Further information: List of cancer types
Cancers are classified by the type of cell that resembles the tumor and, therefore, the tissue presumed to
be the origin of the tumor. These are the histology and the location, respectively. Examples of general
Carcinoma: Malignant tumors derived from epithelial cells. This group represents the most common
cancers, including the common forms of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer.
Sarcoma: Malignant tumors derived from connective tissue, or mesenchymal cells.
Lymphoma and leukemia: Malignancies derived from hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells
Germ cell tumor: Tumors derived from totipotent cells. In adults most often found in the testicle and
ovary; in fetuses, babies, and young children most often found on the body midline, particularly at the tip
of the tailbone; in horses most often found at the poll (base of the skull).
Blastic tumor or blastoma: A tumor (usually malignant) which resembles an immature or embryonic
tissue. Many of these tumors are most common in children.
Malignant tumors (cancers) are usually named using -carcinoma, -sarcoma or -blastoma as a suffix, with
the Latin or Greek word for the organ of origin as the root. For instance, a cancer of the liver is called
hepatocarcinoma; a cancer of the fat cells is called liposarcoma. For common cancers, the English organ
name is used. For instance, the most common type of breast cancer is called ductal carcinoma of the
breast or mammary ductal carcinoma. Here, the adjective ductal refers to the appearance of the cancer
under the microscope, resembling normal breast ducts.
Benign tumors (which are not cancers) are named using -oma as a suffix with the organ name as the root.
For instance, a benign tumor of the smooth muscle of the uterus is called leiomyoma (the common name
of this frequent tumor is fibroid). Unfortunately, some cancers also use the -oma suffix, examples being
melanoma and seminoma.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of cancer metastasis depend on the location of the tumor.
Roughly, cancer symptoms can be divided into three groups:
Local symptoms: unusual lumps or swelling (tumor), hemorrhage (bleeding), pain and/or ulceration.
Compression of surrounding tissues may cause symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing the eyes and skin).