Cancer. Who would have ever thought it could be so common? Statistics show that half of all men and one-third of all women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetimes. This equates to approximately 11.7 million people in the United States alive today who have had some type of cancer.
Survival rates vary based on the individual’s health and the type of cancer. It can be helpful to be aware of some of the more common cancers for two reasons: 1) to realize we are not alone in this health challenge and 2) to learn that we have resources to help us deal with, battle, and survive these diseases.
The top ten most common types of cancer diagnosed in the United States, based on number of estimated cases, are listed below. This data is derived from the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts Report for 2011. This list excludes the more than estimated 2 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancers. These are difficult to track because they are not required to be reported on cancer registries.
The top 10 most common types of cancer, listed in order of number of estimated new cases for 2011:
First on the list is prostate cancer, with an estimated 240,890 new cases anticipated for 2011, and is the most common cancer affecting men. This cancer starts with a tumor located in the prostate gland in men, which is part of the reproductive system.
Secondly, breast cancer reports an estimated 230,480 cases for women this year plus an additional 2,140 cases for men. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.
Third, with 221,130 estimated cases, is lung cancer. There are two primary classifications of lung cancer: small cell and non-small cell lung cancer.
Fourth on the list is colorectal cancer, with a combined number of 141,210 cases for colon or rectal cancer types. Both these organs are a part of the large intestine in the digestive system.
Fifth is melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. There are 70,230 cases expected for 2011. This type of cancer forms in the skin’s melanocyte cells, which produce brown pigment in the skin. It frequently begins in moles but may also be found in other pigmented parts of the body.
Sixth is bladder cancer with an estimated 69,250 cases. There are several types of bladder cancer, the most common being urothelial carcinoma (formerly called transitional cell carcinoma). Bladder cancer incidence is four times higher in men than in women.
Seventh on the list is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with an estimated 66,360 new cases for 2011. Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes, or white blood cells, and is classified as Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin. There are a variety of subcategories of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Eighth is kidney cancer, with 56,046 anticipated cases this year. These can be divided into two major subcategories: renal cell carcinoma (most common) and renal pelvis carcinoma, as well as a small number of cases of Wilms tumor, a type of childhood cancer.
Ninth on the list of common cancers in the United States is thyroid cancer, with an estimated 48,020 new cases for 2011, with three-fourths of these cases occurring in women. This cancer begins in the thyroid gland, which is part of the body’s endocrine system. Thyroid cancer is the fastest-increasing cancer in both men and women.
Tenth is endometrial cancer, with 46,470 anticipated new cases predicted for 2011. This cancer type forms in the tissue lining the uterus.
*Special mention should also be made to leukemia, which forms inside the bone marrow, with an estimated 44,600 cases and pancreatic cancer, with 44,030.
Information regarding specific cancer types can be found on this website in the educational section, and also at the National Cancer Institute site, American Cancer Society site, or this site from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.