Rare Cancers

Not every rare cancer has uncommon names such as hair cell leukemia. Brain tumors, cancer of the ovaries and liver all are termed as rare cancers.

A cancer is considered rare if it is found in less than 15 people per 100,000 patients each year.

Rare Childhood Cancers

Cancer of the Nose and Throat

Cancer found in the throat and nasal cavity is considered as nasopharyngeal cancers. This type of cancer is rare in children younger than 10 years, and found more in older children aged 10 years of age.

Treatment includes radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy. Nasopharyngeal cancer usually stretches to lymph nodes in the neck and bones of the skull.


Esthesioneuroblastoma is a very rare, tiny tumor that starts in the olfactory bulb in the front part of the brain. It occurs in the form of tumor in the nose or throat which may spread into the front part of the brain, eyes, and sinuses. Esthesioneuroblastoma is found more in boys and mostly during adolescence. The disease rarely spreads to other body parts.


Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are generally done to treat this type of cancer. Sinus surgery is done using an endoscope, proton beam radiation therapy or radio surgery.

Thyroid Tumors
  • Tumors of the thyroid are classified as adenomas or carcinomas.
  • This cancer generally arises as a lump in the thyroid with swelling of the lymph glands in the neck.
  • Surgery is the treatment needed for all thyroid tumors. This is basically removal of all of the thyroid and nearby lymph nodes in the neck. Treatment with a radioactive form of iodine is administered after surgery to diminish cancer cells and thyroid tissue that remain.
Oral (Mouth) Cancers

Orl tumors are generally benign. Such tumors include lymphomas and sarcomas.

Salivary Gland Tumors

Salivary glands are the parts of the mouth and throat that produce saliva. Many of the tumors in these areas arise in the parotid gland. Surgical removal is the treatment of choice whenever possible, with supplementary use of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Laryngeal Cancer and Papillomatosis

Benign and specifically malignant tumors of the larynx (voice box) are rare. Hoarseness, enlargement of the lymph nodes of the neck, and trouble in swallowing can be the possible symptoms. It is usually treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy instead of surgery.

Rare Skin Cancers

Here are five rare cancers that may arise within the skin or indirectly affect the skin:

Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is a cluster of cancers that occurs from a kind of white blood cell called a T-cell lymphocyte that turns out to be cancerous and affects the skin.
In most types of CTCL the signs display red flat patches on the skin; in dark-skinned persons these may manifest as very light or very dark patches. These patches are very itchy, and may be dry and scaly as well.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma is an uncommon skin cancer that is found on or just under the skin.
MCC appear as tough, without pain mass within the skin. They are pink, re, or violet in color, and are often found on exposed areas e.g. head, especially around the eyelid and eye, arms, neck and legs.

Treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Kaposi Sarcoma

Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a cancer that arises from the cells associated with lymph or blood vessels.
The uncommon cells of KS create red, purple, or brown tumors on the skin. It is painful and swelled, especially in groin area, the legs, or skin around the eyes.
Treatment includes highly active antiretroviral therapy, chemotherapy,  surgical removal, cryotherapy, and topical creams.

Sebaceous Gland Carcinoma

Sebaceous gland carcinoma (SGC) is an extremely rare cancer arising in the oil glands in the skin. It is generally found in woman above 70 years of age.
Available treatments are surgery and radiation therapy.

Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is also comes under the criteria of rare type of tumor that starts as a hard nodule and spreads slowly.
Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and a newer drug called imatinib (Gleevec).

Rare Stomach Cancer
Carcinoid tumours

A carcinoid tumour occurs in neuroendocrine system. The neuroendocrine system is a system of glands that generate hormones and send them into the bloodstream to organize the function of different organs in the body. 

This is one of the rare tumors. The exact cause is unknown.

Signs and symptoms

The type of signs depends on the location, where it may have spread to, and if it produces a hormone called serotonin. A very few symptoms have been discovered by chance.

Treatment for a carcinoid tumor

If the tumor is limited to one area, surgery is usually the ideal choice of treatment. If it is possible to remove the tumor completely no other treatment is recommended.
If the tumor has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic) surgery may still be the option because of the slow growth of the tumor.


Chemotherapy is all about using anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells.


Another type of drug treatment is interferon, which is termed as a biological therapy. Interferon is administered as an injection under the skin.


High-energy rays are used to destroy cancer cells in this treatment.

Hepatic Artery Embolization

This treatment is often used to simmer down the development of secondary liver tumors (metastases) by reducing the blood supply to the tumors in the liver as the tumors cannot grow without a blood supply.


Another drug, 131 MIBG, may be used to reduce the quantity of carcinoid cells and the signs of carcinoid syndrome. A dose of radiotherapy is administered to the carcinoid cells. This treatment can be provided as a drink or as an injection into the vein.

Radio-labelled octreotide

This treatment is administered as an injection into a vein in the arm to reduce the number of carcinoid cells.

Radiofrequency ablation

It uses laser or radio waves to eliminate the cancer cells by heating them to high temperatures.

Rare Blood Cancer

Waldesntrom’s macroglobulinemia (WM) is a type of cancer in the blood.

What causes it?
  • Our blood consists of many types of cells. One of these is white blood cells. These cells are associated with our immune system and are meant to fight infections.
  • Like there are many types of cells in the blood, there also various kinds of white blood cells (five types, actually). One of these is lymphocytes.

Some people don’t feel anything when they have WM. Some peoples, who have symptoms, they complaints of:

  • Weakness
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Bruises in the skin

When the condition is more serious other things which may occur like:

  • Blurring or loss of vision
  • Neurological problems – These include headaches, dizziness, and vertigo.



There’s no cure for WM. If there is no symptom, usually no treatment is needed. If symptoms are present usually chemotherapy is used.

Rare Bladder Cancer

Cancers starting in the bladder lining are termed as sarcomas.
There is another type of bladder cancer that is termed as small cell cancer of the bladder, which is very rare.


Removal of bladder is the treatment and may opt for chemotherapy also. But in this chemotherapy the drugs may be different from other people with bladder cancer. One should ask his own specialist about how his treatment may be different to make sure he has the right information.

Cervical Cancers

Cervical cancer is a common cancer that occurs in the female reproductive system, specifically the cervix of the uterus.

The cervix is the organ that provides a gateway between the vagina and the uterus. Cervical cancer develops when abnormal cells grow on the superficial layer of the cervix.

Cervical Cancer: Symptoms

Cervical cancer often displays no symptoms in the earliest stages. When symptoms do occur, they may indicate that cervical cancer has reached to more advanced stages. The primary symptom is uncommon vaginal bleeding that occurs after sex, after menopause or between menstrual periods. Other symptoms may consist of a foul-smelling and bloody vaginal discharge.

Cervical Cancer: Treatments

Prevention is the first step in the treatment of cervical cancer. Albeit guidelines differ, it is often recommended that teenage girls and women start having regular Pap smear screening tests done within three years of becoming sexually active or up to 21 year of age. Prevention includes refraining from sex or having sex only within the framework of a monogamous relationship.

A to Z Cancer Types