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?

    Cancer is a disease of our cells. Sometimes cells become abnormal and keep dividing to make more abnormal cells.

  • What is cancer of unknown primary (CUP)?

    Cancer of unknown primary is when doctors are not sure where a cancer started in the body. It is sometimes called CUP for short.

  • Types of CUP

    Doctors may be able to find out the type of cell the cancer started in. This can help them decide on the best treatment.

  • Signs and symptoms of CUP

    It’s important to see your doctor if you notice any unexplained symptoms.

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