Cancer Types by Site

Medical professionals often refer to cancers according to their histological form. The general public is more familiar with the names of cancer-based on their primary locations.


Cancers named after the primary site might not be as reliable compared to those based on a histological type. Take, for example, lung cancer; the name does not indicate the type of tissue involved. It simply means where the cancer is located. In fact, depending on how the cells look under a microscope, there are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. It is possible to further classify non-small cell lung cancer into different forms named for the form of cells in which the cancer grows, typically: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.

However, recognizing that cancer can be identified either by the type of cell or by its primary location is important. To say a woman has uterine carcinoma or uterine cancer is the same as to suggest that she has uterine cancer (or carcinoma).

A-Z list of cancers: