What is cancer?

Cancer is a group of conditions where the body's cells begin to grow and reproduce uncontrollably.  These cells can then invade and destroy healthy tissue, including organs.  Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other parts.  This process is metastasis.

Cancer is a common condition.  Around 298,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK every year.  More than one in three people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime.

Signs and symptoms of cancer

Some changes to your body can be a sign of cancer and it is important to get checked out by your GP as soon as possible. 
See NHS Choices for more information about signs and symptoms.

If your GP suspects cancer you will be referred to a hospital specialist, usually within two weeks.  The specialist will carry out further tests and plan your future treatment with you if you are diagnosed with cancer.

Types of cancer

There are many different types of cancer affecting different parts of the body :

Anal
Bile duct
Bladder
Bone
Bowel
Brain tumour
Breast
Cervical
Eye
Head and neck
Hodgkin's lymphoma
Kidney
Laryngeal
Leukaemia
Liver
Lung
Lymphoma
Mesothelioma
Mouth
Multiple myeloma
Nasopharyngeal
Neuroendocrine tumour
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Nose and sinus
Oesophageal
Ovarian
Pancreatic
Prostate
Skin
Stomach
Testicular
Thyroid
Uterine
Vaginal
Vulval