Malignant tumour of the uterus. Cancers affecting the lining of the uterus (endometrium) are the most common cancers of the female reproductive tract. Risk factors include absence of pregnancy, early age of first menstruation (before age 12), late onset of menopause (after age 52), obesity, diabetes, and estrogen replacement therapy. Additional risk factors are a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, age (over age 40), and a family history of uterine cancer. Whites are more likely to develop uterine cancer than are blacks. The major symptom is vaginal bleeding or discharge. Treatment may begin with simple or radical hysterectomy. Some uterine cancers are treated in part by hormonal therapy, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
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Malignant tumour of the testis, or testicle. Although relatively rare, testicular cancer is the most common malignancy for men between the ages of 20 and 34. It typically affects men between 15 and 39 years old. A developmental abnormality of males in which one or both testes fail to descend into the scrotum about the time of birth increases the risk of developing the cancer later in life. The most notable symptom of testicular cancer is the formation of a painless lump in either testis. Treatment usually consists of the surgical removal of the cancerous testis, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy if the cancer has metastasized.
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Malignant tumour of the stomach. The main risk factors include a diet high in salted, smoked, or pickled foods; Helicobacter pylori infection; tobacco and alcohol use; age (over age 60); and a family history of stomach cancer. Males develop stomach cancer at approximately twice the rate of females. Symptoms may be abdominal pain or swelling, unexplained weight loss, vomiting, and poor digestion. Surgery is the only method for treating stomach cancer, although radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be used in conjunction with surgery or to relieve symptoms.
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Malignant tumour of the skin, including some of the most common human cancers. Though recognizable at an early stage, it has a significant death rate. Light-skinned people have the highest risk but can reduce it by limiting exposure to sunlight and to ionizing radiation. The most common types arise in the epidermis (outer skin layer) and have become more frequent with the thinning of the atmosphere's ozone layer. The most serious form is melanoma, which is frequently fatal if not treated early with surgery. Cancers arising from the dermis are rare; the best-known is Kaposi sarcoma.
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Malignant tumour of the prostate gland. Prostate cancer commonly occurs in men over age 50. Symptoms include frequent or painful urination, blood in the urine, sexual dysfunction, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, and pain in the pelvis, hips, back, or ribs. The likelihood of developing prostate cancer doubles if there is a family history. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of two or more of these approaches.
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Malignant tumour of the pancreas. Risk factors include smoking, a diet high in fat, exposure to certain industrial products, and diseases such as diabetes and chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatic cancer is more common in men. Symptoms often do not appear until pancreatic cancer is advanced; they include abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, and difficulty digesting fatty foods. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or some combination of these may be used to treat the disease.
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Malignant tumour of the ovaries. Risk factors include early age of first menstruation (before age 12), late onset of menopause (after age 52), absence of pregnancy, presence of specific genetic mutations, use of fertility drugs, and personal history of breast cancer. Symptoms such as abdominal swelling, pelvic pressure or pain, and unusual vaginal bleeding often do not appear until ovarian cancer is advanced. Surgery, sometimes followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, is an effective treatment for most ovarian cancers.
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Malignant tumour of the lung. Four major types (squamous-cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large-cell carcinoma, and small-cell carcinoma) have roughly equal prevalence. Most cases are due to long-term cigarette smoking. Heavy smoking and starting smoking earlier in life increase the risk. Passive inhalation (“secondhand smoke”) is linked to lung cancer in nonsmokers. Other risk factors include exposure to radon or asbestos. Symptoms, including coughing (sometimes with blood), chest pain, and shortness of breath, seldom appear until lung cancer is advanced, when treatment with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation or some combination of the three is less effective. Most patients die within a year of diagnosis.
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Malignant tumour of the larynx. The larynx is affected by both benign and malignant tumours. Squamous-cell carcinoma, the most common laryngeal malignancy, is associated with smoking and alcohol consumption; it is more common in men. Prolonged hoarseness without pain is the major symptom and should always be investigated. Radiation therapy or surgery may be used to treat tumours.
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Malignant tumour of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Risk factors include age (after age 50), family history of colorectal cancer, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, benign polyps, physical inactivity, and a diet high in fat. Many of the symptoms are associated with abnormal digestion and elimination. Colorectal cancer is treated by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
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Uncontrolled multiplication of abnormal cells. Cancerous cells and tissues have abnormal growth rates, shapes, sizes, and functioning. Cancer may progress in stages from a localized tumour (confined to the site of origin) to direct extension (spread into nearby tissue or lymph nodes) and metastasis (spread to more distant sites via the blood or lymphatic system). This malignant growth pattern distinguishes cancerous tumours from benign ones. Cancer is also classified by grade, the extent to which cell characteristics remain specific to their tissue of origin. Both stage and grade affect the chances of survival. Genetic factors and immune status affect susceptibility. Triggers include hormones, viruses, smoking, diet, and radiation. Cancer can begin in almost any tissue, including blood (see leukemia) and lymph (see lymphoma). When it metastasizes, it remains a cancer of its tissue of origin. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chance of cure. Treatment may include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Seealso bladder cancer; breast cancer; carcinogen; colorectal cancer; Kaposi sarcoma; laryngeal cancer; lung cancer; ovarian cancer; pancreatic cancer; prostate cancer; skin cancer; stomach cancer; uterine cancer.
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Malignant tumour in a breast, usually in women after menopause. Risk factors include family history of breast cancer, prolonged menstruation, late first pregnancy (after age 30), obesity, alcohol use, and some benign tumours. Most breast cancers are adenocarcinomas. Any lump in the breast needs investigation because it may be cancer. Treatment may begin with radical or modified mastectomy or lumpectomy (in which only the tumour is removed), followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or removal of the ovaries or adrenal glands.
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Malignant tumour of the bladder. The most significant risk factor associated with bladder cancer is smoking. Exposure to chemicals called arylamines, which are used in the leather, rubber, printing, and textiles industries, is another risk factor. Most bladder cancers are diagnosed after the age of 60; men are affected more than women. Symptoms include blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, excessive urination, or, more rarely, painful urination. Bladder cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
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Parallel of latitude approximately 23°27' north of the terrestrial Equator. It is the northern boundary of the tropics and marks the northernmost latitude at which the Sun can be seen directly overhead at noon.
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(Latin: “Crab”) In astronomy, the constellation lying between Leo and Gemini; in astrology, the fourth sign of the zodiac, governing approximately the period June 22–July 22. It is represented as a crab (or crayfish), a reference to the crab in Greek mythology that pinched Heracles while he was fighting the Lernaean hydra. Heracles crushed the crab, but his enemy Hera rewarded it by placing it in the sky as a constellation.
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Dark-coloured malignant tumour of skin cells that produce the protective skin-darkening pigment melanin. Melanomas are prone to metastasize (see cancer) and are associated with the highest death rate of any skin cancer. Removal, together with a collar of surrounding healthy skin, cures melanoma if done early. A common cause of melanoma is skin damage from sunlight. It is very rare in persons with dark skin.
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Non-oncologic disorders referred to as "malignant":