The Most Difficult Form of Cancer to Treat, Ranked

Choose the form you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Jun 16, 2024 06:31
Determining the toughest form of cancer to treat can significantly impact how resources are allocated in medical research and treatment development. Such insights help steer funding and innovative efforts toward areas that may offer the greatest benefit in terms of patient survival and quality of life. Through collective input, clearer priorities can be established in the fight against this complex disease. This dynamic ranking serves as a valuable tool for patients, healthcare professionals, and researchers alike. By casting your vote, you contribute to a broader understanding of where challenges lie in cancer treatment and which types may need more attention and resources. The accumulated votes provide ongoing guidance for those affected directly or working within the medical field.

What Is the Most Difficult Form of Cancer to Treat?

  1. 1

    Gastric Cancer

    Gastric cancer, or stomach cancer, tends to be diagnosed at an advanced stage because early-stage symptoms are rare or subtle.
    • Risk Factors: H. pylori infection, smoking
  2. 2

    Esophageal Cancer

    Esophageal cancer is difficult to diagnose early and treat because of its location and the late onset of symptoms.
    • Risk Factors: Smoking and acid reflux
  3. 3

    Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

    AML is a fast-growing form of cancer of the blood and bone marrow with varying treatments and prognoses, particularly difficult in older patients.
    • Age Factor: More common in older adults
  4. 4

    Ovarian Cancer

    Ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it has spread within the pelvis and abdomen, making it more difficult to treat.
    • Symptom Detection: Often detected late
  5. 5


    Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer primarily caused by asbestos exposure, affecting the lining of the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs.
    • Common Cause: Asbestos exposure
  6. 6

    Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

    Triple-negative breast cancer is considered difficult to treat because it does not respond to hormonal therapy medicines or other targeted treatments.
    • Treatment Challenge: Lacks targeted therapies
  7. 7

    Pancreatic Cancer

    Pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to treat due to its typically late diagnosis and its resistance to therapy.
    • Survival Rate: 5-year survival rate is less than 10%
  8. 8


    Glioblastoma is an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord, known for its poor prognosis and resistance to treatment.
    • Median Survival: About 15 months with treatment
  9. 9

    Liver Cancer

    Liver cancer, particularly hepatocellular carcinoma, is difficult to treat effectively, especially if not caught early.
    • Risk Factors: Hepatitis B, C and cirrhosis
  10. 10

    Lung Cancer

    Lung cancer, especially small-cell lung cancer, is challenging to treat due to its rapid growth and spread.
    • Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths: Globally

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult form of cancer to treat. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or form is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 0 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each form once every 24 hours. The rank of each form is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


Additional Information

More about the Most Difficult Form of Cancer to Treat

Gastric Cancer
Rank #1 for the most difficult form of cancer to treat: Gastric Cancer (Source)
Cancer is a disease where cells grow uncontrollably. It can occur in almost any part of the body. Some forms of cancer are more challenging to treat than others. These types often spread quickly and resist standard treatments.

Doctors face many obstacles when dealing with these difficult cancers. One major issue is the location of the tumors. Tumors in critical areas can be hard to reach with surgery. Even if doctors can reach them, removing the tumors without harming nearby tissues is tough. This makes surgery a less viable option.

Another challenge is the cancer's resistance to treatments. Some cancers do not respond well to chemotherapy or radiation. These treatments aim to kill cancer cells, but resistant cancers find ways to survive. They may repair the damage caused by these treatments or find other ways to grow.

The genetic makeup of the cancer cells also plays a role. Some cancers have complex genetic mutations. These mutations make it hard for targeted therapies to work. Targeted therapies aim to attack specific features of cancer cells, but with many mutations, finding the right target becomes complex.

Early detection is crucial for successful treatment. However, some cancers show no symptoms until they are advanced. By the time doctors find the cancer, it may have spread to other parts of the body. This makes treatment more difficult and less likely to succeed.

The immune system's response to cancer is another factor. In some cases, the immune system does not recognize cancer cells as threats. This allows the cancer to grow unchecked. Immunotherapy tries to boost the immune system's ability to fight cancer. However, its effectiveness varies.

Researchers continue to study these difficult cancers. They aim to find better ways to detect and treat them. New treatments are in development, but progress is slow. Clinical trials test these new treatments, but not all show success.

Patients with these challenging cancers often need a combination of treatments. This might include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and newer therapies. The goal is to attack the cancer from multiple angles. However, this approach can be hard on the patient.

Supportive care is also important. Patients need help managing symptoms and side effects. This care aims to improve quality of life during treatment. It includes pain management, nutrition support, and emotional support.

Family and friends play a key role in supporting patients. They help with daily tasks and provide emotional support. This can make a big difference in a patient's ability to cope with the disease.

The fight against cancer is ongoing. While some forms remain difficult to treat, research offers hope. Advances in technology and medicine continue to improve outcomes. The goal is to find more effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure.

In summary, the most difficult cancers to treat pose many challenges. These include tumor location, treatment resistance, genetic complexity, late detection, and immune system evasion. Researchers and doctors work tirelessly to overcome these obstacles. With continued effort, there is hope for better treatments and improved survival rates.

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