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12.5: Types of Cancer

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    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 284,200 new cases expected in the United States in 2021. 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 2021, the estimated number of new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer are 104,270 and 45,230, respectively, adding to a total of 149,500 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 83,730 17,200
    Breast (Female – Male) 281,550 – 2,650 43,600 – 530
    Colon and Rectal (Combined) 149,500 52,980
    Endometrial 66,570 12,940
    Kidney (Renal Cell and Renal Pelvis) Cancer 76,080 13,780
    Leukemia (All Types) 61,090 23,660
    Lung (Including Bronchus) 235,760 131,880
    Melanoma 106,110 7,180
    Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 81,560 20,720
    Pancreatic 60,430 48,220
    Prostate 248,530 34,130
    Thyroid 44,280 2,200

    Contributors and Attributions

    Public Domain Content

    This page titled 12.5: Types of Cancer is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Kelly Falcone via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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