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Types of Cancer

Revised October 2014

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 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.

Advance Care Planning: Making Your Future Health Care Decisions

Advance care planning is the process of thinking about, and writing down, your wishes or instructions for future health care treatment in the event you become incapable of deciding for yourself.

On September 1, 2011, advance directives became a legal option for capable adults in British Columbia. Advance Care Planning help B.C. residents make their wishes known for their future health care treatment decisions.

For more information about Advance Care Planning, including how to make an advance care plan, name a Representative in a Representation Agreement, or to make an advance directive, you can also visit the Ministry of Health Advance Care Planning page.

If you are a health care provider in B.C. and want to know more about B.C.’s health care consent laws, see the Health Care Providers’ Guide to Consent to Health Care