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.

Get support

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.

Read more

Anal cancer

Friday 1 July 2016

Appendix cancer and PMP

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

Read more

Bladder cancer

Thursday 1 February 2018

Blood cancer

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

Read more

Bone cancer (Primary)

Thursday 1 June 2017

Bone cancer (Secondary)

Monday 10 August 2020

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.

Read more

Brain tumours

Sunday 1 April 2018

Breast cancer

Sunday 1 July 2018

Cervical cancer

Thursday 1 October 2015

Connective tissue cancer

Saturday 31 March 2007

Endocrine cancer

Sunday 31 July 2011

Kaposi sarcoma

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Kidney cancer

Tuesday 1 November 2016


Tuesday 30 April 2013

Liver cancer (Primary)

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Liver cancer (Secondary)

Monday 10 August 2020

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

Read more

Lung cancer

Monday 1 October 2018


Tuesday 31 July 2007

(non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin)

Read more


Tuesday 1 January 2019


Monday 1 May 2017


Friday 30 November 2007

Ocular (uveal) melanoma

Saturday 31 March 2007

Ovarian cancer

Sunday 1 April 2018

Pancreatic cancer

Thursday 1 February 2018

Penile cancer

Saturday 31 March 2007

Peritoneal cancer

Sunday 31 July 2011

Prostate cancer

Thursday 1 March 2018

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.

Read more

Skin cancer

Thursday 1 February 2018

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.

Read more

Soft tissue sarcoma

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Stomach and oesophageal cancers

Sunday 1 November 2015

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

Read more

Testicular cancer

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Thymus cancer

Sunday 31 July 2011

Thyroid cancer

Monday 1 January 2018

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.

Read more

Vulvar and vaginal cancers

Monday 1 October 2018


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.

Talking bubbles icon

Questions about cancer?

Call or email our experienced cancer nurses for information and support.

Contact a cancer nurse