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Types of Cancer We Treat

Sacred Heart Hospital offers high quality, advanced treatments for all types of cancer that include:

  • Symptoms: Blood in the urine is the main symptom of bladder cancer. You may also feel as if you have to urinate often or you may feel pain when you urinate. Since these symptoms are similar to a urinary tract infection, see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
  • Diagnosis: Your doctor will perform a physical exam, including a vaginal or rectal exam. Your urine will also be tested for blood or abnormal cells. Your doctor may also perform a cystoscopy, a test that allows your doctor to look into your bladder with a thin, lighted scope inserted through your urethra.
  • Treatment: Bladder cancer may be treated a variety of ways depending on the stage and extent of the cancer. Surgery may be required to remove any tissue that contains cancer cells. You may undergo chemotherapy, biologic therapy, or radiation. Regular checkups are very important after treatment is completed since bladder cancer has a higher recurrence rate.
  • Risk Factors: The main risk factor for bladder cancer is smoking and tobacco use.
  • Symptoms: Not all brain tumors cause symptoms, and if you do experience symptoms, they may be the result of other conditions rather than the brain tumor itself. The most common symptoms include headaches, weakness, seizures, difficulty walking, and clumsiness. Some nonspecific symptoms may include changes in concentration, memory, or alertness; nausea; vision problems; and speech problems. Sometimes these symptoms seem similar to those of a stroke.
  • Diagnosis: You will most likely undergo a CT scan of your brain so your doctor can view your brain in three dimensions. You may also undergo an MRI. Your doctor may also perform some laboratory tests to analyze your blood and other bodily functions. To confirm the presence of brain cancer, a small amount of the brain tumor may be removed to be biopsied.
  • Treatment: Brain cancer may be treated in a variety of ways depending on your age and the size, location, and type of tumor. The most common treatments include surgery to remove the tumor, radiation, and chemotherapy.
  • Risk Factors: The exact cause of most brain tumors is unknown. Possible risk factors could include exposure to radiation, smoking, environmental toxins, genetics, or certain inherited conditions. Those these are possible causes, no clear links have been established to brain cancer.
  • Symptoms: Breast cancer doesn’t usually present symptoms in its early stages. However, in later stages, you may notice a lump in your breast or underarm; swelling in your underarm; pain or tenderness in your breast; a flattening or indentation of your breast; a change in size, contour, texture, or temperature of your breast; a change in your nipple; or an abnormal discharge from your nipple.
  • Diagnosis: You can help be a part of your own diagnosis by performing breast self-examinations and getting mammograms as recommended by your doctor. During a breast self-exam, look for dimpling or changes in shape or symmetry and also feel for lumps. A mammogram, or an X-ray of your breast, can identify lumps before they can even be felt. Since most lumps are benign and not cancerous, your doctor may perform an ultrasound or a needle biopsy to test the breast tissue for cancer cells. If a lump is found to be malignant, your doctor will analyze your cancer cells to find out what treatments will work best for you.
  • Treatment: The treatments for breast cancer depend on the size and location of the tumor in your breast and the stage and extent of the disease. Treatment options may include surgery (mastectomy or lumpectomy), brachytherapy, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biologic therapy.
  • Risk Factors: Breast cancer does have some risk factors; however, most women who develop breast cancer do not have any risk factors. Risk factors can include getting older; breast cancer in an immediate family member; presence of an inherited breast cancer gene; previous abnormal breast biopsy; childbirth at a later age; early menstruation; late menopause; excessive radiation; overweight; other cancers present in the family; alcohol consumption; and hormone replacement therapy. Some myths persist about possible risk factors, and the following are not risk factors for breast cancer: using antiperspirants/deodorants, wearing underwire bras, having an abortion, experiencing a miscarriage, or having breast implants. Discuss any concerns you have about any risk factors with your doctor.
