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Types of cancer

Cancer is a common disease and one of the leading causes of death in Australia. Cancer treatments can be very effective and many people with cancer can get better or live for some time. It is estimated that one in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.

There are many different types of cancer. This is because cancer can start anywhere in the body. Some cancers are more common than others, including skin, bowel, breast, prostate and lung cancer.

If you are going through cancer, you’re not alone. Call 13 11 20 to speak to a trusted and experienced cancer nurse and get the support you and your loved ones need.

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Most common cancer types

  1. Prostate cancer
    Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australia, apart from non-melanoma skin cancers. This year, around 24,000 Australians will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  2. Breast cancer
    Around 20,000 people in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of 2022. Although it is most common in women, anyone can be affected by breast cancer.
  3. Melanoma
    Around 17,700 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in Australia this year. You can reduce your risk of melanoma by using good sun protection and being aware of UV.
  4. Bowel cancer
    It is estimated that about 15,700 people in Australia will be diagnosed with bowel cancer this year. It is most common in people over 50, but it can occur at any age.
  5. Lung cancer
    In 2022, around 14,500 Australians will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Smoking is the biggest risk factor and is linked to most cases, but there are many people with lung cancer who have never smoked.

Cancer types A-Z

Select from the list of common cancers below for evidence-based information on topics including symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and support.

Adenoid cystic carcinoma

Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is a rare type of cancer that forms in glandular tissues most commonly in the head and neck.

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Appendix cancer and PMP

Appendix cancer and Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP) are rare types of cancer that affect the abdomen. 

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Blood cancer

Blood cancer refers to a group of cancers that form when blood cells do not develop properly. 

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Bone cancer (Secondary)

This information has been prepared to help you understand more about secondary bone cancer. It includes basic information about how  secondary bone cancer is diagnosed and treated.

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Liver cancer (Secondary)

This page unpacks important information about secondary liver cancer, including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and managing symptoms.

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(non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin)

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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.

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Small bowel cancer

Small bowel cancer (also called small intestine cancer) occurs when cells in the small bowel become abnormal and forms a mass or lump called a tumour.

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Stomach and oesophageal cancers

Oesophageal and stomach cancers are malignant tumours found in the tissues of the oesophagus or stomach.

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Upper tract urothelial cancer

Upper tract urothelial cancer occurs in either the inner lining of the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder or within the inner lining of the kidney.

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The information contained in the webpages above have been developed by Cancer Council's National Cancer Information Subcommittee Initiative, and reviewed by groups of cancer specialists, nurses and people affected by cancer. Always consult your doctor about matters that affect your health. See our disclaimer.

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