Carcinoma is one of the seven forms of malignant solid tumors that develop in epithelial cells. The epithelial cells coat the skin’s outer surface and can also be found covering and lining organs and internal passageways such as the gastrointestinal system. Out of all cancer cases that are diagnosed every year, 80-90% are cases of carcinoma.
What are the types of carcinoma?
The three most prominent types of carcinoma constitute squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma.
– Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma is a form of cancer that affects organs or glandular tissues and can result in the development of cancer in the esophagus, stomach, prostate, breast lungs, and pancreas. The most common type of adenocarcinoma includes kidney cancer (liver cancer), liver cancer, and bile duct cancer.
– Basal Cell Carcinoma: The most commonly found skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. This cancer is easily treatable if detected early. It affects basal cells, which generate new skin cells, in the epidermis. This cancer is often not life-threatening, with its slow growth and also because the chances of it spreading is very low.
– Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinoma, also known as epidermoid carcinoma, affects squamous cells (which make up the epidermis) and can result in cancerous growth in areas such as lungs, mouth, esophagus, bladder, prostate, cervix, and reproductive organs. After BCC, squamous cell carcinoma leads the list of types of skin cancer.
What causes carcinoma?
Genetic mutations in the stem cells which are also known as progenitor cells are the leading cause of carcinoma although not all mutations lead to cancer. There are some specific mutation combinations that lead to the creation of a malignant stem cell, which intern results in producing malignant cells and intern causes cancer.
These malignant cells have the following characteristics:
– They are effectively “immortal,” as they do not die of programmed cell death (apoptosis) like normal cells.
– They have the ability to spread (metastasize) from the original tumor location to distant places, generally when malignant cells break off and are dispersed thru blood or lymph vessels.
When mutations develop in the stem cells of the epithelial cells, they might result in either a benign (adenoma) or malignant tumor (carcinoma).
The cause of these mutations is not totally understood. They are considered to be the direct result of the following circumstances, including:
– Inheriting mutated genes
– Exposure to carcinogens like tobacco smoke, asbestos, industrial chemicals, and radiation.
– Viruses such as HPV, hepatitis, and the Epstein-Barr virus
– Diseases like Crohn’s disease and colitis
– Prolonged exposure to sunlight
Methods of diagnosis of carcinoma
Although imaging examinations like MRI and CT scans, mammograms, lab tests like PSA and cytology, and procedures like thoracentesis and colonoscopy can be performed to check for carcinomas in various sections of the body, carcinomas are firmly identified based on a microscopic inspection of cells suspected to be malignant.
Because carcinomas are solid tumors, the investigation typically involves a biopsy in which cells or tissue are removed from one’s body to be analyzed under a microscope for a thorough examination of the architectural attributes of the suspected cells and tissues. A biopsy may not necessarily indicate one has cancer.
After the initial diagnosis, if the cancer is found it becomes very vital to distinguish cancer.
Carcinomas can be distinguished based on their appearance using tests such as cytology and histologic description, frozen section, and gross examination. Differentiating the carcinoma cells can help one determine whether cancer would be aggressive or indolent and also. Because the cells are well-differentiated, they behave and respond in a way that is very much similar to normal cells and this concludes that the malignancy will most likely progress slowly. Undifferentiated cells are highly immature and basic, and they lack the characteristics that are used to diagnose and classify different malignancies. Indistinct cancer is much more aggressive than well-differentiated cancer.
Treatment methods of carcinoma
The therapy of carcinoma is determined by the location and size of the tumor, the stage at which the disease is currently in, and the individual’s performance condition.
The following are some general treatment approaches:
– Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a pharmacological treatment used to kill rapidly developing cancer cells. The drugs can either be injected directly into the cancerous tissue or can also be taken as oral pills.
– Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy takes the help of high-energy beams like X-rays and protons to destroy the cancerous cells. Palliative radiotherapy can be used to alleviate pain and to achieve a quality of life.
– Surgical resection: In the early stages, surgical resection usually provides the highest chance of long-term survival.