What are the most common types of cancer? The incidence of different cancers varies by country.
Cancer by the numbers
Let's take a look at the most common cancers in the United States. Most of these statistics were compiled in the American Cancer Society Facts & Figures annual report for 2012.
Skin cancer is divided into the non-melanoma and melanoma categories. Non-melanoma (basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer) is the more common form with over 2,000,000 cases expected to be diagnosed in the country in 2012. Most of these forms of cancer are curable. Melanoma, on the other hand, is the more serious type of skin cancer. It affects approximately five percent of people diagnosed with skin cancer, but is attributed to over 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths. In 2012, 76,250 new cases of melanoma were expected to be diagnosed.
During 2012, 226,160 new cases of lung cancer were expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. Lung cancer accounts for about 28 percent of all cancer deaths. An estimated 160,340 deaths were expected to occur from lung cancer in 2012. The 5-year survival rate for all stages of lung cancer combined is just 16 percent. However, for cases detected when the disease is still localized, that number is 53 percent. Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer.
It's estimated that 1 in 6 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. It's the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men (excluding skin cancer) and the second most common cause of death. Approximately 241,740 new cases were diagnosed in 2012 with an estimated 28,170 men expected to die from the disease in the year. PSA screenings and digital rectal exams (DRE) can help for early detection.
According to the American Cancer Society, 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to occur during 2012 in the U.S. Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women. Breast cancer ranks second as a cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer).
An estimated 103,170 new cases of colon and 40,290 cases of rectal cancer were expected to occur in 2012. Colorectal cancer doesn't discriminate -- it's the third most common cancer in both men and women. Colorectal cancer was expected to account for nine percent of all cancer deaths in 2012.
Kidney (renal) cancer
The American Cancer Society estimated 64,770 new cases of kidney (renal) cancer in 2012 with 13,570 deaths from this disease. Tobacco is a strong risk factor for kidney cancer, as well as obesity and hypertension.
Blood in the urine is a common symptom of urinary bladder cancer. An estimated 73,510 new cases of this cancer were expect in 2012. With all stages of bladder cancer combined, the five-year relative survival rate is 80 percent. Surgery (alone or in conjunction with other treatments) is used in 90 percent of cases.
As you may know, one of the common symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is swollen lymph nodes. About 30 different kinds of NHL exist. It was estimated that 70,130 new cases of this type of cancer would be diagnosed in 2012.
Three out of four cases of thyroid cancer occur in women. Perhaps surprisingly, it is the fastest-increasing cancer in both men and women. A lump in the neck is the most common symptom of thyroid cancer. An estimated 56,460 new cases of thyroid cancer were expected in 2012 in the U.S., as well as 1,780 deaths from the disease.
Cancer of the uterine corpus usually occurs in the endometrium (uterus lining). Abnormal bleeding is often an early sign of this type of cancer. In 2012, the American Cancer Society estimated 47,130 new cases of uterine corpus cancer. Treatment can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and/or hormonal methods, depending on the stage of the cancer.
Other common cancers
Also called exocrine cancer, pancreatic cancer often develops without early symptoms. The survival rates for all stages combined are 25 percent for one year and 6 percent for five years. Approximately 43,920 new cases were expected in 2012 along with an estimated 37,390 deaths. Leukemia is also a fairly common cancer in the U.S. with an estimated 47,150 new cases in 2012.
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