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Medicine LibreTexts

13.2: Types of Cancer

  • Page ID
    13413
  • There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. For example, lung cancer starts in cells of the lung, and brain cancer starts in cells of the brain. Cancers also may be described by the type of cell that formed them, such as an epithelial cell or a squamous cell.

    Common Cancer Types

    This list of common cancer types includes cancers that are diagnosed with the greatest frequency in the United States, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers:

    Cancer incidence and mortality statistics reported by the American Cancer Society and other resources were used to create the list. To qualify as a common cancer for the list, the estimated annual incidence for 2016 had to be 40,000 cases or more.

    The most common type of cancer on the list is breast cancer, with more than 249,000 new cases expected in the United States in 2016. The next most common cancers are lung cancer and prostate cancer.

    Because colon and rectal cancers are often referred to as “colorectal cancers,” these two cancer types are combined for the list. For 2016, the estimated number of new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer are 95,270 and 39,220, respectively, adding to a total of 134,490 new cases of colorectal cancer.

    The following table gives the estimated numbers of new cases and deaths for each common cancer type:

    Cancer Type Estimated New Cases Estimated Deaths
    Bladder 76,960 16,390
    Breast (Female – Male) 246,660 – 2,600 40,450 – 440
    Colon and Rectal (Combined) 134,490 49,190
    Endometrial 60,050 10,470
    Kidney (Renal Cell and Renal Pelvis) Cancer 62,700 14,240
    Leukemia (All Types) 60,140 24,400
    Lung (Including Bronchus) 224,390 158,080
    Melanoma 76,380 10,130
    Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 72,580 20,150
    Pancreatic 53,070 41,780
    Prostate 180,890 26,120
    Thyroid 64,300 1,980

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