Main Types of Cancer List

Cancer is a disease in which tumors form and spread to nearby tissues (metastasis). Tumor cells may also enter the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body. Cancers may be caused by genetic mutations or physical and chemical carcinogens such as radiation exposure.

Cancers are named for the organ or tissue where they first manifest, most frequently breast, lung and colorectal.


Cancer is an umbrella term encompassing many conditions that impact tissues and organs throughout the body, typically developing when cells proliferate uncontrollably, damaging healthy tissues while spreading to other parts of the body where they continue to divide unchecked to form tumors or form masses (known as nodules). While “cancer” refers to various diseases with similar traits, all are defined by uncontrolled cell growth – this makes the term widely applicable across cultures and medical contexts.

Normal cell growth and division occur regularly in our bodies to produce new cells as needed, but sometimes damaged cells begin to multiply uncontrollably – leading to cancerous growths that may develop almost anywhere on our bodies.

There are over 200 types of cancer, each named for the cells or tissues it starts in. Examples are:

Carcinomas begin in epithelial cells that comprise skin and organ linings. Squamous cell carcinoma starts in flat squamous cells found on the outer surface of skin as well as on linings like throat or food pipe (oesophagus). Adenocarcinoma forms from glandular cells that produce fluid to keep tissues moist; most frequently found in lungs, pancreas and prostate.

Metastatic cancer refers to cancer that has spread beyond its original site in the body and shows up elsewhere, usually by mimicking its appearance and behavior based on where it started; for example, breast cancer that has metastasized to the lungs continues to look and behave similarly to when it originated in breast tissue.


Sarcoma develops in connective tissue – which includes cells and fibers that connect other body organs such as muscles, fat, nerves, tendons – that provides support to these other areas. Cancers in these connective tissues generally form painless lumps (tumors). While sarcomas can develop anywhere on the body, most often occurring on limbs.

Cancer occurs when changes (mutations) to the DNA inside cells occur, leading them to proliferate uncontrollably and create abnormal cells which build up and form into tumors over time. Over time, they press against nearby nerves, muscles or organs as the growth continues. They can even break off and spread across other parts of the body (metastasize).

Under biopsy, your provider removes some tissue from the tumor and sends it for testing in a laboratory. A pathologist then examines it under a microscope to determine whether or not it’s sarcoma and, if so, what type. Your provider may also perform tests that assess its stage; how far its growth has progressed or spread.

Your provider will also evaluate the grade of your sarcoma, which measures how similar its cancer cells resemble normal cells. This helps them decide the most effective treatments to administer; lower grades typically result in better prognoses.


Leukemia is an aggressive cancer that begins in blood and bone marrow cells. It develops when immature blood cells undergo mutations that cause them to divide too rapidly, outnumbering healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets and possibly organs such as livers or kidneys. Symptoms of leukemia depend upon its type and severity – its presence or absence will depend on if and when leukemia first arises.

There are various tests that can assist in diagnosing leukemia. Complete blood counts provide a visual count of different types of blood cells; while blood chemistry, genetic and other tests may also be conducted to gauge how quickly cancerous cells are spreading through your system.

One type of leukemia can be identified based on which cells are affected; cancer affecting lymphocytes (white blood cells) is known as lymphocytic leukemia. Other leukemia types depend on how quickly cancerous cells grow: some types may start rapidly before advancing over months or years – these cases are termed acute leukemias; meanwhile chronic forms can remain dormant for years before manifesting themselves as acute ones.

Leukemia patients’ prognosis depends on its type and age. Treatment often leads to remission when cancer goes away completely; however, recurrences may resurface later and require ongoing monitoring and care for some time afterward. People who have had other forms of cancer or genetic disorders are at increased risk for leukemia.


Lymphoma is an infection-fighting cancer originating in lymphocytes found in lymph nodes, thymuses, spleens and bone marrow. Lymphomas can occur either Hodgkin- or non-Hodgkin. Each form varies greatly in terms of growth and spread and response to treatment;

No one knows exactly why lymphomas form, though they tend to occur more frequently among those suffering from immune system diseases or taking drugs that suppress them. Certain viruses – Epstein-Barr and Helicobacter pylori – have also been associated with certain forms of lymphoma.

There are over 60 types of lymphomas, varying by where they first begin and which parts of the body they affect. They fall under two main categories – Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin, each divided further into 40 subtypes; some can grow slowly (known as low grade or indolent) while others progress quickly enough that specific treatment may be required.

Blood cancers such as leukemia and myeloma may not technically qualify as lymphomas, but they make the list due to sharing many symptoms similar to lymphomas. They occur when white blood cells that normally defend against infections become abnormal and multiply out of control – something caused by DNA modifications inside cells which disrupt vital genes which should normally keep these cells under control.