There are more than 200 types of cancers we know of today. Of all these, the condition detected with the highest frequency in the United States (not including nonmelanoma skin cancers) is breast cancer. This is followed by lung and prostate cancer.
In the recently published Cancer Statistics 2019 by the American Cancer Society, information on the latest cancer incidence, mortality, and survival rates are revealed. In this article, we look at the 10 most common cancers of America. To qualify for this list, the projected annual prevalence for 2019 had to be 40,000 cases or more.
In the US this year, there will be an expected 2,670 cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in men and a massive 268,600 new cases diagnosed in women. Invasive female breast cancer incidence rates have increased slightly, around 0.04% each year from 2006 to 2015. The death rate, however, has declined significantly, from 33.2 in 1989 to 20.0 in 2016 thanks to improvements in early detection and treatment.
Experts estimate around 228,150 new cases of lung cancer to plague the US in 2019. In the past decade, we’ve seen an annual decline of 3% of the incidence rate among men and 1.5% in women. From 2012 to 2016, the mortality rate has decreased by 3% per year in women and 4% in men. Cigarette smoking remains to be the main cause of lung cancer deaths, accounting for 81% of cases.
An estimated 174,650 people will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the US this year. For reasons that remain unclear, the incidence of this condition is about 60% higher in blacks than in whites. Incidence rates for prostate cancer peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s but have since shown an accelerated decline around the year 2000. For most patients, the American Cancer Society recommends careful monitoring of the disease progression (called active surveillance) instead of immediate therapy.
Colon and Rectum
Around 101,420 patients may suffer colon cancer and 44,180 more will have rectal cancer in the country in 2019. Due to changes in the uptake of screening and changes in risk factor exposures, colorectal cancer incidence has been falling for several decades.
Nevertheless, about 51,020 cases could still result in death this year. There are no accurate statistics on colon and rectal cancer deaths separately as many hospitals misclassify rectal cancer deaths as colon cancer on death certificates.
This cancer begins in specialized cells that make up the pigment which gives skin its color. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US, but it is tough to estimate the actual number because cases are not required to be reported to cancer registries. Incidence continues to rise rapidly, with heavy exposure to ultraviolet radiation being the main cause. The Melanoma Research Alliance advises wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen whenever outside.
More than 80,470 people in the US may suffer bladder cancer this year. Incidence of this condition is about two times higher in white men than in black men and four times higher in men than in women. This 2019, an estimated 17,670 patients will die from this disease. Smoking is the prevailing risk factor for bladder cancer, accounting for almost 47% of all cases in the country. If the tumor hasn’t spread to other parts of the body, half of all diagnosed patients have a 95% five-year survival.
Healthcare providers in the US expect 74,000 people to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2019. NHL incidence trends showed a slow decrease in recent years (by 0.6% annually from 2011 to 2015) following decades of increase. In 2019, there will be about 19,970 deaths from NHL. Typical of most cancers, the risk of this condition increases with age.
Doctors typically recommend chemotherapy for patients. Radiation, alone or in combination with chemotherapy, is also sometimes used. Newer therapies that boost the body’s immune system, like CAR T-cell therapy) show promising results especially for lymphomas that are hard to treat.
Kidney (Renal Cell and Pelvis)
A total of 73,820 cases of kidney cancer will be reported in the country this year. These are primarily renal cell carcinomas, which develop in the kidney. They also include Wilms tumor (1%), a childhood cancer that usually starts before the age of five, and cancers of the renal pelvis (5%), which act more like bladder cancer. Women are less likely as men to develop kidney cancer.
The ACS estimates 14,770 deaths to come as a result of kidney cancer in the US this year. The institute notes that eliminating excess body weight and tobacco smoking could potentially prevent half of kidney cancers. For some patients with small tumors, active surveillance may be an option. However, surgery remains as the primary treatment for most cases.
In 2019, around 61,880 new cases of cancer of the uterine corpus (body of the uterus) will be diagnosed in the US. This type of cancer is often called endometrial cancer because over 90% of cases occur in the endometrium or lining of the uterus. White women are more likely to develop the disease than black women. Experts also estimate around 12,160 deaths to come as a result of this condition. Meanwhile, the five-year relative survival rate is 83% for white women and 62% for black women.
Leukemia (All Types)
The ASC expects 61,780 new cases of leukemia this 2019. Although it is usually the older adults who suffer from this condition, it is the most common cancer in childhood. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. About 22,2840 leukemia deaths are expected to happen this year. Survival varies significantly by age and subtype. Newer experimental treatments that boost the body’s immune system have shown much promise, even against some hard-to-treat conditions.
According to the World Health Organization, screening for cancer early can substantially increase chances for successful treatment. If you or a loved one is concerned about warning signs of cancer, make an appointment to see your doctor.