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Types of Cancer

Reviewed December 2013

This information should not be used for self-diagnosis or in place of a qualified physician’s care.


Choose the type of cancer listed on the menu bar to the left.

Cancers are usually named after the part of the body where the cancer first began. The name does not change even if the cancer spreads to another part of the body.

For example, if breast cancer spreads (metastasizes) to the lung, it is called breast cancer with lung metastases.  If chemotherapy is indicated as the best treatment, breast cancer drugs would be used to treat the lung metastases.

Other cancers such as leukemia (a cancer involving the blood) may not mention a tumour site in the name.

Different types of cancer vary in their signs and symptoms, how fast they grow, how they spread, and how they react to different treatments. This is why it is important to accurately diagnose a cancer, so that treatment begins as soon as possible.

For most cancers listed to the left, you will find information on the cancer and:

  • What causes it and who gets it?
  • Can I help to prevent it?
  • Screening for this cancer
  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Types and Stages
  • Treatment 
  • Follow-up after Treatment
  • Living with Cancer
  • Library Resources
  • Recommended Websites
  • Videos  
  • Can I help with research at BCCA?