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Healthcare Insights

Most common types of cancer by number of diagnoses

The American Cancer Society reports that at the beginning of 2022, more than 18 million living Americans had a history of invasive cancer. Though this number is high, it is also reported that cancer deaths decreased by 33% from 1991 to 2020, showing progress in the field of cancer treatment. Even with such progress, the American Cancer Society reported that 1.9 million new cancer cases were expected to be diagnosed in 2023.

Using the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset, we’ve listed the cancer categories with the most diagnoses in 2023 through November. Neoplasms, a type of abnormal and excessive tissue growth, are also included on our list.

Top 15 most common cancer diagnoses

RankCancer category descriptionPercent of diagnoses in U.S. in 2023Explore dataset
1Other and unspecified benign neoplasm14.20%Explore
2Cancer of breast12.40%Explore
3Cancer of prostate9.50%Explore
4Neoplasms of unspecified nature or uncertain behavior8.30%Explore
5Cancer of bronchus; lung6.10%Explore
6Other non-epithelial cancer of skin6.00%Explore
7Secondary malignancies3.80%Explore
9Cancer of colon3.50%Explore
10Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma3.40%Explore
11Multiple myeloma2.90%Explore
12Cancer of head and neck2.70%Explore
13Cancer of rectum and anus2.40%Explore
14Cancer of bladder2.40%Explore
15Benign neoplasm of uterus1.90%Explore

Fig. 1. Data is from the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset and represents the percentages of total cancer diagnoses made in 2023 through November. Data accessed December 2023.

What are the most commonly diagnosed types of cancers and neoplasms?

The cancer category with the highest percentage of diagnoses in the U.S. in 2023 was ‘other and unspecified benign neoplasm,’ accounting for 14.2% of all cancer diagnoses made in 2023. Neoplasms can be classified into four main groups, with malignant neoplasms simply being known as cancers. A benign neoplasm, of course, means that it is a non-cancerous growth. This cancer category likely ranks high on our list because biopsies play a huge role in cancer care, and many biopsies may come back as benign.

The second cancer category with the most diagnoses was breast cancer, accounting for 12.4% of all 2023 diagnoses. This type of cancer is very common among women. In fact, the National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common form of breast cancer, accounting for 80% of diagnoses.

Prostate cancer was the third most commonly diagnosed cancer at 9.5%. This type of cancer is about as common in men as breast cancer is in women. The American Cancer Society reports that 1 in 8 men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Like breast cancer, early detection of localized stages can result in a 99% 5-year relative survival rate.

How are cancers treated?

Patients diagnosed with cancer are treated by oncologists – providers specialized in the field of oncology. These providers may be medical oncologists (treating cancers with chemotherapy or targeted therapies), radiation oncologists (treating cancers with radiation), or surgical oncologists (treating cancers with surgery). Other members of the cancer care team may include oncology nurses and social workers, psychiatrists, dieticians, home health providers, pharmacists, and patient navigators.

Cancer treatment varies based on the type of cancer. Local treatments, which are treatments aimed at treating a specific area of the body or tumor, include:

Systemic treatments, which are treatments affecting the whole body, include:

Other types of cancer treatment include:

  • Stem cell transplant
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Hormone therapy

Learn more

Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the highest quality data and intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.