising, bleeding and infections.

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Liver Cancer

Overview

Liver cancer can be classified in two ways: primary (cancer that begins in liver tissue) or secondary (cancer that spreads to the liver after starting in some other location).

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Lung Cancer

Overview

Lung cancer is a disease in which an abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells occurs in the tissue of the lungs. The lungs are the breathing organs located in the chest.

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Malignant Mesothelioma

Overview

Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the chest or abdomen.

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Mastocytosis

Overview

It is caused by the presence of too many mast cells in your body. Mast cells play an important role in helping your immune system defend these tissues from disease.

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Melanoma

Overview

Melanoma is a cancer that often starts in the skin, in an existing or new mole. However, melanoma can also occur in almost any part of the body.

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Metastatic Cancer

Overview

Metastasis is a word used to describe the spread of cancer. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells have the ability to grow outside of the place in the body where they originated. When this happens, it is called metastatic cancer.

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Multiple Myeloma

Overview

Multiple myeloma and other plasma cell neoplasms are diseases in which the body makes too many plasma cells. Plasma cells develop from B lymphocytes (B cells), a type of white blood cell that is made in the bone marrow.

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Myelodysplastic Syndrome
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Oral Cancer

Overview

Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore that does not go away. Oral cancer — which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheek, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat).

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Oropharyngeal Cancer

Overview

Oropharyngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the oropharynx. The oropharynx is the middle part of the pharynx (throat) behind the mouth, and includes the back one-third of the tongue, the soft palate, the side and back walls of the throat, and the tonsils.

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Ovarian Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer

Overview

The pancreas is a thin, long gland behind your stomach next to the duodenum, (the first part of the small intestine) lying across the spine.

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Parathyroid Cancer

Overview

Parathyroid cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of a parathyroid gland. The parathyroid glands are four pea-sized organs found in the neck near the thyroid gland.

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Penile Cancer

Overview

As with all cancers, penile cancer evolves from a disruption in one or more genes in a cell's DNA. Genes control cell activities including division and growth.The resultant uncontrolled mass of tissue is a tumor.

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Pituitary Tumors

Overview

Also known as Craniopharyngioma, Pituitary tumors are tumors that form around the Pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain. Pituitary tumors are responsible for a majority of hormone abnormalities involving the pituitary glands.

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Prostate Cancer
Retinoblastoma

Overview

Retinoblastoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the retina. The retina is the nerve tissue that lines the inside of the back of the eye.

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Rhabdomyosarcoma

Overview

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in muscle tissue. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of sarcoma. Sarcoma is cancer of soft tissue (such as muscle), connective tissue (such as tendon or cartilage), and bone.

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Sickle Cell Anemia

Overview

Sickle cell disease is an inherited (passed from parent to child) disorder that affects the body’s red blood cells. This disorder causes the red blood cells to change shape (into a sickle) when oxygen is released to tissues.

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Skin Cancer

Overview

Skin cancer is a tumor or growth of abnormal cells in our skin. The most common type of skin cancer is called basal cell carcinoma. Another common skin cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma. These cancers occur in the surface layer of the skin. When found early, they can be easily cured.

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Small Intestine Cancer

Overview

Small intestine cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the small intestine.

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Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Overview

Adult soft tissue sarcoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the soft tissues of the body. The soft tissues of the body include the muscles, tendons (bands of fiber that connect muscles to bones), fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, and tissues around joints.

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Spinal Cancer

Overview

Spinal tumors are lesions that form on the spinal cords that can range from benign (non-cancerous) tumors to malignant (cancerous).

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Stomach Cancer

Overview

Stomach Cancer is a disease in which malignant cells arise from the lining of the stomach. Stomach cancers can develop in any part of the stomach and then may spread throughout the stomach and to other organs.

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Testicular Cancer

Overview

Testicular cancer is a disease in which a tumor - an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells - is found in the testicle. Several different kinds of cancer can grow in the testicles but the most common type by far is a group of cancers referred to as germ cell tumors.

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Thymoma

Overview

Thymoma and thymic carcinoma are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form on the outside surface of the thymus, which makes white blood cells, called lymphocytes, that protect the body against infections.

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Thyroid Cancer

Overview

Thyroid cancer occurs when cells of the thyroid gland grow uncontrollably to form masses of cells called tumors that can invade the tissues of the neck.

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Transitional Cell Cancer

Overview

Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the renal pelvis and ureter.

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Urethral Cancer

Overview

Urethral cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body.

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Uterine Sarcoma

Overview

Uterine sarcoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the muscles of the uterus or other tissues that support the uterus.

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Vaginal Cancer

Overview

Vaginal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the vagina.

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Von Hippel-Lindau Disease (VHL)

Overview

Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) is a rare, genetic multi-system disorder characterized by the abnormal growth of tumors in certain parts of the body.

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Vulvar Cancer

Overview

Vulvar cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the vulva, a woman's external genitalia.

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Wilm's Tumor

Overview

Wilms tumor and other childhood kidney tumors are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the kidney.

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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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