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Understanding Carcinoma and Sarcoma

Understanding Carcinoma and Sarcoma

What is Carcinoma and Sarcoma

Both Carcinoma and Sarcoma are types of Cancer. Carcinoma is a type of cancer that affects or starts in the epithelial tissue of the skin or the tissue layer lining internal organs like the liver or kidneys. On the Other hand, Sarcoma refers to a type of cancer that can occur at various points in our body. Doctors consider Carcinoma to be one of the most common types of cancer. As a result, carcinomas, just like any other cancerous growth, are abnormal cells that divide rapidly without any control. However, carcinomas may or may not spread to different parts of the body.

We have different conditions concerning carcinoma:

  • Carcinoma in Situ: refers to an early stage where cancer will be confined to the tissue layer where it first began and will not be spreading to other body parts or surrounding tissues.
  • Invasive carcinoma: here, cancer would have spread a bit beyond the primary spot to surrounding tissue.
  • Metastatic carcinoma: cancer spreads to different tissues and body parts.

Types of Carcinomas

Carcinomas can be of different types based on body parts and also the tissues it affects. They are:

Basal cell Carcinoma

  • The most common type of carcinoma is skin cancer. In this case, the cancerous growth happens on the basal cell layer (outer layer) of the skin.
  • These cancers grow at a slow pace. However, they rarely metastasize to other body parts or lymph nodes.
  • They often look like Open sores, pinky growths, red patches, or shiny bumps or scars.
  • The primary cause of Basal cell carcinoma is excessive sun exposure.

Squamous cell Carcinoma

  • A cancerous growth on the flat squamous cells of the skin. In other words, such cancer growth would be visible on the skin.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma can also be found in the skin lining of specific organs, and digestive and respiratory tracts.
  • This cancer grows and spreads at a faster pace when compared to basal cell carcinoma.
  • Here also, excessive sun exposure is the primary cause.

Renal cell Carcinoma

  • It is the most common type of kidney cancer. Here cancer typically develops in the tubules or the lining of the small tubes of the kidney.
  • It can grow and gradually turn into a huge mass. Renal cell Carcinomamay affect one or both kidneys.
  • A CT scan or an Ultrasound can discover it.

Ductal Carcinoma

  • It is the most common type of breast cancer. Cancerous cells can be found in the ducts (lining of milk ducts) of the breast.
  • "In situ ductal carcinoma" is not fully developed cancerous growth and, hence does not spread to nearby parts.
  • Mostly curable

Invasive ductal carcinoma

  • Different from the ductal scenario, the cancerous cells start and grow in the milk duct lining and spread or invade the local fatty tissues of the breast.
  • Here cancer metastasizes. A thorough self-exam or mammogram can best reveal such conditions.
  • Symptoms include- rashes or redness of breasts, thickening of the breast skin, swelling of the breast, pain in the nipple, nipple turning inward or any nipple discharge, presence of lumps or mass in the chest or underarm area.

Adenocarcinoma

  • This type of carcinoma starts in cells called "glandular cells."
  • These cells are found in different organs of our body and are responsible for creating mucus and other fluids.
  • Adenocarcinomas can occur in various parts of the body. It can happen in the lungs, pancreas, or colorectal region.
  • Possible treatments include Surgery, different therapies like Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, Immunotherapy, Hormone therapy, Targeted drug therapy, Bone marrow transplant, Cryoablation, etc.

What is Sarcoma

As explained earlier both Carcinoma and Sarcoma are types of Cancer. Sarcoma refers to a type of cancer that can occur at various points in our body. Generally, the term indicates a broad group of cancers that starts in bones or soft tissues of the body, including blood vessels, cartilage, fat, muscle, fibrous tissue, nerves, tendons, or any connective tissue.

The primary signs and symptoms of sarcoma are:

  • The presence of a lump (painful or painless) on the skin.
  • Unexpected breakage of bone, even with a minor injury or no injury at all Bone pain
  • Pain in bones.
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Weight loss

Like any other cancer, sarcomas are also a result of any mutation in the DNA and result in the uncontrolled growth and division of cells, causing cells to accumulate and cause unwanted obstructions.

Types of Sarcomas

Based on the spot of the cancerous growth in the body, there are around 70 types of sarcoma. However, the treatment of each of them depends on the type, location, and various other factors.

Different types of Sarcomas include- Angiosarcoma, Epithelioid sarcoma, Soft tissue sarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Liposarcoma, Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, Ewing sarcoma, Desmoplastic small round cell tumours, Leiomyosarcoma, Gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST), Kaposi's sarcoma, Myxofibrosarcoma, Osteosarcoma, Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours, Rhabdomyosarcoma, Solitary fibrous tumour, Synovial sarcoma, and also Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma to name a few.

Risk Factors of Sarcoma

The factors which can increase the risk and fatality of sarcoma are:

  • Exposure to chemicals: excessive exposure or public exposure to certain chemicals like industrial chemicals, and herbicides can increase a person's risk of contracting sarcoma related to the liver.
  • Virus Exposure: exposure to viruses can also increase the risk. For instance, a virus called human herpesvirus 8 is capable of increasing the risk of Kaposi Sarcoma. People prone to Virus attacks are exposed to cancerous situations since their immune system is very weak.
  • It can be an inherited syndrome passed from one generation to the other.
  • Radiation therapy for cancer treatment also increases the risk of contracting sarcoma at a later stage.
  • Lymphedema or Chronic swelling increases the risk of angiosarcoma.

Treatment: Surgery, Radiation therapy, and Chemotherapy are some of the first-hand therapies or cures for sarcoma.

Here are some common treatment options for carcinoma:

  1. Surgery: Surgical removal of the tumour is often the primary treatment for carcinoma. The extent of surgery depends on the location and size of the tumor. In some cases, a local excision may be performed to remove only the tumor, while in other cases, a more extensive procedure, such as a radical resection, may be necessary to remove the tumor along with nearby lymph nodes or surrounding tissues.
  2. Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells or shrink tumors. It can be used as the primary treatment for carcinoma or as an adjuvant treatment after surgery to kill remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be delivered externally (external beam radiation therapy) or internally (brachytherapy) depending on the specific situation.
  3. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs that kill cancer cells or inhibit their growth. It is commonly used in carcinoma cases that have spread to other parts of the body or as a neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment in combination with surgery or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy can be administered orally or intravenously.
  4. Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy utilizes drugs that specifically target certain molecules or genetic mutations involved in the growth and survival of cancer cells. These drugs aim to disrupt the specific pathways that cancer cells depend on for their growth. Targeted therapies may be used in combination with other treatments or as standalone treatments in certain cases of carcinoma.
  5. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy works by enhancing the body's immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. It can be used in some types of carcinoma, particularly those that express certain biomarkers or have a high mutational burden. Immunotherapy drugs, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors, can help unleash the immune system's ability to fight cancer.
  6. Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy is used when carcinoma is hormone-sensitive. It involves the use of medications that interfere with the hormones, such as estrogen or testosterone, which may be fueling the growth of the cancer. Hormone therapy is commonly used in certain types of carcinoma, such as breast cancer or prostate cancer.
  7. Palliative Care: In cases where carcinoma is advanced or has spread to other organs, palliative care becomes an essential part of the treatment. Palliative care focuses on managing symptoms, improving quality of life, and providing support to the patient and their family.

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