Cancer statistics

Cancer has a huge impact on society in the United States and around the world. Cancer statistics describe what happens in large groups of people and provide a picture over time of the burden that cancer represents in society. Statistics tell us things like how many people are diagnosed with cancer and die from the disease each year, the number of people currently living after a cancer diagnosis, the average age at diagnosis, and the number of people still they are alive at any given time after diagnosis. They also tell us about differences between groups of people defined by age, sex, racial and ethnic group, geographic location, and other categories.

If you are looking for information about cancer prognosis and survival chances, see the Cancer Prognosis page .

Although statistical trends generally do not pertain directly to individual patients, they are essential for governments, policymakers, health professionals, and researchers to understand the impact cancer has on the population and to design strategies to address the challenges posed by cancer. for society as a whole. Statistical trends are also important in measuring the success of efforts to control and care for cancer.

General Statistics: Cancer Burden in the United States

  • In 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people will die from the disease.
  • The most common cancers (listed in descending order based on new estimated cases in 2018) are projected to be breast cancer, lung and bronchial cancer, prostate cancer, colon and rectal cancer, melanoma of the skin, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, endometrial cancer, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, and liver cancer.
  • The number of new cancer cases (cancer incidence ) is 439.2 per 100,000 men and women per year (based on cases from 2011 to 2015).
  • The number of cancer deaths (cancer mortality ) is 163.5 per 100,000 men and women per year (based on death data from 2011 to 2015).
  • Cancer mortality is higher in men than in women (196.8 per 100,000 men and 139.6 per 100,000 women). Mortality is highest in African American men (239.9 per 100,000) and lowest in Asian and Pacific Islander women (88.3 per 100,000). 
  • In 2016, there were an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States and this is projected to increase to about 20.3 million by 2026.
  • About 38.4% of women and men will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives (based on data from 2013 to 2015).
  • In 2017, an estimated 15,270 children and adolescents ages 0-19 were diagnosed with cancer and 1,790 died from the disease.
  • The national expenditure on cancer care in the US were USD 147.3 trillion in 2017. In the coming years, it is likely that costs rise as the population ages and the prevalence of the cancer increases. Costs are also likely to rise as new, many times more expensive treatments are adopted as part of standard medical care.  

General statistics: burden of cancer worldwide

  • Cancer is one of the leading causes of death around the world. In 2012, there were 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 cancer-related deaths.
  • 57% of new cancer cases in 2012 occurred in less developed regions of the world that include Central America and parts of Africa and Asia; 65% of cancer deaths in the world also occurred in these regions.
  • The number of new cancer cases is projected to increase to about 23.6 million by 2030.

The  International Agency for Research on CancerExit notification has more information on cancer statistics around the world.

Cancer Mortality Trends in the United States

The best indicator of progress against cancer is a change in age-adjusted mortality (death) rates, although other measures, such as quality of life, are also important. Incidence is also important, but interpreting changes in incidence is not always straightforward. For example, if a new screening test finds many cancers that would never have caused problems in a person’s lifetime (called overdiagnosis), the incidence of cancer would appear to be on the rise even though death rates do not change. But an increased incidence may also reflect an actual increase in disease, such as when increased exposure to a risk factorcauses more cases of cancer. In this scenario, the increase in incidence would likely lead to an increase in cancer mortality.

In the United States, the overall cancer death rate has decreased since the early 1990s. The most recent SEER Cancer Statistics Review , updated in April 2018, shows that cancer death rates decreased by:

  • 1.8% per year in men from 2006 to 2015
  • 1.4% per year in women from 2006 to 2015
  • 1.4% per year in children 0-19 years of age from 2011 to 2015

Although death rates from many individual types of cancer have also decreased, rates for some cancers have stabilized or even increased.

As the overall rate of cancer deaths has decreased, the number of cancer survivors has increased. These trends show that progress is being made against the disease, but much work remains to be done. While rates of smoking, a leading cause of cancer, have declined, America’s population is aging, and cancer rates are increasing with age. Obesity, another risk factor for cancer, is also on the rise. More information on US mortality trends can be found on the Lower Death Rates and Most Survivors page.

The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER)

The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program of the NCI ( NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program ) collects and publishes data on incidence and cancer survival from population registers covering approximately 28% of the population U.S. The SEER program website has more detailed cancer statistics, including demographic statistics for common cancer types, configurable charts and tables, and interactive tools.

The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer provides an annual update of cancer incidence, mortality, and trends in the United States. The report is co-authored by experts from the NCI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.