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What are the Ten Most Common Cancers?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The most common type of cancer women and men both can have is basal or squamous cell skin cancer. These tend not to be fatal, though some percentage of people with a basal or squamous cell cancer will at a later point develop melanomas. In considering how common a cancer is, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) leaves out the above two cancers.

The CDC addresses common cancer by looking at incidence rates. There are separate lists for men and women, since women and men have separate body parts. For example, a woman doesn't have a prostate and a man doesn't have a uterus or cervix. Other statistics in determining common cancers include race and age, as well as region. These factors are of value when evaluating risk for cancer. Behavior must also be taken into account since certain high risk behaviors like alcoholism and smoking increase one’s risk for certain forms of cancer, particularly cancer of the lungs and liver.

The statistics listed here are the total statistics for common cancers. This means that race, behavior and location are not taken into account. Gender is taken into account for the above-mentioned reasons. These statistics do not include basal or squamous cell cancer.

For men the most common type of cancer is prostate cancer, with an incidence of .16%. Second in line, and actually most deadly is lung cancer, occurring in .088% of each group of 100,000 men. Cancer of the colon/rectum follows with an incidence of .0627%. Cancer of the bladder affects .0369% of the general male population. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma affects .0217%.

The sixth most common cancer for men is melanoma occurring in about .0198% of the male adult population. Kidney cancer occurs in about .0173% of the population. Pharynx and throat cancer affects about .0173% of all men. Leukemia develops in .0148% of males. The tenth most common cancer is cancer of the pancreas with a .0123% rate of occurrence.

In women the most common type of cancer is breast cancer, with a .1272% of occurrence in women of all age and racial groups. Second is cancer of the lungs affecting .0532% of women. Colon and rectal cancer is the third most common cancer, occurring in about .0458% of the female population. Uterine cancer affects .0229% of women. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is the fifth most common, with an incidence rate of .0154%.

Ovarian cancer is estimated to affect .0134% of women, and melanoma will affect by .013%. Cancer of the thyroid gland occurs in .0117% of the female population. Cancer of miscellaneous cause is the ninth most common form of cancer with a .01% occurrence rate. Leukemia is the tenth most common cancer in women, occurring in about .009% of women.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By davis22 — On Jun 27, 2010

@kilorenz – Overall, pancreatic cancer is the most deadly type. Over 90% of people that get pancreatic cancer die within five years of diagnosis. This is primarily because there is currently no test that can detect early signs of pancreatic cancer. By the time most people notice and report signs of pancreatic cancer, it is usually too developed for the victim to do much about it. Lung cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer. Around 75% of victims die within five years of diagnosis. Lung cancer is so deadly because it is difficult to operate on the lungs and impossible to remove them. Since the lungs communicate with so many other parts of the body, lung cancer has a high potential to spread to other parts of the body, making it that much more difficult to treat. Leukemia can also be fairly deadly form of cancer. Statistics on the mortality rate of leukemia are somewhat difficult to assess because there are multiple types of leukemia, some of which are far more deadly than others. Hope this helps.

By kilorenz — On Jun 27, 2010

It is very interesting to see the most common types of cancers. I was wondering which of these types are the most the dangerous? I guess by that I mean which types of cancer have the lowest survival rates. Surely those statistics exist as well?

By surreallife — On May 23, 2008

Even though there is no complete cure for all cancers, the survival rate is continually improving. We are told that early detection is the best weapon in treatment of all cancers.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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