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Cancer Ribbons - M | Personalized Cause

Cancer ribbons colors and meanings for more than 100 types of cancer. Cancer ribbons page includes a brief explanation of cancer type beginning with the letter M.

Cancer Ribbons / Cancer Awareness Ribbons

There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form, but they also may be described by the type of cell that formed them.

M
Male Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Breast cancer may occur in men. Men at any age may develop breast cancer, but it is usually detected (found) in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer.

The following types of breast cancer are found in men:

Infiltrating ductal carcinoma
Cancer that has spread beyond the cells lining ducts in the breast. Most men with breast cancer have this type of cancer.

Ductal carcinoma in situ
Abnormal cells that are found in the lining of a duct; also called intraductal carcinoma.

Inflammatory breast cancer
A type of cancer in which the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm.

Paget disease of the nipple
A tumor that has grown from ducts beneath the nipple onto the surface of the nipple.

Lobular carcinoma in situ (abnormal cells found in one of the lobes or sections of the breast), which sometimes occurs in women, has not been seen in men.

Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone and Osteosarcoma
Bone cancer is rare and includes several types. Some bone cancers, including osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, are seen most often in children and young adults.

Osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of the bone are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in bone. Osteosarcoma usually starts in osteoblasts, which are a type of bone cell that becomes new bone tissue. Osteosarcoma is most common in adolescents. It commonly forms in the ends of the long bones of the body, which include bones of the arms and legs. In children and adolescents, it often forms in the long bones, near the knee. Rarely, osteosarcoma may be found in soft tissue or organs in the chest or abdomen. Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer.

Malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of bone is a rare tumor of the bone. It is treated like osteosarcoma. Ewing sarcoma is another kind of bone cancer.

Melanoma
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Melanoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in melanocytes (cells that color the skin). Melanoma is much less common than the other types but much more likely to invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. Most deaths from skin cancer are caused by melanoma. The number of new cases of melanoma has been increasing over the last 30 years. Melanoma is most common in adults, but it is sometimes found in children and adolescents.

The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Childhood Melanoma - see Unusual Cancers of Childhood
Even though melanoma is rare, it is the most common skin cancer in children. It occurs more often in adolescents aged 15 to 19 years.

Melanoma, Intraocular (Eye)
Intraocular (uveal) melanoma is a rare cancer that forms in the eye. It usually has no early signs or symptoms. As with melanoma of the skin, risk factors include having fair skin and light-colored eyes.

Childhood Intraocular Melanoma - see Unusual Cancers of Childhood
Intraocular melanoma begins in the middle of three layers of the wall of the eye. The outer layer includes the white sclera (the "white of the eye") and the clear cornea at the front of the eye. The inner layer has a lining of nerve tissue, called the retina, which senses light and sends images along the optic nerve to the brain. The middle layer, where intraocular melanoma forms, is called the uvea or uveal tract, and has three main parts: the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma (Skin Cancer)
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Melanoma is much less common than the other types but much more likely to invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. Most deaths from skin cancer are caused by melanoma.

Merkel cell carcinoma is a very rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the skin. Merkel cells are found in the top layer of the skin. These cells are very close to the nerve endings that receive the sensation of touch. Merkel cell carcinoma, also called neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin or trabecular cancer, is a very rare type of skin cancer that forms when Merkel cells grow out of control. Merkel cell carcinoma starts most often in areas of skin exposed to the sun, especially the head and neck, as well as the arms, legs, and trunk.

Mesothelioma, Malignant
Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the thin tissue (mesothelium) that lines the lung, chest wall, and abdomen. The major risk factor for mesothelioma is asbestos exposure.

Childhood Mesothelioma - see Unusual Cancers of Childhood
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer most commonly diagnosed in people in their 60s and 70s, but doctors have reported roughly 300 cases worldwide in young adults, children and even infants. In most cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in youth and childhood, there is no history of exposure to asbestos, which is a much more common cancer among adults.

Metastatic Cancer
The main reason that cancer is so serious is its ability to spread in the body. Cancer cells can spread locally by moving into nearby normal tissue. Cancer can also spread regionally, to nearby lymph nodes, tissues, or organs. And it can spread to distant parts of the body. When this happens, it is called metastatic cancer. For many types of cancer, it is also called stage IV (four) cancer. The process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body is called metastasis.

When observed under a microscope and tested in other ways, metastatic cancer cells have features like that of the primary cancer and not like the cells in the place where the cancer is found. This is how doctors can tell that it is cancer that has spread from another part of the body.

Metastatic cancer has the same name as the primary cancer. For example, breast cancer that spreads to the lung is called metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer. It is treated as stage IV breast cancer, not as lung cancer.

