At Wilmington Health Oncology/Hematology, we diagnose and treat a wide variety of cancers. We’ve modeled our treatment plans after evidence-based standards set by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, so our plans replicate those used at cancer centers nationwide.
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We are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
We do our best to book appointments for new patients within seven business days. If you are a new patient to Oncology/Hematology, please call 910-815-7400 to book or confirm your appointment. Your physician will discuss the frequency of your regular follow-up visits after you discuss your specific diagnostic and treatment plans.
You may also request an appointment by submitting an online request form.
For follow-up appointments, please call 910-815-7400.
If you have an urgent problem associated with your treatment such as a fever, vomiting, or unexplained sweats, please call our office immediately, at 910-815-7400 for instructions.
If the office is closed, you will be referred to our answering service, which will promptly contact the oncologist. In case of a true emergency, please call 911.
Note: Links to specific cancers can be found at the end of this article.
Every day, without our even being aware of it, the cells that make up our body are growing, dividing and/or producing more cells as needed in order to keep us healthy. But sometimes, this process goes haywire; certain cells lose their normal control mechanism and start growing out of control. This is what happens with cancer.
Tumors and cancer are not always the same thing. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says a tumor is a mass of extra tissue. Some tumors can be felt or seen externally on the body. Some tumors are internal and can be picked up via an imaging scan. NCI says tumors can be benign or malignant.
- Benign tumors – Benign tumors are not cancer. According to NCI, they often can be removed and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. As a result, benign tumors are usually not considered life threatening. However, all tumors should be monitored and treated correctly. Some benign tumors may also be more dangerous, because they press against and/or damage adjoining normal tissue.
- Malignant tumors – Malignant tumors are cancer. Cells in malignant tumors are abnormal and divide without control or order. These cancer cells can invade and destroy the tissue around them. They can also break away from the original tumor, and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system (the tissues and organs that produce and store cells that fight infection and disease). This process, called metastasis, is how cancer spreads from the original (primary) tumor to form new (secondary) tumors in other parts of the body.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), most cancers form as a tumor. But some do not. For example, the cancer cells of leukemia involve the blood and blood-forming organs, but do not actually form a mass or tumor.
Types of cancer
Cancer can begin in any part of the body, and is categorized by the type of tissue where it starts.
- Carcinomas – Carcinomas, according to NCI, are the most common types of cancer. Carcinomas start in cells that cover external and internal body surfaces. Lung, breast and colon cancer are the most frequent cancers of this type in the United States. (Read about “Lung Cancer” “Breast Cancer” “Colorectal Cancer“)
- Sarcomas – Sarcomas start in cells found in the supporting tissues of the body such as bone, cartilage, fat, connective tissue and muscle. (Read about “Bone Cancer“)
- Lymphomas – Lymphomas begin in the lymph nodes and tissues of the body’s immune system. (Read about “Lymphoma“)
- Leukemias – Leukemias are cancers of the immature blood cells that grow in the bone marrow and can accumulate in large numbers in the bloodstream. (Read about “Leukemia“)
Cancers are usually identified by their site of origin. That means that the type or name of the cancer is the original site where the cancer developed, even if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. For example, even if breast cancer has spread to the liver, it would still be considered breast cancer, not liver cancer. (Read about “Liver Cancer“)
In some cases, ACS says the cancer first appears in one or more of the sites to which it has spread, and the original site where the cancer developed is not known. These cancers are called Cancers of Unknown Primary. Sometimes, additional tests can determine where the cancer started, and the cancer would be renamed for its site of origin. Other times, the primary site may never be known. ACS says that even if the source is never discovered, treatment can still be successful.
Causes and risk factors
In many cases, the exact cause of the cancer is unknown. However, we do know that there are some things that can increase the risk of different types of cancer. (Read about “Reduce Cancer Risks“) Among the things that can affect a person’s risk of developing cancer, according to the American Cancer Society are:
- Family and personal medical history can affect your risk. (Read about “Family Health History“)
- Exposure to carcinogens in the environment, such as chemicals or radiation, can increase your risk. A carcinogen is a substance that can cause cancer. Some people are more susceptible to carcinogens than others.
