Cancer Types How is each cancer type named? Cancer is named after the part of the body where it originated. When cancer spreads, it keeps this same name. For example, if kidney cancer spreads to the lungs, it is still kidney cancer, not lung cancer. (The cancer in the lung would be an example of a secondary tumor.) Staging is the process of determining whether cancer has spread and, if so, how far. More than one system is used for staging cancer, and the definition of each stage will depend on the type of cancer.