Let G be a graph cellularly embedded on a surface. We consider the problem of determining whether G contains a cycle (i.e. a closed walk without repeated vertices) of a certain topological type. We show that the problem can be answered in linear time when the topological type is one of the following: contractible, non-contractible, or non-separating. In either case we obtain the same time complexity if we require the cycle to contain a given vertex. On the other hand, we prove that the problem is NP-complete when considering separating or splitting cycles. We also show that deciding the existence of a separating or a splitting cycle of length at most k is fixed-parameter tractable with respect tok plus the genus of the surface
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