- Lifestyle, including such factors as diet, exercise, and whether or not you smoke or chew tobacco, also impacts your risk. (Read about “Dietary Guidelines” “Quit Smoking“)
Finding and staging cancer
The American Cancer Society says many forms of cancer are treated most successfully when caught early. This is why regular screenings, such as Pap tests, mammograms, PSA tests, etc., are so important. (Read about “Cancer Check-ups” “Mammograms“)
If a screening produces a suspicious result, or if a doctor suspects cancer for some other reason, additional tests can be done, for example, blood or urine tests or imaging scans.
However, for cancers, the way to make a definitive diagnosis is a tissue diagnosis with a biopsy. Biopsy is the removal of cells or tissues for examination by a specialist physician called a pathologist. The pathologist may study the tissue under a microscope or perform other tests on the cells or tissue. Examination of suspicious cells through a biopsy helps the doctor determine if the cells are malignant (cancerous) or benign. (Read about “Biopsy“)
If cancer is present, a doctor must determine what type of cancer it is, how fast it is growing, and whether or not it has invaded nearby healthy tissue or spread to other parts of the body. This helps the doctor determine at what stage the cancer is, and how best to treat it.
Staging is the term used to describe the extent or severity of an individual’s cancer. A cancer’s stage depends on different factors, including its location, its size, whether lymph nodes have been affected and whether or not the cancer has spread. (Read about “The Lymph System“)
NCI says different tests can be used to help determine a cancer’s stage. These include blood and urine tests; imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans, MRI, PET and ultrasound (Read about “X-rays” “CT Scan – Computerized Tomography” “MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging” “PET – Positron Emission Tomography” “Ultrasound Imaging“); pathology reports from the biopsy; and surgical reports. Knowing a cancer’s stage helps to determine the best way to treat it. (Read about “Cancer Treatments“)
Metastasis and angiogenesis
When a cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Researchers say one of the most important things required for metastasis to occur is the growth of a new network of blood vessels. This process of forming new blood vessels is called angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is a normal biological process. For example, angiogenesis is necessary for the repair or regeneration of tissue during wound healing. Tumor angiogenesis, however, is different. NCI says tumor angiogenesis is the growth of a network of blood vessels that penetrates into cancerous growths, supplies them with nutrients and oxygen and removes waste products. NCI says tumor angiogenesis starts with cancerous tumor cells releasing molecules that send signals to activate genes in the host tissue that, in turn, make proteins to encourage growth of new blood vessels. Certain molecules can either activate or inhibit angiogenesis. Studies are now examining the effectiveness of drugs aimed at inhibiting angiogenesis in specific cancers. (Read about “Clinical Studies“)
Below, in alphabetical order, is a list of individual cancers and tumors. You can learn more about each of them by following the appropriate link.
|Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL): see Leukemia
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML): see Leukemia
Acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL): see Leukemia
Adenocarcinoma, esophagus: see Esophagus Cancer
Adenocarcinoma, vaginal: see Vaginal Cancer
Adenocarcinoma, bladder: see Bladder Cancer
Anaplastic thyroid cancer: see Thyroid Cancer
Angiosarcoma, liver: see Liver Cancer
Astrocytomas: see Brain Tumors
Basal cell cancer: see Skin Cancer
Bladder cancer: see Bladder Cancer
Bone cancer: see Bone Cancer
Bone cyst, unicameral: see Bone Tumors – Benign
Brain stem gliomas: see Brain Tumors
Brain tumors: see Brain Tumors
Breast cancer: see Breast Cancer
Cervical cancer: see Cervical Cancer
Chest tumors: see Chest Tumors
Children’s cancer: see Cancer & Children
Cholangiocarcinoma, liver: see Liver Cancer
Chondrosarcoma: see Bone Cancer
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): see Leukemia
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML): see Leukemia
Colon cancer: see Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer: see Colorectal Cancer
Craniopharyngiomas: see Brain Tumors
Ductal carcinoma: see Breast Cancer
Endometrial cancer: see Uterine Cancer
Ependymomas: see Brain Tumors
Epithelial carcinoma: see The Ovaries
Esophagus cancer: see Esophagus Cancer
Ewing’s sarcoma: see Bone Cancer
Eye cancer: see Eye Cancer
Fibrous dysplasia: see Bone Tumors – Benign
Follicular thyroid cancer: see Thyroid Cancer
Gastric cancer: see Stomach Cancer
Germ cell tumors, brain: see Brain Tumors
Giant cell tumor: see Bone Tumors – Benign
Head cancer: see Head & Neck Cancers
Hepatoblastoma,: see Liver Cancer
Hepatocellular carcinoma: see Liver Cancer
Hodgkin’s disease: see Lymphoma
Hypopharyngeal cancer: see Head & Neck Cancers
Intraocular cancers: see Eye Cancer
Kidney cancer: see Kidney Cancer
Laryngeal cancer: see Head & Neck Cancers
Leukemia: see Leukemia
Lip cancer: see Oral Cancer
Liver cancer: see Liver Cancer
Lobular carcinoma: see Breast Cancer
Lung cancer: see Lung Cancer
Lymphoma: see Lymphoma
Malignant melanoma: see Skin Cancer
Medullary thyroid cancer: see Thyroid
Medulloblastomas: see Brain Tumors
Melanoma: see Skin Cancer
Mesothelioma: see Mesothelioma
Metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary: see Head & Neck Cancers
Multiple myeloma: see Multiple Myeloma & Plasmacytoma
Myelodysplastic Syndromes: see Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Diseases
Myeloma: see Multiple Myeloma & Plasmacytoma
Myeloproliferative Disorders: see Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Diseases
Nasal cavity cancer: see Head & Neck Cancers
Nasopharyngeal cancer: see Head & Neck Cancers
Neck cancer: see Head & Neck Cancers
Neuroblastoma: see Cancer & Children
Neuroectodermal tumors: see Brain Tumors
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: see Lymphoma
Oligodendrogliomas: see Brain Tumors
Oral cancer: see Oral Cancer
Orbital cancers: see Eye Cancer
Oropharyngeal cancer: see Head & Neck Cancers
Osteoid osteomas: see Bone Tumors – Benign
Osteosarcoma: see Bone Cancer
Ovarian cancer: see The Ovaries
Paget’s disease of breast: see Breast Cancer
Pancreatic cancer: see Pancreatic Cancer
Papillary thyroid cancer: see Thyroid Cancer
Paranasal sinus cancer: see Head & Neck Cancers
Parathyroid cancer: see Parathyroid Glands
Penile cancer: see Penile Cancer
Pineal region tumors: see Brain Tumors
Pineoblastoma: see Brain Tumors
Pineocytoma, brain: see Brain Tumors
Plasmacytoma: see Multiple Myeloma & Plasmacytoma
Prostate cancer: see The Prostate
Rectal cancer: see Colorectal Cancer
Renal cell carcinoma: see Kidney Cancer
Retinoblastomas: see Cancer & Children
Rhabdomyosarcomas: see Cancer & Children
Salivary cancer: see Head & Neck Cancers
Skin cancer: see Skin Cancer
Squamous carcinoma, vaginal: see Vaginal Cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma, skin: see Skin Cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma, bladder: see Bladder Cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma, esophagus: see Esophagus Cancer
Stomach cancer: see Stomach Cancer
Testicular cancer: see Testicular Cancer
Thyroid cancer: see Thyroid Cancer
Tracheal tumors: see Tracheal Tumors
Transitional cell carcinoma, bladder: see Bladder Cancer
Unicameral bone cyst: see Bone Tumors – Benign
Urethral Cancer: see Urethral Cancer
Uterine cancer: see Uterine Cancer
Vaginal Cancer: see Vaginal Cancer
Wilms’ tumor: see Kidney Cancer
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
© Concept Communications Media Group LLC