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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. If it’s treated early enough, breast cancer can be prevented from spreading to other parts of the body.

Breast cancer can have a number of symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.

Most breast lumps aren’t cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by your doctor. You should also see your GP if you notice any of the following:

  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • discharge from either of your nipples (which may be streaked with blood)
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  • a rash on or around your nipple
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Breast pain isn’t usually a symptom of breast cancer.

Learn more about the symptoms of breast cancer.

Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer.

Cancer can sometimes start in the small bowel (small intestine), but small bowel cancer is much rarer than large bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK, with around 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year.

About one in every 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime.

Read more about the symptoms of bowel cancer

Prostate Cancer 

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs you have it for many years.

Symptoms often only become apparent when your prostate is large enough to affect the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis).

When this happens, you may notice things like an increased need to urinate, straining while urinating and a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied.

These symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, but they do not mean you definitely have prostate cancer. It is more likely that they are caused by something else, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (also known as BPH or prostate enlargement).

Read more about the symptoms of prostate cancer.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. Over 41,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.

There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, but many people with the condition will eventually develop symptoms including:

A persistent cough, coughing up blood, persistent breathlessness, unexplained tiredness and weight loss an ache or pain when breathing or coughing, you should see your GP if you have these symptoms.

Read more about the symptoms of lung cancer.

Types of lung cancer

Cancer that begins in the lungs is called primary lung cancer. Cancer that begins in another part of the body and spreads to the lungs is known as secondary lung cancer. This page is about primary lung cancer.

There are two main types of primary lung cancer. These are classified by the type of cells in which the cancer starts. They are:

  • non-small-cell lung cancer – the most common type, accounting for more than 80% of cases; can be either squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma or large-cell carcinoma
  • small-cell lung cancer – a less common type that usually spreads faster than non-small-cell lung cancer

The type of lung cancer you have will determine which treatments are recommended.

Read more about diagnosing lung cancer.

Head & Neck

Head and neck cancer is a relatively uncommon type of cancer. Around 12,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK each year.

There are more than 30 areas within the head and neck where cancer can develop, including the:

  • mouth and lips
  • voice box (larynx)
  • throat (pharynx)
  • salivary glands
  • nose and sinuses
  • area at the back of the nose and mouth (nasopharynx)

Oesophageal (gullet) cancerthyroid cancer, brain tumours and eye cancer don’t tend to be classified as a head and neck cancer.

Lower Gastrointestinal

Lower gastrointestinal (or lower GI) cancer refers to cancers of the large bowel (colon and rectum) and the anus.  Large bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting men and women in the United Kingdom.  Bowel cancer is more likely to be diagnosed in older patients; more than nine out of ten new cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and nearly six out of ten cases are diagnosed in people aged 70 or over.  Bowel cancer, however, can affect anyone of any age.  The chances of curing a patient of bowel cancer are highest when the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage.

Upper Gastrointestinal

There are seven main types of gastrointestinal cancer: oesophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, duodenal cancer, gall bladder and bile duct cancer, liver cancer and small bowel cancer. Together they account for approximately 11% of the cancers in the UK.

A number of symptoms such as those listed below should be discussed with your GP in the first instance. Although your symptoms may be worrying, they could be caused by other conditions and your GP will be best placed to advise you how to proceed.

Symptoms can include:

  • croaky or sore throat or hoarseness that isn’t associated with a cold/flu and hasn’t gone away after a few weeks
  • persistent cough
  • difficulty or pain when swallowing that doesn’t go away after a few weeks
  • loss of appetite or feeling full after only a small meal
  • persistent heartburn or indigestion
  • nausea or vomiting
  • constant bloating
  • weakness or fatigue
  • a noticeable lump in the abdomen

CUP – Carcinoma Of Unknown Primary Treatment

Carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the body but the place the cancer began is not known.

  • Sometimes the primary cancer is never found.
  • The signs and symptoms of CUP are different, depending on where the cancer has spread in the body.
  • Different tests are used to detect (find) cancer. If tests show there may be cancer, a biopsy is done.
  • When the type of cancer cells or tissue removed is different from the type of cancer cells expected to be found, a diagnosis of CUP may be made.
  • Tests and procedures used to find the primary cancer depend on where the cancer has spread.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery).


Urological cancers are types of cancers that affect the urinary tract. This includes the bladder, kidneys, penis, testicles and prostate.


Every 14 minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer and there are an estimated 240,000 people living with blood cancer in the United Kingdom today. Blood cancer is Britain’s fifth most common cancer and third biggest killer, claiming more lives each year than breast or prostate cancer

Last Updated: Monday 7th November 2022 - 10:47:am

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