Cancer by Type

Cancers may be categorized based on the functions/locations of the cells from which they originate. The following terms are commonly used to categorize tumors by their tissue (cell type) of origin.

  • Carcinoma: a tumor derived from epithelial cells, those cells that line the surface of our skin and organs.1 Our digestive tract and airways are also lined with epithelial cells. This is the most common cancer type and represents about 80-90% of all cancer cases reported.
  • Sarcomaa tumor derived from muscle, bone, cartilage, fat or connective tissues.1
  • Leukemia: a cancer derived from white blood cells or their precursors. The cells that form both white and red blood cells are located in the bone marrow.1
  • Lymphoma: a cancer of bone marrow derived cells that affects the lymphatic system.1
  • Myeloma: a cancer involving the white blood cells responsible for the production of antibodies (B lymphocytes or B-cells).1

Cancer affects millions of people every year. The National Cancer Institute provides current statistics on cancer cases and cancer deaths across the United States.

Watch an video to learn about cancer cases in the U.S. (from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Check out U.S. cancer statistics.

This section contains information detailing cancers by type. As our focus is on the biology of the cancers and their treatments, we do not give detailed treatment guidelines. Instead, we link to organizations in the U.S. that generate the treatment guidelines.

Learn more about cancer from the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

    • 1 a b c d e National Cancer Institute U.S. National Institutes of Health."National Cancer Institute Dictionary of Cancer Terms."CreateSpace, 2008.