Everything You Need to Know About Carcinoma: Types, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Treatment, and What It Is

Everything You Need to Know About Carcinoma: Types, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Treatment, and What It Is

Cancer is a serious illness that affects thousands of families every year. According to the American Cancer Society, we’re expecting 1.9 million new cases this year. Nearly 610,000 of all patients are estimated to lose this battle.

Today, carcinoma is the most common form of cancer. So if someone has cancer, the odds are it’s some type of carcinoma. But is it really that serious? Learn more about carcinoma as well as other useful information on treatment, symptoms, types, and many more in this article.

What Is Carcinoma Cancer?

The medical terminology carcinoma refers to the type of cancer that begins at the epithelial tissue. Particularly, you’ll see it starting at your skin, at the lining of your internal organs, or the tissues that line these organs. This can be localized in one organ, but it can also spread to others.

The reason it’s so common is that epithelial tissues are all over your body. In fact, it accounts for as much as 90% of cancer cases there are today. The remaining cases fall under the other classifications, including leukemia, sarcoma, and lymphoma.

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Sarcoma and Carcinoma Definitions: How Are They Different?

As it accounts for the majority of cancer diagnoses, some people tend to see the terms carcinoma and cancer as interchangeable. But although less common, there are other broad classifications for cancer. One of these is sarcoma cancer.

Sarcoma refers to cancers that start at the bones or connective tissues. At the surface level, the main difference between sarcoma and carcinoma is where they started. But if you’re going to look deeper, how the symptoms manifest and the available treatment options also may differ.

Types of Carcinoma

Types of carcinoma cancer are determined by where they happen and the severity of the illness. Below, we’re going to discuss each type:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). This is the most common type of skin cancer, usually beginning at the outermost layer of the skin. BCC doesn’t usually spread, but it’s still good to address it right away.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). If the carcinoma starts as squamous cells, it’s squamous cell carcinoma. SCC can also happen on the skin, cervix, vagina, or anywhere else in your body with squamous cells.
  • Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). Accounting for 90% of kidney cancers, RCC starts in the kidneys’ tubes that filter the blood to make urine. In the early stages, you may not notice symptoms.
  • Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Identified as the earliest form of breast cancer, DCIS is considered non-invasive. It starts at the breast duct lining, but at this point, it hasn’t spread anywhere else.
  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). Representing 80% of breast cancer cases, IDC also starts at the breast ducts. However, it also spreads to the nearby tissues and even the lymph nodes.
  • Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma starts at the glandular cells, those that produce important bodily fluids like mucus and gastric juices.

What Are the Symptoms of Carcinoma?

Carcinoma may share common symptoms like unexplained bruising, bleeding, and severe fatigue. On top of these, you may also experience symptoms depending on the type of carcinoma cancer:

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

  • Shiny lumps or bumps
  • Dark patches on your skin
  • Open sores that are not healing
  • Scar-like areas with elevated parts

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

  • Scaly skin
  • Firm growths
  • Dark skin patches
  • Spots that look like age spots
  • The appearance of sores on scars
  • Open sores with elevated borders
  • Growths that look like warts and/or horns

Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC)

  • Appetite loss
  • Urine blood
  • Abdomen lump
  • Anemia
  • Experiencing pain on the side of your body
  • Weight loss not explained by diet, exercise, and other obvious factors

Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)

For DCIS, it’s possible that you won’t experience symptoms at all. Doctors usually just catch these during mammograms. But for the more severe form of IDC, watch out for these symptoms:

  • Breast swelling
  • Darkening skin
  • Nipple discharge
  • Dimpling around the nipple area
  • Lumps on the breast and/or the armpit


The symptoms here will wildly vary. How they manifest can also indicate what type of adenocarcinoma cancer you have:

  • Lung cancer. Chest pain, shortness of breath, and bloody sputum
  • Colorectal cancer. Diarrhea, constipation, and rectal bleeding
  • Prostate cancer. Blood in urine, erectile dysfunction, and enlarged prostate
  • Stomach cancer. Appetite loss, indigestion, and abdominal area bloating
  • Pancreatic cancer. Brown urine, abdominal pain, and blood clots

How Do You Get Carcinoma?

Carcinoma starts just like any other type of cancer. At first, your body is replicating cells at a normal rate to replace the older or dying cells. This ensures that your body performs all its functions well.

The problem is when this process falters. The body starts producing too many epithelial cells too quickly, making errors in the process. These faulty cells form tumors. Some of these will be benign. Meanwhile, the cancerous ones are called carcinoma.

The Carcinoma Tumor

As we’ve discussed, not all tumors will become carcinomas. But a carcinoma tumor is something that should be addressed right away. To some extent, it’s also used as a basis for the severity of the disease. This severity is generally classified into three:

  • Carcinoma in situ. This typically happens during the early stages. The cancerous cells are only at the layer where abnormal cancerous cell growth was identified.
  • Invasive carcinoma. At this point, cancer has spread to other healthy cells and tissues within the same organ as well.
  • Metastatic carcinoma. Once it spreads to other organs, it’s classified as metastatic.
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What Are the Risk Factors and How Can I Prevent Carcinoma?

Taking care of your health does a lot in preventing various forms of cancer. Even if you think you’re not at an increased risk, keeping yourself healthy will do a lot. So to start, eat a balanced diet and stay active.

