The American Cancer Society defines cancer as a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and the spread of abnormal cells. There are more than 100 different cancer diseases. In each, cancer cells divide haphazardly and typically create a non-structured mass or tumor. Unlike benign growths, which remain in the part of the body in which they start, malignant tumors will destroy the part of the body where they originate before spreading elsewhere, starting new growth and causing additional destruction. The organ where cancer cells originate determines the characteristics of those cells when they migrate to other parts of the body.
For people under age 85, cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in the United States. It is estimated that in 2012, approximately 300,000 men and 275,000 women will die from cancer.
Half of all US males and one-third of all US females can expect to develop cancer in their lifetimes.
Soft Tissue Sarcomas
Soft Tissue Sarcoma is a very rare form of cancer. The term sarcoma comes from a Greek word meaning fleshy growth. Soft tissue sarcoma can occur in the muscles, fat, blood vessels, tendons, fibrous tissues and synovial tissues (tissues around joints). The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2011 nearly 11,000 new cases of soft tissue sarcomas were diagnosed in the United States and approximately 3,900 deaths were caused by these cancers.
Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide with more than 1.5 million new cases. In the United States, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in women, and it is second only to prostate cancer in men. Over 226,000 new cases of lung cancer and 160,000 deaths are projected by the American Cancer Society. Lung cancer causes more deaths than prostate, breast and ovarian cancers combined. Approximately 85% of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer.
Pancreatic cancer, although a relatively rare form of cancer, is the fourth leading cause of cancer mortality in the U.S. with only a 20% one-year survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society. This year in the U.S., the American Cancer Society estimates approximately 44,000 new pancreatic cancer cases and more than 37,000 deaths due to this disease. One in 76 people is expected to develop pancreatic cancer sometime in their life.
Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia
Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a subtype of acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. In APL, an abnormal accumulation of immature granulocytes called promyelocytes in the bone marrow results in a reduction in the production of normal red blood cells and platelets, resulting in anemia and thrombocytopenia. Either leukopenia (low white cell count) or leukocytosis (high white cell count) may be observed in the peripheral blood. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath from anemia, easy bruising and bleeding from thrombocytopenia and coagulopathy, and fever and infection from lack of normal white blood cells.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a monoclonal disorder characterized by a progressive accumulation of functionally incompetent lymphocytes. It is the most common form of leukemia found in adults in Western countries. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 16,000 new cases of CLL and nearly 4,600 deaths due to CLL in 2012.