Special Report

The Deadliest Cancers in America

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Cancer has always been with us, at least back to the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth 80 million years ago (cancerous cells have been found in dinosaur fossils). 

Today, it is the second leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease (COVID comes third). More than 600,000 people succumb to various kinds of cancer each year in the U.S. (These are the states where deaths from cancer are going up.)

Despite significant strides in cancer detection and treatment over the last couple of decades that have made the illness manageable in many cases, it remains a deadly threat.

To determine the deadliest cancers in America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed cancer mortality data released in November 2022 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER database – a system for disseminating public health information and data. Cancer types are ranked based on the total number of deaths caused by each one occurring between 1999 and 2019.

Click here to see the deadliest cancers in America

Having health insurance gives people access to preventive care services that can help catch health problems, such as cancer, early, when they are easier to treat. Without coverage, people have to pay for medical expenses out of pocket, which can be very expensive, causing many people to avoid seeing a doctor for as long as possible. (These are the 21 states where the most people don’t have health insurance.)

30. Tongue
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 45,090
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 237,252 — #23 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad]

29. Mesothelioma
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 52,527
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 66,951 — #28 highest out of 69 cancers

28. Other non-epithelial skin
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 63,996
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 111,810 — #26 highest out of 69 cancers

27. Aleukemic, subleukemic, and NOS (not otherwise specified) leukemias
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 66,094
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 38,757 — #29 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad-2]

26. Larynx
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 78,791
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 263,131 — #22 highest out of 69 cancers

25. Corpus uteri (endometrial)
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 84,177
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 942,305 — #10 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad]

24. Cervix uteri (cervical)
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 85,352
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 271,212 — #21 highest out of 69 cancers

23. Soft tissue including heart
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 89,315
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 218,824 — #24 highest out of 69 cancers

22. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 92,864
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 341,468 — #18 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad-2]

21. Uterus and NOS (not otherwise specified)
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 93,348
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 32,598 — #30 highest out of 69 cancers

20. Intrahepatic bile duct
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 99,183
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 67,634 — #27 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad]

19. Other leukemias
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 133,754
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 116,268 — #25 highest out of 69 cancers

18. Melanoma of the skin
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 176,200
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 1,388,783 — #6 highest out of 69 cancers

17. Acute myeloid leukemia
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 190,193
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 271,930 — #20 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad-2]

16. Rectum and rectosigmoid junction
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 197,566
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 862,711 — #12 highest out of 69 cancers

15. Myeloma
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 237,566
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 455,718 — #14 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad]

14. Stomach
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 242,869
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 470,016 — #13 highest out of 69 cancers

13. Kidney and renal pelvis
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 273,706
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 1,104,813 — #9 highest out of 69 cancers

12. Esophagus
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 294,239
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 339,031 — #19 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad-2]

11. Ovary
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 300,541
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 451,052 — #16 highest out of 69 cancers

10. Urinary bladder, invasive and in situ
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 302,599
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 1,455,495 — #5 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad]

9. Brain and other nervous system
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 303,296
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 450,433 — #17 highest out of 69 cancers

8. Liver
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 319,541
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 454,873 — #15 highest out of 69 cancers

7. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 437,847
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 1,344,260 — #7 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad-2]

6. Prostate
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 618,082
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 4,428,868 — #3 highest out of 69 cancers

5. Pancreas
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 763,842
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 863,830 — #11 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad]

4. Miscellaneous tumors
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 864,325
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 1,200,611 — #8 highest out of 69 cancers

3. Female breast *
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 867,199
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 4,675,626 — #1 highest out of 69 cancers

2. Colon excluding rectum
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 924,085
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 2,216,352 — #4 highest out of 69 cancers

[in-text-ad-2]

1. Lung and bronchus
> Total number of deaths, 1999-2019: 3,244,697
> Incidence, 1999-2019: 4,471,220 — #2 highest out of 69 cancers

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.