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Signet cell cancer

Find out what signet cell cancer is and where to get more information and support.

What signet cells are

Our body is made up of billions of different types of cells that can only be seen under a microscope. These cells are grouped according to the job they do or the type of body tissue they make up. 

Epithelial tissue is basically skin tissue, covering and lining the body both inside and out. Signet cells are a type of epithelial cell called glandular cells.

What signet cell cancer is

Signet cell cancer is also called signet ring cell cancer. Signet cell cancer is a rare type of cancer found most often in the glandular cells lining the stomach. But it can also develop in the:

  • bowel
  • breast
  • pancreas
  • bladder
  • prostate
  • lung

Under a microscope the cells look like signet rings, so they're known as signet cells or signet ring cells.

Getting the right information

Cancers are named after the body organ they grow in, as well as the type of cell. So a signet cell cancer of the glandular epithelial cells lining the stomach would be signet cell stomach cancer, and doctors will treat it as a stomach cancer. If the cells were in the bowel, then it would be a bowel cancer and treated as such.

You need information about where in your body the cancer started, if you have been diagnosed with signet cell cancer.

More information

We have more information on tests, treatment and support if you have been diagnosed with cancer.

Coping

Coping with a diagnosis of a rare cancer can be especially difficult, both practically and emotionally. Being well informed about your cancer and its treatment can make it easier to make decisions and cope with what happens.

Talking to other people

Talking to other people who have the same thing can also help.

Our discussion forum Cancer Chat is a place for anyone affected by cancer. You can share experiences, stories and information with other people who know what you are going through.

The Rare Cancer Alliance offer support and information to people affected by rare cancers.

Last reviewed: 
24 Feb 2014
  • Cancer and its Management (6th edition)

    J Tobias and D Hochhauser

    Wiley - Blackwell, 2010

  • Principles and practice of oncology (9th edition)
    VT De Vita, S Hellman and SA Rosenberg
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2011

Information and help

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