Morphology

There are a number of major morphological (histological) groups ofmalignant neoplasms: carcinomas including squamous (cell) and adeno-carcinomas; sarcomas; other soft tissue tumours including mesotheliomas; lymphomas (Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's); leukaemia; other specified and site-specific types; and unspecified cancers. Cancer is a generic term and may be used for any of the above groups, although it is rarely applied to the malignant neoplasms of lymphatic, haematopoietic and related tissue. "Carcinoma" is sometimes used incorrectly as a synonym for "cancer".

In Chapter II neoplasms are classified predominantly by site within broad groupings for behaviour. In a few exceptional cases morphology is indicated in the category and subcategory titles.

For those wishing to identify the histological type of neoplasm, comprehensive separate morphology codes are provided ( see section Morphology of neoplasms). These morphology codes are derived from the second edition of International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O), which is a dual-axis classification providing independent coding systems for topography and morphology. Morphology codes have six digits: the first four digits identify the histological type; the fifth digit is the behaviour code (malignant primary, malignant secondary (metastatic), in situ, benign, uncertain whether malignant or benign); and the sixth digit is a grading code (differentiation) for solid tumours, and is also used as a special code for lymphomas and leukaemias.

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