  • Symptoms: Common symptoms of central nervous system cancers, which involve tumors of the brain and spinal cord, may include headaches, seizures, and neurological dysfunction
  • Diagnosis: Your doctor will perform a full physical and neurological examination which may include blood work. You may need to get a chest X-ray, CT scan and/or an MRI. Your doctor may also perform a biopsy to determine the type of tumor you have.
  • Treatment: Treatments for central nervous system cancers include surgery for full or partial removal of the tumor, radiation, and/or chemotherapy.
  • Risk Factors: The exact causes of central nervous system cancers are unknown. Heredity, genetics, and exposure to chemicals/fumes, radiation, and certain viruses may play a role.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of cervical cancer may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, an unexpected change in your menstrual cycle, pain during sexual intercourse, or vaginal discharge that contains blood.
  • Diagnosis: As part of your annual gynecological examination, your gynecologist will perform a Pap test. Your doctor will look for abnormal cervical cells or other changes. If your doctor finds abnormal cervical cells, other tests may be needed to confirm a diagnosis, such as a biopsy to remove cervical tissue to test for cancer cells.
  • Treatment: Treatment options for cervical cancer may include a hysterectomy, other types of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. If your cervical cancer is caught early, you may still be able to have children once you have completed treatment. Some treatments, however, render you unable to have children.
  • Risk Factors: Most cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Women can contract HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it. Not all types of HPV cause cervical cancer. Once infected with HPV, women may show no symptoms and may develop cervical cancer years after being infected. Regular Pap tests can help your gynecologist detect abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer at an early stage. Other risk factors include having sex before age 16, having more than one sexual partner, smoking, and having an impaired immune system.
  • Symptoms: The most common symptoms of colorectal cancer are changes in your bowel movements, including persistent constipation or diarrhea; feeling as if you are not able to empty your bowel completely; rectal bleeding; blood in your stool; long, thin stools; abdominal pain; bloating; fatigue; unusual loss of appetite; unusual weight loss; or you have been diagnosed with anemia.
  • Diagnosis: Beginning at age 50, everyone should be screened every 10 years for colorectal cancer. If you are considered at high risk for colorectal cancer, earlier screening may be recommended. To screen for colorectal cancer, your doctor will perform a colonoscopy, an evaluation of your colon and rectum with a scope. If your doctor sees any abnormal areas during the colonoscopy, a tissue sample will be taken for biopsy. If the biopsy confirms colorectal cancer, your doctor may order an X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan to see if the cancer has spread to any other parts of the body.
  • Treatment: Colorectal cancer is usually treated with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
  • Risk Factors: Some risk factors for colorectal cancer may include the presence of colon polyps, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease; related inherited medical conditions; or exposure to chemicals such as chlorine or asbestos.
  • Symptoms: The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is post-menopausal abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • Diagnosis: To diagnose endometrial cancer, your doctor will remove tissue from your uterine lining to biopsy for cancer cells.
  • Treatment: The most common treatment for endometrial cancer is surgery to remove the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Your doctor may also recommend radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.
  • Risk Factors: The primary cause of endometrial cancer is too much estrogen in relation to progesterone in a woman’s body. Estrogen causes the lining of the uterus to grow thicker, while progesterone thins the lining. When this imbalance of estrogen and progesterone occurs, the lining of the uterus becomes too thick, sometimes causing the endometrial cells to turn cancerous.
  • Symptoms: Some symptoms of esophageal cancer include having difficulty and pain when swallowing; weight loss; pain behind your breastbone; coughing; hoarseness; indigestion; and heartburn.
  • Diagnosis: To diagnose esophageal cancer, your doctor may order a chest X-ray; a barium X-ray; endoscopy; and/or a biopsy to examine tissue from your esophagus.
  • Treatment: Treatment methods for esophageal cancer include surgery to remove part of the esophagus; radiation; chemotherapy; or laser surgery.