Sometimes when people are diagnosed with metastatic cancer, doctors cannot tell where it started. This type of cancer is called cancer of unknown primary origin, or CUP.

When a new primary cancer occurs in a person with a history of cancer, it is known as a second primary cancer. Second primary cancers are rare. Most of the time, when someone who has had cancer has cancer again, it means the first primary cancer has returned.

Where Cancer Spreads
Cancer can spread to most any part of the body, although different types of cancer are more likely to spread to certain areas than others. The most common sites where cancer spreads are the bone, liver, and lung.

The following list shows the most common sites of metastasis, not including the lymph nodes, for some common cancers:

Common Sites of Metastasis
Cancer Type Main Sites of Metastasis
Bladder Bone, liver, lung
Breast Bone, brain, liver, lung
Colon Liver, lung, peritoneum
Kidney Adrenal gland, bone, brain, liver, lung
Lung Adrenal gland, bone, brain, liver, other lung
Melanoma Bone, brain, liver, lung, skin, muscle
Ovary Liver, lung, peritoneum
Pancreas Liver, lung, peritoneum
Prostate Adrenal gland, bone, liver, lung
Rectal Liver, lung, peritoneum
Stomach Liver, lung, peritoneum
Thyroid Bone, liver, lung
Uterus Bone, liver, lung, peritoneum, vagina

Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary (Head and Neck Cancer)
Head and neck cancers include cancers in the larynx, throat, lips, mouth, nose, and salivary glands. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) increase the risk of head and neck cancers.

Metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary is a disease in which squamous cell cancer spreads to lymph nodes in the neck and it is not known where the cancer first formed in the body. Squamous cells are thin, flat cells found in tissues that form the surface of the skin and the lining of body cavities such as the mouth, hollow organs such as the uterus and blood vessels, and the lining of the respiratory (breathing) and digestive tracts. Some organs with squamous cells are the esophagus, lungs, kidneys, and uterus. Cancer can begin in squamous cells anywhere in the body and metastasize (spread) through the blood or lymph system to other parts of the body.

When squamous cell cancer spreads to lymph nodes in the neck or around the collarbone, it is called metastatic squamous neck cancer. The doctor will try to find the primary tumor (the cancer that first formed in the body), because treatment for metastatic cancer is the same as treatment for the primary tumor. For example, when lung cancer spreads to the neck, the cancer cells in the neck are lung cancer cells and they are treated the same as the cancer in the lung. Sometimes doctors cannot find where in the body the cancer first began to grow. When tests cannot find a primary tumor, it is called an occult (hidden) primary tumor. In many cases, the primary tumor is never found.

Midline Tract Carcinoma With NUT Gene Changes
Childhood midline tract carcinoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the respiratory tract or other places along the middle of the body. The respiratory tract is made up of the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Midline tract carcinoma may also form in other places along the middle of the body, such as the thymus, the area between the lungs, the pancreas, liver, and bladder.

Midline tract carcinoma is sometimes caused by a change in the NUT gene. Midline tract carcinoma is caused by a change in a chromosome. Every cell in the body contains DNA (genetic material stored inside chromosomes) that controls how the cell looks and acts. Midline tract cancer may form when part of the DNA from chromosome 15 (called the NUT gene) joins with the DNA from another chromosome or when there are other changes to the NUT gene.

Mouth Cancer (Head and Neck Cancer)
Head and neck cancers include cancers in the larynx, throat, lips, mouth, nose, and salivary glands. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) increase the risk of head and neck cancers. Lip and oral cavity cancer is a type of head and neck cancer.

Lip and oral cavity cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lips or mouth. The oral cavity includes: the front two thirds of the tongue; the gingiva (gums); the buccal mucosa (the lining of the inside of the cheeks); the floor (bottom) of the mouth under the tongue; the hard palate (the roof of the mouth); the retromolar trigone (the small area behind the wisdom teeth).

Most lip and oral cavity cancers start in squamous cells, the thin, flat cells that line the lips and oral cavity. These are called squamous cell carcinomas. Cancer cells may spread into deeper tissue as the cancer grows. Squamous cell carcinoma usually develops in areas of leukoplakia (white patches of cells that do not rub off).

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndromes - see Unusual Cancers of Childhood
Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) syndromes are inherited disorders that affect the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of glands and cells that make hormones and release them into the blood. MEN syndromes may cause hyperplasia (the growth of too many normal cells) or tumors that may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

There are several types of MEN syndromes and each type may cause different conditions or cancers. The two main types of MEN syndromes are MEN1 and MEN2:

MEN1 syndrome is also called Werner syndrome.
This syndrome usually causes tumors in the parathyroid gland, pituitary gland, and pancreas. Rarely, it causes tumors in the adrenal glands, gastrointestinal tract, fibrous tissue, and fat cells. The tumors make extra hormones and cause certain signs or symptoms of disease. The signs and symptoms depend on the type of hormone made by the tumor.

