Types of cancer

Types of cancer

There are over 100 types of cancer that can develop in any part of the body, there are as many types of cancer as their as parts of our organism. Although they share some similarities, these types of cancer grow and spread in a different way. These are the most common types of cancer:

Breast cancer 

Breast cancer forms when the cells in the breast start to grow at an uncontrollable rate until they form malignant tumors that expand to other tissues.

Generally, these tumors can be observed in a mammogram or an ultrasound, or by feeling the lump or growth.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is the most common type of cancer among women. Therefore, the American Cancer Society recommends all women over the age of 45 get a yearly mammogram (breast x-ray).


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Lung cancer 

This starts in the lungs and can spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body. In general, lung cancer is grouped into two main categories: small cell and non-small cell, the latter being more common. Both develop in a different way and require different treatments.

Excessive smoking is the number one cause of lung cancers but non-smokers can also develop lung cancer. Check out the other links on this page for more information about treatment, prevention, detection, statistics, investigation, clinical trials and more on lung cancer.


Skin cancer 

It forms in the skin tissue and is named after its location on the skin. Most skin cancer forms in the parts of the skin that are exposed to the sun, in people with a weak immune system. Find out more about this type of cancer here.


Colon cancer 

Colon cancer develops in the large intestine (colon), which is the final part of the digestive tract.It starts with a group of small, non-cancerous (benign) cells called an adenomatous polyp. Over time, these polyps can turn into colon cancer.


Cervical cancer

Starts in the cells that cover the cervix, the lowest part of the uterus (matrix) that connects the uterus to the vagina. Contracting Human Papillomavirus (HPV) has been linked to cervical cancer. 


Prostate cancer 

The prostate is the gland in the male body responsible for producing part of the liquid that makes up semen. Prostate cancer forms when the prostate cells start to grow at an uncontrollable rate.


Stomach cancer 

Also known as gastric cancer or by its medical term, adenocarcinoma, stomach cancer starts in the cells that line the stomach and produce mucus. In general, it starts with a stomach ulcer and symptoms such as heartburn, stomach pain, loss of appetite and weight loss. If you think you have one or more of these symptoms, we recommend that you read our full guide on stomach cancer .


Thyroid cancer

The thyroid is a gland located below the thyroid cartilage in the neck, known as the Adam’s apple, which is in the shape of a butterfly. Many different types of growths and tumors can develop in this gland. Most are not cancerous, but some are, and run the risk of spreading to nearby tissues and other parts of the body. Find out more about this type of cancer here.


Pancreatic cancer

Consists of inflammation of the pancreas, a gland located below the stomach, which is responsible for helping to digest food and hormones that regulate sugar.

Find out more about pancreatic cancer, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatments, here.


Ovarian cancer 

Ovarian cancer starts in the female reproductive organ, in one or both ovaries. Ovarian cancer can progress without being easily detected, therefore prevention and early detection play a fundamental role in its treatment.


Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is a complex type of cancer that can affect men at any age. It is more common in men between the ages of 20 and 34, but in reality it is relatively rare. Testicular cancer starts in the germ cells (cells that produce sperm), and can be cured with timely treatment, even if they are diagnosed in the later stages.


Liver cancer

The liver is the second largest organ in the body, which is responsible for filtering the blood and creating enzymes that help the body digest food, among other functions. The signs of liver cancer  are often silent in the initial stages, as symptoms start to appear as the tumor grows, for example, experiencing pain in the upper part of the abdomen, which sometimes extends to the back.


Bone cancer 

Bone cancer is not common and includes various types; some forms of bone cancer, such as osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma, are more common among children and young adults.


Kidney cancer 

Also known as renal cancer, it can affect adults as well as children. The main types of kidney cancer are: renal cancer, transition cell cancer and tumor diseases. Certain genetic conditions can also increase the risk of developing this disease.


Mouth and throat cancer

This type of cancer falls into the category of head and neck cancers, which includes the larynx, throat, nose and tongue, among others. Some risk factors that increase the chances of developing this type of cancer are excessive alcohol or tobacco consumption and human papillomavirus (HPV). Find out more about this type of cancer here.

Tongue cancer 

Over 90% of oral and oropharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, meaning that they start in the flat and squamous cells that are found on the tongue lining. For more information about how to detect and treat tongue cancer, click here.