Different types of cancer

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This information is aimed to support you to understand how specific cancers are diagnosed and treated, and how to find additional support. This is important as no two cancers are the same. Testing, treatment and side effects can be different for each cancer type.

You can download or order any of our Understanding Cancer booklets using our online order form.  These booklets give more detail about each cancer

If you can’t find what you are looking call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to speak to one of our Cancer Information and Support team.

Bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is cancer in any part of the large bowel (colon or rectum). It is sometimes known as colorectal cancer and may be called colon cancer, depending on where it starts. Cancer of the small bowel is very rare – it is called small bowel cancer or small intestine cancer. Bowel cancer grows from…

Brain tumour

A brain or spinal cord tumour occurs when abnormal cells grow and form a mass or a lump. The tumour may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), but both types can be serious and may need urgent treatment. A brain tumour may be a primary or a secondary cancer. Cancer that first develops in…

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of cells lining the breast ducts or lobules. These cells grow uncontrollably and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Both women and men can develop breast cancer, although breast cancer is rare in men. Most breast cancers are found when they are invasive. Invasive…

Cancer of the uterus

Cancer of the uterus occurs when cells become abnormal and start growing and multiplying out of control. It is also known as uterine cancer and can begin in the lining of the uterus (endometrium), the muscle tissue (myometrium), or the connective tissue supporting the endometrium (stroma). Uterine cancer can be either endometrial cancer (around 95%…

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer begins when abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix grow uncontrollably. Cancer most commonly starts in the area of the cervix called the transformation zone, but it may spread to tissues around the cervix, such as the vagina, or to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs or…

Gynaecological cancers

Gynaecological cancers involve the female reproductive organs. They occur when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way. Types of gynaecological cancers: Gynaecological cancers are named after the organ or part of the body they first develop. Ovarian cancer Uterine cancer Cervical cancer Vulval cancer Vaginal cancer Other types of gynaecological cancers include fallopian tube cancer…

Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer is a general term used for a range of cancers that start in the tissue or lymph nodes in the head and neck area. This region includes the mouth, tongue, palate, gums, salivary glands, tonsils, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), nose and sinuses. Only malignant tumours are cancer. Some tumours in the…

Kidney cancer

Kidney cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the kidney. On this page you will find information on: Types of kidney cancer How common is kidney cancer? What are the risk factors? What are the symptoms of kidney cancer? How is kidney cancer diagnosed? What is the treatment for kidney…

Lung cancer

Lung Cancer begins when abnormal cells grow and multiply in an uncontrolled way in one or both of the lungs. Cancer that starts in the lungs is known as primary lung cancer. It can spread to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes, brain, adrenal glands, liver and bones. When cancer starts…

Melanoma

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It develops in the skin cells called melanocytes and usually occurs on parts of the body that have been overexposed to the sun. Rare melanomas can also start inside the eye or in a part of the skin or body that has never been exposed to the sun,…

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is a malignant tumour in one or both ovaries. Some cases of ovarian cancer may form in the fallopian tube and spread to the ovary. There are many types of ovarian cancer. The three most common types are Epithelial – starts in the fallopian tubes, on the surface of the ovary (epithelium) or…

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer begins when abnormal cells in the prostate start growing in an uncontrolled way. In most cases prostate cancer grows more slowly than other types of cancer. This might mean that you do not need treatment straightaway. However, some prostate cancers can grow and spread quickly, so it is important to investigate any symptoms or…

Skin cancer

Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the skin. On this page you will find information on: Types of skin cancer How common is skin cancer? What are the risk factors? How is skin cancer diagnosed? What is the treatment for skin cancer? What is the prognosis? What support is available? Types…

Vulva cancer

Vulvar cancer can start in any part of the external female sex organs (genitals). It most commonly develops in the labia minora, the inner edges of the labia majora, and the perineum. Less often, it involves the clitoris or Bartholin glands. How common is cancer of the vulva? Vulvar cancer is not common – each…

Vaginal cancer

Primary vaginal cancer is any cancer that start in the vagina. There are several types. Some cancers of the vagina have spread from a cancer elsewhere in the body. These are called secondary vaginal cancers. Types of vaginal cancers The types of vaginal cancers can be primary or secondary. Primary vaginal cancer Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)…