Carcinoma of unknown primary origin is often called CUP. Having CUP means that your doctor is not able to determine where the cancer first started, which is called the primary site. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 31,000 cases of CUP will be diagnosed in 2012. It is estimated that CUP represents about 2 percent of all cancers.
There are no screening tests for CUP, and it is difficult to diagnose and treat. When it is diagnosed, CUP has already spread beyond its original site. The further CUP has spread, the more difficult it is to treat.
What do these statistics mean for you? Some people may use statistics to try to figure out the chances of getting cancer. Others use statistics to figure out how likely a cure may be. However, statistics show what happens with large groups of people. Because no two people are alike, statistics cannot be used to find out exactly what will happen to you.