5 Types of Rare Cancers

These rare cancers can become very aggressive, making an early diagnosis key for taking action in time
Rare cancers

No doubt you’ve heard of breast cancer, colon cancer, or ovarian cancer. You’ve probably even heard about some of the statistics related to these types of cancer.

There are other, however, various more rare cancers and you shouldn’t overlook them.

You might not hear about them very often because they’re very rare, and your likelihood of getting them is minimal. Nevertheless, of the 71 known types of cancer in existence, only 11 of them are fairly known.

That’s why it’s good to know more about the rare cancers, just to be informed and aware.

1. Rare cancers: foot cancer

Although you might not normally associate feet with the word “cancer,” they can in fact be related. Tumors that originate in the feet often go unnoticed, which is what makes them so dangerous.

It’s important that you visit your doctor if you notice any of the following warning signs:

  • Strange sensations
  • Lumps
  • Clumsiness

A podiatrist is able to identify this type of cancer, and after an evaluation they may find that it’s:

  • Bone cancer
  • Cancer of the nerves
  • Skin cancer
  • Vascular cancer

The most common type of cancer that occurs around the feet is skin cancer. If you normally wear sandals or your feet are frequently exposed to sunlight, you should always wear sunscreen.

See also: Tips to relieve tired feet

2. Vaginal cancer

2 legs and lily

This second on the list of rare cancers only affects around 1% of women: vaginal cancer.




Women who have reached menopause are more likely to develop vaginal cancer. Those who have a history of sexually transmitted diseases like human papillomavirus should be especially cautious.

The good news is that the tumors are very small and easily removed through surgery. You have the best chance of avoiding this type of cancer if you go to your recommended annual gynecology appointments.

3. Cancer of the salivary gland

The enzymes that your salivary glands produce are essential for proper digestion of foods and avoiding infection. This third type of cancer directly affects the body, although only 1 in 100,000 people will suffer from it.

The symptoms of cancer of the salivary gland include:

  • Lumps in the ear
  • Lumps on the cheeks
  • Lumps in and around the area of the mouth

This type of cancer requires radiation and surgery to treat it, but if it’s diagnosed in time you have a 90% chance of recovery.

Unlike other types of cancer, this one has no direct relationship with alcohol or tobacco use. What we do know is that it’s strongly influenced by genetic factors.

4. Chordoma

3 spinal cancer

The fourth type of cancer we want to mention today is known as chordoma. It takes place in the bones, especially in the spine, and it’s found in just one person out of a million.

Doctors have found that chordomas grow out of small residues of cartilage that develop incorrectly while a fetus is in the womb.

Because it’s one of the most rare cancers, it is difficult to study and understand. There is very little consensus on whether the appearance of chordoma is influenced by genetic factors or something else.

What is know is that chordomas grow slowly, but aggressively and painfully, because of the location.

The symptoms associated with chordoma include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Double vision
  • Loss of intestinal or bladder function
  • Tingling in the arms and legs

Chordomas tend to be very resistant to radiation, chemotherapy, and medication. Therefore the usual treatment is surgery, which isn’t always possible depending on the location and the size of the tumor.

Another complicating factor is that it’s very difficult to remove the entire chordoma, so there is a high probability of relapse.

Visit this article: 6 techniques for better posture

5. Mesenchymal Chondrosarcoma

The last of these rare cancers is known as mesenchymal chondrosarcoma, which appears in cartilage tissue. It’s so rare that only 1,000 cases have been confirmed since 1959.

The rarity is good news, as it’s very aggressive and easily metastasizes to other organs. Of the cases that are known, the following has been documented:

  • Two-thirds of this type of cancer originate in the bones of the spine, ribs, and jaw.
  • One-third originates from fat and muscle tissues.

Because mesenchymal chondrosarcoma can originate anywhere in the body, however, it’s difficult to detect and monitor your symptoms.

The best solution is to maintain your usual medical care, including an annual appointment with your general practitioner.

When this cancer occurs near the spine you may experience a loss of sensation or something as severe as paralysis. The best treatment is surgery and the use of chemotherapy.

The importance of knowing about these rare cancers

Obviously, the reason why so few people know about these cancers is because they’re so rare. But it’s important to stay alert about any symptoms you have. Remember that what makes most of these diseases so dangerous is late detection.

Whenever you do notice something is wrong with your health, go see a doctor. While you don’t want to be too paranoid you should also never ignore the warning signs.