  • Risk Factors: Some risk factors for esophageal cancer include smoking or tobacco use; heavy alcohol use; and Barrett’s esophagus, which may be caused by gastric reflux. Men and older adults are more likely to develop esophageal cancer.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of several head and neck cancers may include a lump or sore that does not heal; a persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing, or hoarseness.
  • Diagnosis: To diagnose a head and neck cancer, your doctor will perform a physical examination, order diagnostic tests that correspond with your symptoms, and will examine a sample of your tissue. You may also undergo endoscopy, blood or urine tests, X-ray, CT scan, and MRI.
  • Treatment: Treatments for head and neck cancers depend on the location of the tumor, the stage of the cancer, your age, and your general health. You may need surgery to remove the tumor, which may change your ability to chew, swallow, or talk; radiation; and chemotherapy.
  • Risk Factors: Tobacco and alcohol use are the most common risk factors for head and neck cancers.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of kidney cancer may include blood in your urine; a lump in your side or abdomen; loss of appetite; side pain; unexpected weight loss; and anemia.
  • Diagnosis: Your doctor will perform a physical exam to feel your abdomen and side for lumps, check for a fever, and measure your blood pressure. Your doctor may also order urine tests, blood tests, an X-ray of your kidneys, liver function test, an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. Your doctor may need to biopsy tissue from your kidney to confirm a diagnosis.
  • Treatment: Treatment options for kidney cancer may include surgery to remove the tumor in the kidney, or surgery to remove the entire kidney, adrenal gland, and surrounding tissue plus nearby lymph nodes. After surgery, your doctor may recommend radiofrequency ablation, biologic therapy, radiation, or chemotherapy
  • Risk Factors: Some possible risk factors for kidney cancer include smoking, misuse of certain pain medications, and certain genetic conditions.
  • Symptoms: Some common symptoms of leukemia include fever; night sweats; headaches; bruising; bleeding from gums or rectum; bone or joint pain; swollen or painful abdomen; swollen lymph nodes in the underarm, neck, or groin; weakness; fatigue; unexpected weight loss; and unexpected loss of appetite.
  • Diagnosis: To diagnose leukemia, your doctor will perform a physical exam to look for swollen lymph nodes and an enlarged spleen or liver. Your doctor will also order blood tests to check for high levels of white blood cells and low levels of other types of blood cells. Your doctor may also perform a bone marrow biopsy to examine the cells inside your bones. You may also need a chest X-ray, CT scan, lumbar puncture, or MRI of your brain.
  • Treatment: Treatments for leukemia may include chemotherapy, radiation, and biologic therapy.
  • Risk Factors: Though there are no known causes of leukemia, some risk factors include smoking and tobacco use; excessive exposure to radiation; and exposure to certain chemicals. Most people who develop leukemia do not have any risk factors.
  • Symptoms: Early liver cancer often doesn’t have symptoms. When liver cancer progresses, symptoms may include pain, swelling, or tenderness in your upper right abdomen; jaundice; swollen legs; fever; unexpected appetite loss; unexpected weight loss; nausea; vomiting; fatigue; and weakness.
  • Diagnosis: To diagnose liver cancer, you doctor will perform a physical examination and may order blood tests, ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. If a tumor is found, your doctor may perform a biopsy to help determine if the tumor is malignant or benign.
  • Treatment: Your treatment options for liver cancer may include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
  • Risk Factors: Some risk factors for liver cancer include having a liver that has been damaged by birth defects, excessive alcohol consumption, hepatitis B or C, or cirrhosis. Smoking and exposure to certain chemicals have also been identified as a risk factor.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of lung cancer may include developing a new cough or experiencing a persistent cough; coughing up blood; dull, persistent pain in your chest; shortness of breath; wheezing or hoarseness; and repeated respiratory infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Diagnosis: Diagnosis tools may include an X-ray, CT scan, bone scan, and examination of mucus or lung fluid. To confirm a lung cancer diagnosis, your doctor will usually perform a lung biopsy. If the lung biopsy confirms cancer, other tests will be performed to determine the type and how far the cancer has spread.