For all types of carcinoma, age and family history also play a huge part. There’s not much that you can do with these, but these factors don’t necessarily mean you’re going to get carcinoma as well. Alternatively, being young with no genetic history of carcinoma doesn’t mean you’re safe.

Regardless of how well you “perform” with the genetic factors, you’re always going to improve your odds by avoiding the risk factors. If you want to minimize the odds of getting these types of carcinoma cancer, know about these risk factors and what you can do to avoid them:

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

  • Fair skin. Use the appropriate sunblock or sunscreen to minimize your exposure to UV rays.
  • Excessive sun exposure. Reduce your sun exposure, and wear clothes that cover more of your skin.
  • Usage of tanning beds. Explore other alternatives like spray tans.
  • Living in a sunny location. Use umbrellas and hats to shield yourself from the sun while keeping yourself cool.
  • Heightened arsenic exposure. Use the necessary protection if your job involves using or producing arsenic. Drink water from safe sources only.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Apart from having fair skin and heightened sun exposure, these may also increase your odds of getting SCC:

  • Weak immune system. If doing the normal things like eating well and getting enough sleep aren’t enough, talk to your doctor about what you can do.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV). Use dental dams and condoms when engaging in oral or penetrative sexual activities to lower the odds of contracting it.

Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC)

  • Smoking. Make efforts to completely stop smoking. If you’re not a smoker, reduce your exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Hypertension and obesity. Manage hypertension and obesity by making lifestyle changes and seeking the advice of a medical professional.

Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)

Apart from obesity, the risk factors are unfortunately out of someone’s control. Genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 can help you better prepare on coming to terms with your potential risk.


  • Alcohol Consumption. Minimize or stop drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • Poor Diet. Eat a diet rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans. Avoid processed meat as well.
  • Hormones. Address any potential hormone imbalance with the help of your doctor. If you’re at an increased genetic risk as well, consult a medical professional before taking anything that may alter your hormone production.

How Do You Treat Carcinoma?

How carcinoma will be treated will vary based on the severity, type, and location of the cancerous cells. Treatment may include:


Surgery is the most direct response to cancer. It involves removing all the cancerous cells and some of the adjacent tissues that may have been affected as well. As much as possible, the surgeon makes it as minimally invasive as possible to reduce the infection risk as well as the healing time.

Even though this is the go-to treatment, it may not be available in all cases. If the cancerous cells are found deep where it’s not operable, your doctor may go to the other options right away.

Radiation Therapy

Normally used in combination with chemotherapy or surgery, radiation therapy targets the tumors directly while keeping all healthy cells unscathed. Using image guidance, it works by damaging the DNA structure of the cancerous cells so that they eventually die and get flushed by the body.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work as quickly as people hope it would. But for some types of cancers, radiation therapy works well on its own.


Chemotherapy involves taking drugs (usually through the vein). These drugs would target fast-growing cells, something that completely characterizes what happens with cancer cells.

Even though it’s effective in attacking these cells, cancer cells aren’t the only fast-growing cells that your body hosts. That’s why your hair and bone marrow, for example, are also affected by chemotherapy treatment.

Apart from the treatment itself, the doctor will most likely also place dietary restrictions. To improve the results of your treatment, we strongly advise following everything they say down to the letter. For the pain, you may be prescribed medication and psychological counseling. You may also need assistance while undergoing treatment, so having a trusted loved one to help would be very beneficial.

General Tips for Caring for Yourself or a Loved One Diagnosed with Carcinoma

Caregivers play a vital role in making sure that the patient feels as secure and comfortable as possible. It’s a scary time for everyone involved because no one knows how the treatment will affect recovery. If you or your loved one suffer from carcinoma, caring for their well-being is still important. You can do this by:

  • Maintain open communication. Cancer affects people in different ways. By keeping communication open with your doctor and loved ones, you’ll be able to get the best support possible.
  • Try to maintain a schedule. When you have carcinoma, you may feel that a lot of things are out of your control. Keeping a schedule can help you gain more control over what happens in your daily life.
  • Don’t be afraid to pause. Carcinoma can take a lot of energy from you. So if the pain or the exhaustion is too much, take a break.

The strong support network of the patient can help a lot in recovery. This helps effectively divide the tasks so no one carer feels that all responsibilities fall upon them. In turn, the patient also wouldn’t feel that they’re a burden to their loved ones.

For Your Wellness and Health in Managing Carcinoma, You Have All American Hospice

Unfortunately, not every cancer patient comes out victorious. This is a sad reality that patients, loved ones, and the medical community face even today. But while the world is still developing cures for carcinoma and different types of cancer, let us focus on promoting the best life possible for terminally ill patients.

For family members and loved ones, taking care of a loved one with carcinoma can feel like too much physical and emotional labor. They feel overwhelmed and sometimes even think that what they’re doing isn’t enough. Meanwhile, the patient may also have a hard time coming to terms with the illness.

Especially for terminally ill cases, we understand that carcinoma management and treatment can be hard for all parties involved. That’s the very root of why All American Hospice exists. Our team of professionals is here to provide the care and support the patient needs to feel the most comfortable possible.

If you’re curious about how our services can be a good fit for your needs, please feel free to call our managers at 215-322-5256. We’ll schedule a free consultation with our doctor and help you find the most suitable program for your needs.

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