Types of cancer


Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancer develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working. These cells do not die and instead grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells. These extra cells may form a mass of tissue, called a tumour. Some cancers, such as leukaemia, do not form tumours.

There are more than 100 “types of cancer”. Types of cancer are usually named from the organ or tissues where the cancer orientates from, but they can also be described by the type of cell that formed them.


Cancer cells which do not spread beyond the immediate area in which they arise are said to be benign. If these cells do spread into surrounding areas, or to different parts of the body, they are known as malignant - commonly referred to as cancer.


This section provides an overview of a number of “types of cancers” in Australia, looking at incidence, mortality, prevention, detection, symptoms, risk factors and treatment.


Click here for type of cancer information