  • Treatment: Treatment methods for lung cancer may include surgery to remove a portion of a lobe, a full lobe, or an entire lung; radiation; chemotherapy; laser therapy; and biologic therapy.
  • Risk Factors: The main risk factor for lung cancer is smoking and other tobacco use. Other risk factors include exposure to second-hand smoke, exposure to asbestos or radon gas, presence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), having a relative with lung cancer, prior history of lung cancer, and prolonged exposure to highly polluted air.
  • Symptoms: In non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, symptoms may include painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin; fever; night sweats; fatigue; unexpected weight loss; itchy skin; reddened patches on the skin; cough or shortness of breath; and pain in the abdomen or back.
  • Diagnosis: To diagnose lymphoma, your doctor may perform a physical exam and a lymph node biopsy.
  • Treatment: Treatment options for non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma include watchful waiting, radiation, chemotherapy, and monoclonal antibody therapy.
  • Risk Factors: The exact cause of lymphoma is unknown. Men are more likely than women to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the likelihood of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma increases with age. An immune system deficiency, a compromised immune system, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, certain genetic conditions, stomach ulcers, and HIV are also considered risk factors. Viral infections such as hepatitis C or mononucleosis and exposure to certain chemicals also increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is most common in young adults (ages 15 – 35) and older adults (over age 50) and in men. People who develop mononucleosis after childhood are at higher risk of developing Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as are those with an immune deficiency, compromised immune system, or AIDS.
  • Symptoms: The most important early symptom of melanoma is any change in size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin growth, such as a birthmark. Use the American Cancer Society’s ABCDE rule – check moles and other skin growths for asymmetry, border irregularity, color, diameter, and evolution. Look for thickening or raising of a previously flat mole; scaling, oozing, or bleeding of a mole; redness or swelling around a mole or skin growth; tingling, burning, or itching of a mole or skin growth; and brittleness of skin (small pieces of the mole or skin growth break off easily).
  • Diagnosis: Your doctor will perform a physical exam of your skin. If you doctor sees a suspicious mole or skin growth, he/she will perform a skin biopsy to test for melanoma. Your doctor may also evaluate your lymph nodes to see how large they are, which lead to a lymph node biopsy. To check if melanoma has spread, your doctor may also order a CT scan or MRI to view other parts of your body.
  • Treatment: Your doctor will most likely surgically remove the affected skin. If your melanoma is more advanced, your doctor may remove affected lymph nodes as well as prescribe biologic therapy, radiation, or chemotherapy.
  • Risk Factors: The most common risk factor for melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet radiation, or exposure to the sun. Other risk factors include having fair skin that sunburns or freckles easily, having numerous moles or atypical moles, having blue or green eyes, having red or blond hair, and having a family history of melanoma.
  • Symptoms: Though early stage ovarian cancer often has no symptoms, a later stage of ovarian cancer may have symptoms that include persistent cramps or pain in your abdomen and pelvis or lower back; abnormal vaginal bleeding; abnormal vaginal discharge that may contain blood; pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse; nausea; unexplained loss of appetite; persistent bloating; larger abdomen size or a lump that can be felt in your abdomen; fatigue; change in bowel movements; change in bladder habits; and unexplained weight loss.
  • Diagnosis: Some diagnosis methods for ovarian cancer include a pelvic exam and Pap test; blood tests; evaluations of your liver and kidney; and pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound. To see if the cancer has spread, your doctor may order a CT scan, MRI, or a chest X-ray. A diagnosis for ovarian cancer is confirmed and staged by biopsies of the ovaries.
  • Treatment: Treatment options for ovarian cancer may include surgery to remove cancerous tissue; hysterectomy; and chemotherapy.
