Different types of cancer

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This information is designed to support you to understand how specific cancers are diagnosed, treated and how to find additional support. This is important as no two cancers are exactly the same in testing, treatments or side effects experienced.

You can download or order any of our Understanding Cancer booklets via our online order form which go into more detail about each cancer

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

Breast cancer

Breast cancer occurs when the cells lining the breast lobules or ducts grow abnormally and out of control. A tumour can form in the lobules or ducts of the breast. Breast cancer affects more Australian women than any other cancer. Men can also get breast cancer, although this is rare. Types of breast cancer There are several…

Melanoma

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It develops from the melanocytes (pigment cells) and usually occurs on parts of the body that have been overexposed to the sun. Rare melanomas can also start in a part of the skin or body that has never been exposed to the sun. Although one of the less…

Bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is cancer in any part of the large bowel (colon or rectum). It is sometimes also known as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it starts. Bowel cancer grows from the inner lining of the bowel (mucosa). It usually develops from small growths on the bowel wall called polyps. On this…

Brain Tumour

A brain or spinal cord tumour occurs when cells in the central nervous system grow and divide to form a lump. Tumours can be benign or malignant. Cancer that starts in the brain or spinal cord is considered a primary brain tumour. Cancers that start elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain are called…

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix. Cancer most commonly begins in the area of the cervix called the transformation zone, but it may spread to tissues around the cervix, such as the vagina, or other parts of the body, such as the lungs or liver. On this…

Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer is a general term used to refer to a range of different cancers that start developing in the mouth, nose and throat areas. Head and neck cancer occurs when malignant tumours grow in any of the tissue or lymph nodes in the head or neck. Not all tumours in the head…

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a malignant tumour in the tissue of one or both of the lungs. A primary cancer starts in the lungs, while a secondary or metastatic cancer starts somewhere else in the body and spreads to the lungs. On this page you will find information on: Types of lung cancer How common is lung cancer?…

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 ovarian cancers – the majority of women with ovarian cancer have cancer that starts…

Kidney cancer

Kidney cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the kidney. In the early stages, the primary cancer forms a tumour that is confined to the kidney. As the cancer grows, it may invade organs or structures near the kidney, such as the surrounding fatty tissue, veins, adrenal glands, ureters 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…

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells in the prostate gland start to grow more rapidly than normal cells, and in an uncontrolled way. Most prostate cancers grow more slowly than other types of cancer, although this is not always the case. Early (or localised) prostate cancer means cancer cells have grown but, as far as it…

Cancer of the uterus

Cancer of the uterus is cancer that begins from abnormal cells in the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) or the muscle tissue (myometrium). Uterine cancer can be either endometrial cancer or the less common uterine sarcoma. On this page you will find information on: How common is cancer of the uterus? What are the risk…