A diagnosis of MEN1 syndrome is usually made when tumors are found in two different places. The prognosis (chance of recovery) is usually good. Children who are diagnosed with MEN1 syndrome are checked for signs of cancer starting at age 5 and continuing for the rest of their life. Children with MEN1 syndrome may also have primary hyperparathyroidism. In primary hyperparathyroidism, one or more of the parathyroid glands makes too much parathyroid hormone. The most common sign of primary hyperparathyroidism is kidney stones.

MEN2A syndrome is also called Sipple syndrome.
Patients with MEN2B syndrome may have a slender body build with long, thin arms and legs. The lips may appear thick and bumpy because of benign tumors in the mucous membranes.

A small number of medullary thyroid cancers may occur at the same time as Hirschsprung disease (chronic constipation that begins when a child is an infant), which has been found in some families with MEN2A syndrome. Hirschsprung disease may appear before other signs of MEN2A syndrome do. Patients who are diagnosed with Hirschsprung disease should be checked for certain gene changes that cause MEN2A syndrome.

Familial medullary carcinoma of the thyroid (FMTC) is a type of MEN2A syndrome that causes medullary thyroid cancer. A diagnosis of FMTC may be made when two or more family members have medullary thyroid cancer and no family members have parathyroid or adrenal gland problems.

Multiple Myeloma/Plasma Cell Neoplasms
Plasma cell neoplasms occur when abnormal plasma cells form cancerous tumors in bone or soft tissue. When there is only one tumor, the disease is called a plasmacytoma. When there are multiple tumors, it is called multiple myeloma.

Mycosis Fungoides (Lymphoma)
Lymphoma is a broad term for cancer that begins in cells of the lymph system. The two main types are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Hodgkin lymphoma can often be cured. The prognosis of NHL depends on the specific type.

Mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are diseases in which lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) become malignant (cancerous) and affect the skin. Normally, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells (immature cells) that become mature blood stem cells over time. A blood stem cell may become a myeloid stem cell or a lymphoid stem cell. A myeloid stem cell becomes a red blood cell, white blood cell, or platelet.

Mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are types of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. In mycosis fungoides, T-cell lymphocytes become cancerous and affect the skin. In Sézary syndrome, cancerous T-cell lymphocytes affect the skin and are in the blood. Mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are the two most common types of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Neoplasms
Myeloproliferative neoplasms and myelodysplastic syndromes are diseases of the blood cells and bone marrow. Sometimes both conditions are present.

Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of cancers in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature or become healthy blood cells. The different types of myelodysplastic syndromes are diagnosed based on certain changes in the blood cells and bone marrow.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms are a group of diseases in which the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets.

Myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms are a group of diseases in which the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells.

Myelogenous Leukemia, Chronic (CML)
Leukemia is a broad term for cancers of the blood cells. The type of leukemia depends on the type of blood cell that becomes cancer and whether it grows quickly or slowly. Leukemia occurs most often in adults older than 55, but it is also the most common cancer in children younger than 15.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia is a disease in which the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells. Chronic myelogenous leukemia (also called CML or chronic granulocytic leukemia) is a slowly progressing blood and bone marrow disease that usually occurs during or after middle age, and rarely occurs in children.

In CML, too many blood stem cells become a type of white blood cell called granulocytes. These granulocytes are abnormal and do not become healthy white blood cells. They are also called leukemia cells. The leukemia cells can build up in the blood and bone marrow so there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. When this happens, infection, anemia, or easy bleeding may occur.

Myeloid Leukemia, Acute (AML)
Leukemia is a broad term for cancers of the blood cells. The type of leukemia depends on the type of blood cell that becomes cancer and whether it grows quickly or slowly. Leukemia occurs most often in adults older than 55, but it is also the most common cancer in children younger than 15.

Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets. This type of cancer usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated. It is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. AML is also called acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.

Myeloproliferative Neoplasms, Chronic
Myeloproliferative neoplasms and myelodysplastic syndromes are diseases of the blood cells and bone marrow. Sometimes both conditions are present. In myeloproliferative neoplasms, too many blood stem cells become one or more types of blood cells. The neoplasms usually get worse slowly as the number of extra blood cells increases.

There are 6 types of chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms. The type of myeloproliferative neoplasm is based on whether too many red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets are being made. Sometimes the body will make too many of more than one type of blood cell, but usually one type of blood cell is affected more than the others are.

Chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms include the following 6 types:

Chronic myelogenous leukemia
Polycythemia vera
Primary myelofibrosis (also called chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis
Essential thrombocythemia
Chronic neutrophilic leukemia
Chronic eosinophilic leukemia