  • Risk Factors: Risk factors for ovarian cancer include a family history of ovarian or breast cancer; genetics; infertility; never having been pregnant; no prior use of hormonal birth control methods; aging; early menstruation or late menopause; use of hormone replacement therapy; and history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include weight loss, jaundice, fat in your stool, pale-colored stools, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, elevated blood sugar levels, and itching all over the body.
  • Diagnosis: Diagnosis methods include a physical examination, lab tests, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, and a biopsy.
  • Treatment: Treatment methods for pancreatic cancer may include surgery to remove the tumor; partial or full removal of the pancreas; chemotherapy; and radiation.
  • Risk Factors: Some risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking; diabetes; chronic pancreatitis; and a family history.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of prostate cancer may include frequent urination, especially at night; difficulty starting or stopping urine; a weak or interrupted urinary stream; painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation; and blood in urine or semen. More advanced cases of prostate cancer may include symptoms of a constant dull pain or stiffness in the pelvis, lower back, ribs or upper thighs; unexplained weight loss; unexplained appetite loss; fatigue; nausea; and vomiting.
  • Diagnosis: Your doctor may perform a rectal exam to feel your prostate through the rectum to find hard or lumpy areas. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test may also be ordered. To confirm a prostate cancer diagnosis, your doctor will perform a biopsy on tissue taken from your prostate.
  • Treatment: Treatment options may include surgery to remove part of or the entire prostate and possibly affected lymph nodes, radiation, and watchful waiting.
  • Risk Factors: Prostate cancer affects mainly older men, usually over the age of 65. A noted risk factor for prostate cancer is a high-fat diet that contains large amounts of red meat and other sources of animal fat. Despite myths to the contrary, risk factors for prostate cancer do not include an active sex life, having a vasectomy, alcohol or tobacco use, circumcision, infertility, prostate infection, or an enlarged prostate gland.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms for sarcoma may include a lump or swelling in soft tissue of the body. A painless lump may appear under the skin, often on an arm or a leg. You may also experience pain and trouble breathing.
  • Diagnosis: Your doctor will most likely perform a biopsy of the primary tumor, lymph nodes, and other suspicious areas.
  • Treatment: Treatment options for sarcoma include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.
  • Risk Factors: Risk factors for sarcoma include certain inherited disorders, past radiation treatment during childhood, or past radiation treatment for cancers such as retinoblastoma, lymphoma, breast cancer, and cervical cancer.
  • Symptoms: Basal cell carcinoma usually begins as a small, dome-shaped bump. The bump is usually covered by small blood vessels and is normally shiny and translucent. Some basal cell carcinomas appear on the chest or back and look like patches of raw, dry skin.
  • Diagnosis: For non-melanoma skin cancer, your doctor will usually perform a biopsy to remove all or part of the growth.
  • Treatment: Non-melanoma skin cancer is treated with curettage and electrodessication (removing basal cell carcinoma using special instrument and applying electric current to control bleeding and kill remaining cancer cells); surgical excision of the tumor; radiation; and medical therapy using creams that attack cancer cells.
  • Risk Factors: Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma include exposure to the sun, aging, exposure to ultraviolet radiation in tanning booths, and radiation treatment for cancer. The single most important risk factor for squamous cell carcinomas is sun exposure
  • Symptoms: Some common symptoms of testicular cancer are swelling and/or a lump in one or both testes; a heavy feeling in the scrotum; and a dull pressure or pain in the lower back, abdomen, or groin.
  • Diagnosis: Most men discover testicular cancer themselves during a self-exam. Your doctor may also find it during a physical exam. Your doctor may order blood tests and a CT scan or ultrasound of your testicles.
  • Treatment: Treatment options for testicular cancer may include surgery to remove the testicle that has cancer. After surgery, your doctor may also prescribe watchful waiting, chemotherapy, or radiation.
  • Risk Factors: Testicular cancer is most common among young males between the ages of 15 – 35. Some risk factors for testicular cancer include having an undescended testicle; a family history of testicular cancer; a personal history of testicular cancer; fertility problems; and certain genetic conditions.


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