Five Rare Kinds of Cancer

Although they're quite rare, these types of cancer can be extremely aggressive. For this reason, they need to be diagnosed as early as possible.
Five Rare Kinds of Cancer

Written by Okairy Zuñiga

Last update: 11 July, 2022

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body begin to divide without stopping and affect body tissues. Among the most common types of this condition are breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. That said, there are some rare kinds of cancer which it’s worth knowing about.

These cancers aren’t mentioned too often as the possibility of suffering from them is reduced. However, of the 71 cancers in existence, only 11 of them are commonly known. Therefore, it’s better to know about the rarer kinds to stay informed and aware. Let’s take a look at five rare kinds of cancer.

1. Foot cancer

Although you might not normally associate feet with the word cancer, it does happen. Furthermore, tumors on the feet often go unnoticed, which is what makes them so dangerous.

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

  • Strange sensations.
  • Lumps.
  • Clumsiness.

A podiatrist is able to identify cancer in this area. After an evaluation, they may diagnose bone cancer, cancer of the nerves, or vascular cancer. Although the most common type of cancer that occurs in the feet is skin cancer.

If you often wear sandals or your feet are frequently exposed to sunlight, you should always wear sunscreen.

You also might like to read:  5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Feet this Summer

2. Vaginal cancer

The second little-known cancer is extremely rare, with only one percent of women experiencing it. Women most likely to develop it are those who’ve reached menopause. In addition, those who have a history of venereal diseases such as human papillomavirus should be especially careful.

The good news is that the tumors are really small and easily removed with surgery. To have the best chance of avoiding this problem, we recommend that you go for an annual check-up with your gynecologist.

3. Cancer of the salivary gland

The enzymes produced by the salivary glands are essential for the proper digestion of food and to prevent infections. The third rare kind of cancer directly affects this organ. It’s estimated that only 1 in 100,000 people develop it. Symptoms of salivary gland cancer are lumps:

  • In the ear.
  • On the cheeks.
  • In and around the area of the mouth

This type of cancer requires radiation therapy and surgery. If it’s caught early, there’s a 90 percent chance of recovery.

4. Chordoma

The next rare cancer is chordoma. It develops in the bones, mainly in the spine. It’s only diagnosed in one person in a million.

Doctors claim that chordomas grow from tiny bits of cartilage that don’t develop properly when a fetus is in the womb. It’s such a rare type of cancer that it’s difficult to study.

Chordomas are known to grow slowly but extremely aggressively due to their location. Associated symptoms include:

  • Headaches.
  • Neck Pain.
  • Double vision.
  • Loss of bowel and bladder function.
  • Tingling in arms and legs.

Chordomas are usually extremely resistant to radiation, chemotherapy, and common medications. Therefore, the usual treatment is surgery, although it’s not always possible. Another drawback is that chordomas tend to be really difficult to remove, so there’s a high level of recurrence.

You might also like to read: Five Exercises to Strengthen Your Spine

5. Mesenchymal Chondrosarcoma

Cells from one of the rare cancers.

The last rare cancer we’re going to mention is mesenchymal chondrosarcoma. It occurs in cartilage and is extremely rare. In fact, only 1,000 cases have been reported since 1959.

Its rarity is good news because it’s an overly aggressive type and easily migrates to other organs. Of the cases that have been registered, two-thirds originated in the bones of the spine, ribs, and jaw; and one in the fatty tissue and muscles.

As mesenchymal chondrosarcoma can start anywhere in the body, it’s difficult to detect. When this type of cancer occurs near the spine, it can cause symptoms ranging from loss of sensation to paralysis. The best possible treatment is surgery and the use of chemotherapy.


Obviously, the reason few people know about these rare kinds of cancer is that they seldom occur. However, it’s important to stay alert to any possible symptoms.

Remember, what makes this disease dangerous is late detection. So, if you notice something isn’t right healthwise, go to your doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Martínez Tello, F. J., Manjón Luengo, P., & Montes Moreno, S. (2006). Condrosarcoma. Variantes de condrosarcoma. Revista Española de Patología.
  • Angulo Hervías, E., Lample Lacasa, C., Crespo Rodríguez, A. M., & Yagüe Romeo, D. (2007). Condrosarcoma mesenquimal primario en el mediastino. Radiologia.
  • Conforti, R., Sardaro, A., Tecame, M., Rossi, C., Vargas, O., Raucci, A., & Sica, A. (2013). Cordoma: Considerazioni diagnostiche e revisione della letteratura. Recenti Progressi in Medicina.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.