Also called: Carcinoma, Malignancy, Neoplasms, Tumor

Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don’t need them, and old cells don’t die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren’t cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Most treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some may involve hormone therapy, immunotherapy or other types of biologic therapy, or stem cell transplantation.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Also called: Windpipe disorders

Your trachea, or windpipe, is one part of your airway system. Airways are pipes that carry oxygen-rich air to your lungs. They also carry carbon dioxide, a waste gas, out of your lungs.

When you inhale, air travels from your nose, through your larynx, and down your windpipe. The windpipe splits into two bronchi that enter your lungs.

Problems with the trachea include narrowing, inflammation, and some inherited conditions. You may need a procedure called a tracheostomy to help you breathe if you have swallowing problems, or have conditions that affect coughing or block your airways. You might also need a tracheostomy if you are in critical care and need to be on a breathing machine.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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