B2007: How Are Tumours Classified?

Snuggle Bag

Not important but if you want to impress people at parties with your geeky knowledge, here is some interesting tidbits for you. Tumours are classified according to their:

  1. Cell type
  2. Tissue of origin
  3. Whether it’s benign or malignant
  4. Degree of differentiation – Whether it resembles a differentiated cell like skin cells, glandular cells, etc (which is good) or whether it resembles precursor stem cells (which is very bad).
  5. Where it is in the body
  6. Function

Naming the tumour on the other hand requires two things

  1. A prefix – The type of tissue involved
  2. A suffix – “-oma” for benign tumours. “-carcinoma” for malignant cancers of the epithelial tissues like skin and glands. “-sarcoma” for mesenchymal (connective) tissues like blood and bone.

Armed with that, you can have a pretty good idea where certain cancers come from given some knowledge of basic human physiology. A benign growth of the gland ducts would be called an adenoma. A malignant form would be called an adenocarcinoma. Now the enemy has a name, you can call it out now if you ever want to kill it. That and the fact you might seem smarter if ever you do this at parties.

This year Footsteps in the Mirror will be blogging to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research which is a non-profit organisation that helps fund cancer research throughout the world. If you’re willing to help, you can sign up on the Blogathon website and pledge your amount right here. Help make a difference, no matter how small it may be.

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