What Does the Term 'Carcinoma' Mean?

Question: What does the term "carcinoma" mean?

Answer: Carcinoma is a really broad term to mean a cancer that starts in an epithelial cell, in one of the cells that line our body -- in the skin, you can have carcinoma of the brain, you can have carcinoma of the colon, so it's not defined just as breast. Cancer means not only is there abnormal growth, but those cells can spread to other parts of the body and start invading, almost as terrorists, into other areas -- and that's what really kills you when you get cancer. It's not the cells in the original organ, but the cells that get into more important places, like the lungs, or the liver, or the brain.

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