Common Cancer Types

This list of common cancer types includes cancers that are diagnosed with the greatest frequency in the United States. Cancer incidence statistics from the American Cancer Society1 and other resources were used to create the list. To qualify as a common cancer, the estimated annual incidence for 2009 had to be 35,000 cases or more.

The most common type of cancer on the list is nonmelanoma skin cancer, with more than 1,000,000 new cases expected in the United States in 2009. Nonmelanoma skin cancers represent about half of all cancers diagnosed in this country.

The cancer on the list with the lowest incidence is thyroid cancer. The estimated number of new cases of thyroid cancer for 2009 is 37,200.

Because colon and rectal cancers are often referred to as "colorectal cancers," these two cancer types are combined for the list. For 2009, the estimated number of new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer are 106,100 and 40,870, respectively, adding to a total of 146,970 new cases of colorectal cancer.

Kidney cancers can be divided into two major groups, renal parenchyma cancers and renal pelvis cancers. Approximately 85 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 2009 is 49,096.

Leukemia as a cancer type includes acute lymphoblastic (or lymphoid) leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, chronic myelogenous (or myeloid) leukemia, and other forms of leukemia. It is estimated that more than 44,790 new cases of leukemia will be diagnosed in the United States in 2009, with chronic lymphocytic leukemia being the most common type (approximately 15,490 new cases).

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

Cancer Type
Estimated New Cases Estimated Deaths
70,980` 14,330
Breast (Female - Male)
192,370 - 1,910 40,170 - 440
Colon and Rectal (Combined)
146,970 49,920
Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer
49,096 11,033
Leukemia (All)
Lung (Including Bronchus)
219,440 159,390
68,720 8,650
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
65,980 19,500
42,470 35,240
192,280 27,360
Skin (Nonmelanoma)
>1,000,000 <1,000
37,200 1,630