Types of Cancer

Some of the more common and better known types of cancer include:

Cancers that are not made of single, solid tumors include:

Cancers of the major internal organs include:

Cancers of the body’s many glands include:

Reproductive system cancers in females include:

Male reproductive system cancers include:

Other cancers include:



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Only about 5 to 10 percent of cancers are caused by harmful mutations that are inherited from a person’s parents. In families with an inherited cancer-causing mutation, multiple family members will often develop the same type of cancer. These cancers are called “familial” or “hereditary” cancers.

The remaining 90 to 95 percent of cancers are caused by mutations that happen during a person’s lifetime as a natural result of aging and exposure to environmental factors, such as tobacco smoke and radiation. These cancers are called “non-hereditary” or “spontaneous” cancers. For more information about the risk of getting cancer, see the NCI fact sheet on Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancer Syndromes and Cancer Causes and Risk Factors.

Source: NCI (NIH)1

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Types of Cancers in Young People

About 70,000 young people (ages 15-39) are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States - accounting for about 5 percent of cancer diagnoses in the United States. This is about six times the number of cancers diagnosed in children ages 0-14.

Young adults are more likely than either younger children or older adults to be diagnosed with certain cancers, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, and sarcomas. However, the incidence of specific cancer types varies according to age. Leukemia, lymphoma, testicular cancer, and thyroid cancer are the most common cancers among 15-24-year-olds. Among 25-39-year-olds, breast cancer and melanoma are the most common.

Evidence suggests that some cancers in adolescents and young adults may have unique genetic and biological features. Researchers are working to learn more about the biology of cancers in young adults so that they can identity molecularly targeted therapies that may be effective in these cancers.

Source: NCI (NIH)2

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The most common cancers in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) are:

Source: NCI (NIH)3

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How do cancers in adolescents and young adults differ from those in younger children?

Adolescents and young adults are often diagnosed with different types of cancer than either younger children or older adults. For example, adolescents and young adults are more likely than either younger children or older adults to be diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, and sarcoma (17). However, the incidence of specific cancer types varies widely across the adolescent and young adult age continuum.

Source: NCI (NIH)4

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Types of Cancer in Children

In the United States in 2016, an estimated 10,380 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed among children from birth to 14 years, and about 1,250 children are expected to die from the disease. Although pediatric cancer death rates have declined by nearly 70 percent over the past four decades, cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. The major types of cancers in children ages 0 to 14 years are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), brain and other central nervous system (CNS) tumors, and neuroblastoma, which are expected to account for more than half of new cases in 2016.

Source: NCI (NIH)5

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Unusual Cancers of the Abdomen

Source: NCI (NIH)6

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Unusual Cancers of the Chest

Source: NCI (NIH)7

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Unusual Cancers of the Head and Neck

Source: NCI (NIH)8

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Unusual Cancers of the Reproductive and Urinary Systems

Source: NCI (NIH)9

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Other Rare Unusual Cancers of Childhood

Source: NCI (NIH)10

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Rare Cancers

Source: GARD (NIH)11

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The most frequently occurring forms of the disease in the EU are colorectal, breast, prostate and lung cancers. In men, lung cancer is the most frequent cause of cancer death, while in women, it is breast cancer. In both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death. Although significant advances are being made in the fight against the disease, cancer remains a key public health concern and a tremendous burden on European societies.

Source: EC (EU)12

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The most common kinds of cancer among men in the U.S. are skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer.

Source: CDC Features13

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The most common kinds of cancer among women in the U.S. are skin cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and uterine cancer.

Source: CDC Features14

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Cancer can develop from most types of cells in different parts of the body. Each cancer behaves in an individual way. That is, different cancers will grow and spread in different ways and at different rates. While some cancers share common causes or risk factors, it is believed that most cancers have a unique set of factors causing them to occur.

Source: Queensland Health15

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Prostate cancer is estimated to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer for males in 2017 and breast cancer the most commonly diagnosed cancer for females. However, young people tend to be diagnosed with different types of cancers than older people.

Leukaemia, lymphoma and brain cancer are common cancers among people aged 0-24, while colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer (in females) are common in people aged 25 and over.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare16

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Common cancers

Source: New Zealand Health17

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In the UK, the four most common types of cancer are:

There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and each is diagnosed and treated in a particular way. You can find links on this page to information about other types of cancer.

Source: NHS Choices UK18

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See the links below for information about specific types of cancer:

Source: NHS Choices UK19

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Types of this condition may include:20 Types of cancer:

  • cell type cancer
  • organ system cancer

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Types of this condition:21 Types of cancer:

Specific Types of Cancer

Hereditary Cancer Syndromes: Researchers have associated mutations in specific genes with more than 50 hereditary cancer syndromes, which are disorders that may predispose individuals to developing certain cancers.

Source: NCI (NIH)22

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Familial Cancer Syndromes:

Source: NCI (NIH)23

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Childhood Cancers: The most common types of cancer diagnosed in children and adolescents are leukemia, brain and other central nervous system tumors, lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, bone cancer, and gonadal (testicular and ovarian) germ cell tumors.

Source: NCI (NIH)24

Stages of Cancer

grade: The microscopic description and classification of tumour cell abnormality—that is, how different the tumour cells appear from normal, healthy cells—and an indicator of how quickly a tumour might grow and spread. This information can be used in determining treatment plans.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare25

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stage: The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumour, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare26

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References

  1. Source: NCI (NIH): cancer.gov/ about-cancer/ causes-prevention/ risk/ myths
  2. Source: NCI (NIH): cancer.gov/ types/ aya
  3. ibid.
  4. Source: NCI (NIH): cancer.gov/ types/ childhood-cancers/ child-adolescent-cancers-fact-sheet
  5. Source: NCI (NIH): cancer.gov/ types/ childhood-cancers
  6. Source: NCI (NIH): cancer.gov/ types/ childhood-cancers/ patient/ unusual-cancers-childhood-pdq
  7. ibid.
  8. ibid.
  9. ibid.
  10. ibid.
  11. Source: GARD (NIH): rarediseases.info.nih.gov/ diseases/ diseases-by-category/ 1/ rare-cancers
  12. Source: EC (EU): ec.europa.eu/ health/ major_chronic_diseases/ diseases/ cancer_en
  13. Source: CDC Features: cdc.gov/ cancer/ dcpc/ resources/ features/ CancerAndMen/ 
  14. Source: CDC Features: cdc.gov/ cancer/ dcpc/ resources/ features/ WomenAndCancer/ index.htm
  15. Source: Queensland Health: conditions.health.qld.gov.au/ HealthCondition/ condition/ 3/ 57/ 634/ urinary-system-cancers
  16. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports-statistics/ health-conditions-disability-deaths/ cancer/ about
  17. Source: New Zealand Health: health.govt.nz/ your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ cancer
  18. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ Cancer/ 
  19. ibid.
  20. Source: Disease Ontology
  21. Source: Monarch Initiative
  22. Source: NCI (NIH): cancer.gov/ about-cancer/ causes-prevention/ genetics
  23. Source: NCI (NIH): cancer.gov/ about-cancer/ causes-prevention/ genetics/ directory
  24. Source: NCI (NIH): cancer.gov/ about-cancer/ causes-prevention/ risk/ infectious-agents/ hpv-vaccine-fact-sheet
  25. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports-statistics/ health-conditions-disability-deaths/ cancer/ glossary
  26. ibid.

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.