Cancer is when certain cells in the body grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. These cells can invade and destroy surrounding tissues.

Sometimes the cancerous cells can spread (metastasise) from one part of the body to another. In most cases, the earlier the cancer is found, the more successful the treatment is.

There are over 200 different types of cancer. You can find out about some of the more common types, different treatments and ways to cope with cancer by using the links below.

Common types of cancer

Breast cancer
Breast cancer is a harmful growth which starts in the breast tissue. It is the most common cancer among New Zealand women, affecting one in nine women over their lifetime. Read more

Cervical cancer 
Cervical cancer is cancer that forms in a woman's cervix, the lower part of the uterus, sometimes known as the neck of the womb. Cervical cancer is caused by several types of a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV). Read more

Skin cancer
Skin cancer is the most common cancer affecting New Zealanders. Skin cancers are classified into two groups – melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Read more

Treatments for cancer

Surgery is one of the main treatments for cancer. If the cancer has not spread, surgery may be the only treatment you need. See: A guide to cancer surgery (PDF) American Cancer Society

Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer using anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs. The aim is to kill cancer cells while doing the least possible damage to normal cells. Read more

Radiation treatment
Radiation treatment is sometimes called radiotherapy or radiation therapy. It is used to destroy cancer cells or prevent them from reproducing. Read more

As part of your cancer treatment, your doctor may suggest that you consider taking part in a clinical trial, giving you access to one of the new cancer treatments being developed. 

Living with cancer

Eating well when you have cancer
Eating good food is important when you are well, and it is also very important when you are receiving treatment for cancer. Read more

Sex and cancer
Problems from cancer or its treatment can include lowered sexual desire, physical discomfort or a change in sexual functioning, body image issues, or extreme fatigue. Read more