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Common Cancer Types

  • Updated: 01/09/2012

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

Bladder Cancer    Lung Cancer
Breast Cancer    Melanoma
Colon and Rectal Cancer    Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Endometrial Cancer    Pancreatic Cancer
Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer    Prostate Cancer
Leukemia    Thyroid Cancer

Cancer incidence and mortality statistics reported by the American Cancer Society1 and other resources were used to create the list. To qualify as a common cancer for the list, the estimated annual incidence for 2012 had to be 40,000 cases or more.

The most common type of cancer on the list is prostate cancer, with more than 240,000 new cases expected in the United States in 2012. The cancer on the list with the lowest incidence is pancreatic cancer, with 43,920 new cases expected in 2012. 

Because colon and rectal cancers are often referred to as "colorectal cancers," these two cancer types are combined for the list. For 2012, the estimated number of new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer are 103,170 and 40,290, respectively, adding to a total of 143,460 new cases of colorectal cancer.

Kidney cancers can be divided into two major groups, renal parenchyma cancers and renal pelvis cancers. Approximately 92 percent of kidney cancers develop in the renal parenchyma,2 and nearly all of these cancers are renal cell cancers. The estimated number of new cases of renal cell cancer for 2012 is 59,588.

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

Cancer TypeEstimated New CasesEstimated Deaths
Breast (Female – Male)226,870 – 2,19039,510 – 410
Colon and Rectal (Combined)143,46051,690
Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer59,58812,484
Leukemia (All Types)47,15023,540
Lung (Including Bronchus)226,160160,340
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma70,13018,940


  1.  American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2012. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2012. Also available online (PDF - 1,700 KB). Last accessed January 6, 2012.
  2.  Chow W-H, Dong LM, and Devesa SS: Epidemiology and risk factors for kidney cancer. Nature Reviews Urology 7(5):245-257, 2010. [PUBMED Abstract]