Signet cell cancer | Cancer Research UK
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What signet cells are

Our body is made up of billions of different types of cells that can only be seen under a microscope. Doctors group these cells 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 or lung. Under a microscope the cells look like signet rings and so they are known as signet cells or signet ring cells.

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.

So if you have a signet cell cancer, you need information about where in your body the cancer started. There is a list of cancer types on this website, where you can choose the right one for you.

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Updated: 24 February 2014