The 46 Most Commonly Diagnosed Types of Cancer and How Deadly They Are

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Cancer can be a tough subject for many Americans to think about. In addition to worrying about what causes cancer, many may wonder what the most common cancer is, and an even darker concern many have is what the deadliest cancer is. Using information found in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2020, we analyzed 46 different types of cancer to find the number of new cases and deaths estimated to occur in the United States in 2020. The estimated new cases are based on incidence data from 2002-16, while the estimated deaths are based on U.S. mortality data from 2003-17.

In terms of which cancers have the worst prognosis, we can compare the number of estimated new cases against the estimated number of deaths that will occur. Cancers of the digestive system are among the most worrisome, as they combine to make up 18.47% of new cases, the highest rate on the chart, and the digestive system is the bodily system with the deadliest cancer rate, claiming 27.66% of the total estimated cancer deaths. However, out of all 46 different types, cancer of the lungs and bronchi is the leading cause of cancer death, projected to be responsible for 22.4% of all of the cancer deaths in 2020.

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What Is the Most Common Type of Cancer Diagnosed?

The most common type of cancer is breast cancer, making up 15.5% of the 1,860,590 total new cases of cancer projected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2020. But when different types of cancer are combined based on the systems of the body they affect, cancers of the digestive system are the most common cancer to be diagnosed, making up 18.47% of total new cases.

The 10 Types of Cancer With the Most Projected New Cases in 2020

  1. Breast: 279,100
  2. Lung and Bronchus: 228,820
  3. Prostate: 191,930
  4. Colon: 104,610
  5. Melanoma: 100,350
  6. Bladder: 81,400
  7. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: 77,240
  8. Kidney/Renal: 73,750
  9. Uterine: 65,620
  10. Pancreatic: 57,600

Which Type of Cancer Is the Deadliest?

The most deadly cancer is that of the lungs and bronchi, making up 22.4% of the 606,520 total number of deaths projected to occur in the U.S. in 2020.

What is the least deadly cancer? The least deadly type of cancer is that of the eye and orbit, which makes up just 0.06% of the total annual deaths.

The 10 Types of Cancer With the Most Projected Deaths in 2020

  1. Lung and Bronchus: 135,720
  2. Colon/Rectal: 53,200
  3. Pancreatc: 47,050
  4. Other/Unspecified: 45,850
  5. Breast: 42,690
  6. Prostate: 33,330
  7. Liver/Intrahepatic Bile Duct: 30,160
  8. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: 19,940
  9. Brain/Nervous System: 18,020
  10. Bladder: 17,980

Which of these 46 types of cancer were you surprised to see with such a high rate of projected new cases and/or deaths?