Types of Cancer for Medical Coders – Video

Alicia:    Q: (Types of Cancer) – This student said “I’m confused about the types of cancer. I understand benign and malignant, but is there a way to know them by name?”

A: Well, actually, in some ways there is, but let’s go over some of the main ones and see if we can help you there.

So, malignant, now you said you know the difference between malignant and benign, so I’m not going to talk about that because they definitely are different. This is actually a picture of a malignant cancer and you notice those little spidery legs, spindly things coming out, that is what malignancy does, is invasive and it reaches out it, doesn’t stay in that little circular.

The most common ones are, the ones that you want to memorize – now again, there’s different types but these are the ones for the different body systems. If it’s a carcinoma, its skin; if it’s a sarcoma, that’s bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, connective or supportive tissue. So, it would be specific, they’ll say a body part-sarcoma.

Leukemia – is always about blood. It affects the bone marrow, that’s what we’re dealing with there, so leukemia is blood. A lymphoma is cells of the immune system. Again, a lymphoma, now notice all of these are in ending in “oma” that’s a heads up for malignancy, but lymphoma is the immune system.

Central Nervous System Cancer – There isn’t a fancy name for those per se but that is when they’re dealing with brain and spinal cord.

Types of Cancer for Medical Coder – Video

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Now, there was another little slide here, I couldn’t help but put this on here because this is classic example of what malignancy does. Here you have these nice little bloods – these new cells right here and here’s a cell here but you’ve got all these mutant cells and look how it reaches out and connects. So, you got this cell here and here is a different type of cell and this, whichever one reaches out, it grabs the other one. Just a perfect example of malignancy.

Now, benign, you notice this don’t have those little fingers but these are… meaning, that they just kind of go crazy, they just keep growing and growing and stuff. The basic ones for benign, you have: Adenomas – and that’s epithelial tissue or a gland. You have fibromas – which is connective tissue. You know how you have fibroids, people talk about that, that’s all connective tissue, and here we have fibromas.

Then we have hemangiomas – that is a blood vessel cells. You have lipomas – which is the fat cells. Then you have meningiomas – membrane of the brain or spinal cord. You have myomas – which is muscle. Again, “myo” is the root word for muscle, so see how that is easy to remember. You have nevi – which is skin. They have nevus – you’ve heard of that? Neuromas – is the nerves, so you have these nerve cells going crazy there. You have osteochondromas – that’s all about the bones. You have papillomas – epithelial tissue with finger like fronds. This is really unique because they are shaped different and they’re recognizable by those fingers like fronds that come off of them.

Now, again, these are the main ones and the basic cell types, but there is a fantastic website that will help you, it’s on cancer.org. Let’s go show that real quick here, I think you’ll be impressed. Look here, every type of cancer that you could possibly think of, and then you can click on that. Adrenal cancer – and then what they’re going to do is give you the full breakdown of that type of cancer, see? And then you can get more information from there.

Very impressive, cancer.org; if you need to be real savvy with the different types of benign and malignant by name, cancer.org is going to give that to you. They will distinguish the malignant and the benign and they will give the names and as much as education as you could possibly imagine on that website.

By the most part, you can go by here we go… leukemia – that is a white blood cell and it’s a blood forming tissue is where that happens, so you can take root words usually and have them the “oma” on the end, is a heads-up for the cancer. But, not always does it go by the root word.

Go to cancer.org and you’ll find more information. There are other websites like WebMD that are very helpful. For the most part, the main cancers, it will not take long for you to have them in your head. So, advice is besides just remembering them, having them memorized is to go to those websites and have it bookmarked so you can access them quickly. And, you really should educate yourself as much as possible because as a coder you’re going to come across this on a daily basis. So, it’s very good to have asked this question and increase your skills in this area to be able to code to the highest specificity. Alright?

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