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Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
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For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
The exact number of cancers of unknown primary (CUP) diagnosed each year is unknown, because some cancers start out being diagnosed as unknown primary, but the primary site is found later. Still, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 32,590 cases of cancer of unknown primary will be diagnosed in 2023 in the United States. This number represents about 2% of all cancers. As more sophisticated lab tests become available to determine where a cancer started, the number of cancers of unknown primary may go down.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Cancer Society. Facts & Figures 2023. American Cancer Society. Atlanta, Ga. 2023.
Bochtler T, Löffler H, Krämer A. Diagnosis and management of metastatic neoplasms with unknown primary. Semin Diagn Pathol. 2017 Nov;26(pii). doi: 10.1053/j.semdp.2017.11.013. [Epub ahead of print].
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Bishop K, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2014/, based on November 2016 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2017.
Mnatsakanyan E, Tung WC, Caine B, Smith-Gagen J. Cancer of unknown primary: Time trends in incidence, United States. Cancer Causes Control. 2014 Jun;25(6):747-57. doi: 10.1007/s10552-014-0378-2. Epub 2014 Apr 8.
Varadhachary GR, Lenzi R, Raber MN, Abbruzzese JL. Carcinoma of Unknown Primary In: Neiderhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’sClinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA. Elsevier: 2014:1792-1803.
Last Revised: January 12, 2023
American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.
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