Understanding

Cancer is not a single disease with a single type of treatment. There are more than 200 different types of cancer, each with its own name and treatment. This section provides an overview of what cancer is.

  • What is cancer?

    There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

  • Cancer and cell types

    Cancers are grouped into types. Types of cancer often behave and respond to treatments in different ways.

  • Cancer symptoms

    Know the common risks, signs and symptoms of cancer.

  • Getting diagnosed

    If you have any unusual symptoms or changes to your body that are worrying you, go and see your GP.

  • Symptoms and common cancers

    The most common cancers among men and women in the UK are lung, large bowel, prostate, bladder, breast and ovarian.

  • How is cancer treated?

    There are five main types of cancer treatment. You may receive one, or a combination of treatments, depending on your cancer type.

  • Why do cancers come back?

    Sometimes, tiny cancer cells are left behind after cancer treatment. These can divide to form a new tumour.

An animated image of cells forming a tumour.

What is cancer?

Watch our animation about how cancer starts in our cells.

About our cancer information videos

What is cancer?

Watch our animation about how cancer starts in our cells.

About our cancer information videos