Common Cancer Names

Cancers are named based on the type of tissue they start growing in. And that means two people with growths in the same basic area—the stomach, for example—may have entirely different cancers. The five most common:

Carcinomas: The vast majority of solid tumors that start from the surfaces of the body and the lining of many glands, such as the breast, lung, ovary, digestive system and prostate glands. Often the term adenocarcinoma is used—this simply means that the cancer is arising from an organ that contains glands.

Sarcomas: Solid tumors that start in connective tissue such as bone, cartilage, fat and muscle. 

Leukemias: Cancers that originate in the blood or blood-forming organs. These cancers don’t usually form solid tumors.

Lymphomas: Cancers that develop in the lymphatic system—the network of lymph nodes and vessels that transport lymph (a type of blood cell).

Myelomas: Cancers that start in the plasma (immune) cells in bone marrow.


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