Five rare types of cancers

Sunday, October 6th, 2019 12:24 |

1.Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) does not usually form tumours. It is generally widespread throughout the bone marrow and, in some cases, spreads to other organs, such as the liver and spleen.

The outlook for a person with AML depends on other information, such as the subtype of AML (determined by lab tests), the patient’s age, and other lab test results. In most types of AML, the leukemia cells are immature white blood cells (blast cells).

In less common types of AML, there are too many immature platelets or immature red blood cells are made. AML progresses rapidly and is typically fatal within weeks or months if left untreated.

Risk factors include smoking, previous chemotherapy or radiation therapy, myelodysplastic syndrome, and exposure to chemical benzene. AML is rare and account for only one per cent of all cancers.

2.  Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma)

This cancer starts in the lining of the bile duct. It is rare and mainly affects adults aged over 65. It can sometimes be cured if caught early, but it’s not usually picked up until a later stage.

There aren’t usually any symptoms until it grows large enough to block the bile ducts. This can cause yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), itchy skin, pale stools and dark urine, loss of appetite and weight loss, persistent tiredness and feeling unwell, tummy (abdominal) pain and swelling – some people feel a dull ache in the upper right hand side of their tummy, high temperature (fever), chills and shivering.

3.  Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP)

This usually starts in the appendix. Only about one in a million people get it. The cause of PMP isn’t known. It normally develops slowly and makes a jelly-like liquid called mucin. Eventually, the cancer spreads into the space inside the peritoneum (layer of tissue that lines the abdomen).

As the mucin builds up, it puts pressure on the bowel and other organs. You may not have any symptoms at first, but they can include gradual increase in waist size, loss of appetite, unexplained weight gain, tummy pain and changes in bowel habits.

4. Spinal cord tumours

Although rare, several tumours can start in the spinal cord causing problems by pressing on the nerves that run from the brain to the middle of the back to different areas of the body. Symptoms may include back or neck pain, and numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms or legs.

5. Salivary gland cancer

Salivary gland tumours are rare, accounting for less than 10 per cent of all head and neck tumours. They begin in any of the salivary glands the mouth, neck or throat. The main treatment for salivary gland cancer is usually surgery. You may have radiotherapy after surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. Sometimes radiotherapy is given as the main treatment.

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