Cancer Treatment

Cancer incidence and mortality statistics reported by the American Cancer Society and other resources were used to create the list. To qualify as a common cancer for the list, the estimated annual incidence for 2011 had to be 40,000 cases or more.
The most common type of cancer on the list is prostate cancer, with more than 240,000 new cases expected in the United States in 2011. The cancer on the list with the lowest incidence is pancreatic cancer, with 44,030 new cases expected in 2011.
Because colon and rectal cancers are often referred to as "colorectal cancers," these two cancer types are combined for the list. For 2011, the estimated number of new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer are 101,340 and 39,870, respectively, adding to a total of 141,210 new cases of colorectal cancer.
Kidney cancers can be divided into two major groups, renal parenchyma cancers and renal pelvis cancers. Approximately 92 percent of kidney cancers develop in the renal parenchyma, and nearly all of these cancers are renal cell cancers. The estimated number of new cases of renal cell cancer for 2011 is 56,046.
The following table gives the estimated numbers of new cases and deaths for each common cancer type:

Cancer TypeEstimated New CasesEstimated Deaths
Breast (Female – Male)230,480 – 2,14039,520 – 450
Colon and Rectal (Combined)141,21049,380
Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer56,04612,070
Leukemia (All Types)44,60021,780
Lung (Including Bronchus)221,130156,940
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma66,36019,320
Find out what you need to know about the most common types of cancer treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and many others.


Surgery can be used to diagnose, treat, or even help prevent cancer in some cases. Most people with cancer will have some type of surgery. It often offers the greatest chance for cure, especially if the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.


Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of medicines or drugs to treat cancer. The thought of having chemotherapy frightens many people. But knowing what chemotherapy is, how it works, and what to expect can often help calm your fears. It can also give you a better sense of control over your cancer treatment. 

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. It is one of the most common treatments for cancer, either by itself or along with other forms of treatment.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a newer type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to more precisely identify and attack cancer cells, usually while doing little damage to normal cells. Targeted therapy is a growing part of many cancer treatment regimens.


Immunotherapy is treatment that uses your body's own immune system to help fight cancer. Get information about the different types of immunotherapy and the types of cancer they are used to treat.


The idea of using heat to treat cancer has been around for some time, but early attempts had mixed results. Today, newer tools allow more precise delivery of heat, and hyperthermia is being studied for use against many types of cancer.

Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant

Here we offer a review of bone marrow transplants and other types of stem cell transplants that are used to treat cancer. We outline what a transplant is like for most people, and discuss some of the issues that come with it.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy or PDT is a treatment that uses special drugs, called photosensitizing agents, along with light to kill cancer cells. The drugs only work after they have been activated or "turned on" by certain kinds of light.

Lasers in Cancer Treatment

Lasers, which are very powerful, precise beams of light, can be used instead of blades (scalpels) for very careful surgical work, including treating some cancers.

Blood Product Donation and Transfusion

Transfusions of blood and blood products temporarily replace parts of the blood when a person's body can't make its own or has lost them from bleeding. Here, we describe blood and its components and why they are important. We also explain how blood is donated and transfused and how this relates to people with cancer.

Hormone Replacement Therapy vs. Hormonal Treatment: What's the Difference

Hormone replacement therapy was once used to help women combat the side effects of menopause. But recent studies indicate it may do more harm than good. On the other hand hormonal treatment of breast cancer is very different and can be very useful. In this therapy, doctors attempt to block the production of hormones that are feeding the growth of the cancer. Find out exactly what distinguishes these two therapies from one another.

Molecular Targeted Therapy: A New Way of Treating Cancer

Molecular targeted therapies may become a revolutionary change in the treatment of cancer. Listen as experts describe how these drugs are being used today and what may lie ahead.