Cancer is classified as either solid tumors or liquid tumors. Both types are composed of abnormal cells that multiply uncontrollably. Solid tumors create a single mass or many masses, whereas liquid tumors circulate throughout the body via the bloodstream.
A solid tumor is a solid mass of cancer cells that grow in organ systems and can occur anywhere in the body, such as breast cancer.
Liquid tumors are cancers that develop in the blood, bone marrow, or lymph nodes and include leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
What Is a Solid Tumor?
A solid tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue that usually does not contain cysts or liquid areas. Solid tumors may be cancerous, or non-cancerous. Diverse types of solid tumors are named for the type of cells that form them. Examples of solid tumors are sarcomas and carcinomas.
What Is a Liquid Tumor?
Lymphomas and leukemias are instances of “liquid tumors,” or cancers found in bodily fluids and identifiable through blood testing. They may, however, emit substances that are detectable in bodily fluids.
Which Cancer Types Are a Liquid Tumor?
Leukemias (“liquid cancers” or “blood cancers”) are cancers of the bone marrow. The disease is often associated with the overproduction of immature white blood cells. These immature white blood cells do not perform as well as they should, therefore the patient is often prone to infection. Leukemia also affects red blood cells and can cause poor blood clotting and fatigue due to anemia. Examples of leukemia include:
- Myelogenous or granulocytic leukemia
- Lymphatic, lymphocytic, or lymphoblastic leukemia
- Polycythemia vera or erythremia
What Are the Types of Solid Tumors?
Sarcomas and carcinomas are the two most common forms of solid tumors. Many types of solid tumors, whether sarcomas or carcinomas, are frequently treated surgically.
Sarcomas are tumors in a blood vessel, bone, fat tissue, ligament, lymph vessel, muscle, or tendon. There are many types of sarcomas. They include:
- Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma, which are bone cancer sarcomas.
- Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a soft tissue sarcoma found in muscles.
Carcinomas are tumors that form in epithelial cells. Epithelial cells are found in the skin, glands, and the linings of organs. Those organs include the bladder, ureters, and part of the kidneys.
One common carcinoma is adrenocortical carcinoma. This is when a tumor develops in one or both adrenal glands, located above each kidney.
How Many Cancer Types Are Solid Tumors?
Tight and gap junctions allow irregular and heterotypic cells to communicate in solid tumors. In contrast to liquid tumors, as cells expand, they create a “lump” known as a solid tumor, which often does not include pockets of fluid, pus, air, or other substances. Solid tumors can be non-cancerous, pre-cancerous, or cancerous.
Solid tumors account for approximately 90 percent of adult cancers. They can appear in a variety of locations across the human body, including the breast, lung, prostate, colon, melanoma, bladder, and kidney.
Examples of localized solid tumors:
What Is the Most Common Liquid Cancer?
Health professionals often refer to leukemia and lymphoma as “liquid tumors”. Also called blood cancers, these cancers can affect the bone marrow, the blood cells, and the lymphatic system.
Every 4 minutes, 1 person in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Leukemia and lymphoma are often grouped together and considered related liquid cancers because they all result from acquired mutations to the DNA of a single lymph- or blood-forming stem cell.
What Is the Most Common Solid Cancer?
The ten most common solid cancers in the US are: prostate, breast, lung and bronchus, colon and rectal, urinary bladder, thyroid, kidney and renal pelvis, uterine corpus, oral cavity, ovarian.