One in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer during our life.
The disease tends to affect older people - but can strike at any time.
Excluding certain skin cancers, there were almost 290,000 new cases of the disease in 2005.
Some cancer, such as breast, are becoming more common, while new cases of lung cancer are expected to fall away due to the drop in the number of smokers.
However, while the overall number of new cancers is not falling, the good news is that successful treatment rates for many of the most common types are improving rapidly.
BBC News has produced, in conjunction with Cancer Research UK, a guide to some of the most common forms of cancer and the treatments used to tackle them.
To learn more about different types of cancer, and to read the experiences of patients, click on the links to the right.source