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57 Striking Cancer Statistics to be Aware of in 2024


cancer statistics

57 Striking Cancer Statistics You Need to be Aware of in 2024

Cancer doesn’t choose age or ethnicity. It’s sometimes incurable and sometimes unpreventable. It significantly adds to the world’s total morbidity, and it’s the world’s second leading cause of mortality.

According to cancer statistics, every person in the world knows at least one person who had cancer. This disease is a great challenge that healthcare professionals face in the modern world. Cancer patient education, prevention, diagnosis, early treatment, and therapy are the key responsibilities of healthcare workers around the globe.

The article before you provides a bundle of facts and stats that unconditionally prove that cancer is an immense health burden. And as it tightens its grip on world mortality, cancer is becoming even harder to globally maintain. 

However, this issue has motivated researchers and physicians worldwide to seek newer, better cures for all types of cancer.

The Top 10 Cancer Statistics

  • Approximately 16% of the global population dies of cancer.
  • Almost 70% of cancer deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The cancer survival rate in the US is 66.1%.
  • Tobacco smoking accounts for 22% of all cancer deaths.
  • 300,000 children younger than 19 are diagnosed with a malignancy in the world every year.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, right behind cardiovascular disease.
  • More people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancer together.
  • Smoking and drinking combined increases the chances of developing oral cancer by 100 times.
  • 1 in 38 women will die from breast cancer.
  • People who eat red and processed meat 4 or more times a week have a 20% greater chance of developing colorectal cancer.

The Different Cancer Types

1. There are more than 100 diseases that we call cancer.


The term “cancer” or “malignancy” is used to describe an illness that’s typically related to abnormal cell growth. Cancerous cells multiply uncontrollably and interfere with our normal physiology, with the possibility of spreading from one tissue to another (metastasis). The symptoms may vary depending on the type.

The main cancer forms are as follows:

  • Carcinoma – This is one of the most common cancer varieties, originating in organs such as the lungs, liver, pancreas, glands, and skin. They’re usually associated with tumorous tissue.
  • Sarcoma – These arise from bone, cartilage, blood vessels, and other soft and connective tissue.
  • Leukemia – This is a cancer of the blood cells.
  • Lymphoma – This refers to cancers of the lymphocytes.
  • Melanoma – This type of cancer originates in the melanocytes, the pigment cells in the skin.

Causes of Cancer

2. Abnormal gene activity can be the cause of cancer.


Genes replicate in every cell, all the time. They express depending on one’s stage in life and their lifestyle. 

Deep inside our genome, there are two main gene groups that can turn to adverse replication and cause abnormal cell growth (neoplasia):

  • Oncogenes help tissue grow in utero and in early life. In adulthood, they’re normally turned off. If a cause presents itself, some of them become divisible again and create cancerous tissue.
  • Tumor suppressor genes are the ones that turn gene division off and repair DNA. In most common types of cancer, they get turned off, and unhealthy cells begin to replicate.

3. Infections can induce abnormal cell division.

(American Cancer Society)

Some bacteria and viruses can permanently alter the function of the cells they attack. The common viruses that do this include human papillomavirus (HPV), HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B (HBV) and C viruses (HCV), and herpes type 8 virus.

The bacteria that can cause neoplasia are Helicobacter pylori, which commonly causes peptic ulcers, and Chlamydia trachomatis, which can cause vaginal or cervical cancer.

4. Exposure to carcinogens can alter DNA replication.


According to the national cancer stats, home chemicals, industrial materials, charcoal products, asbestos, drugs, and even processed meat can onset the carcinogenesis.

5. Radiation changes DNA permanently.


Some radio and microwave frequencies can cause tissue to become metabolically different. UV radiation is very harmful to the skin, causing skin cancers, while X-rays often cause multiple myeloma, or lymphomas.

6. Poor lifestyle habits cause cancer.

(American Cancer Society)

Cancer incidence rises with obesity, especially for breast, colorectal, pancreas, and kidney cancer.

Smoking tobacco increases the chances of lung cancer, as well as mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, kidney, cervix, liver, pancreas, and stomach cancers.

Heavy alcohol consumption is one of the main stomach cancer causes. Alcoholism significantly elevates the chances for liver, colon and rectum, and breast cancers.

7. According to the WHO, the most important risk factor for cancer is tobacco smoking.


Tobacco smoking accounts for 22% of all cancer deaths.

Additionally, a high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, and tobacco and alcohol use are all notable cancer risk factors. These five are responsible for one-third of cancers worldwide.

Global Cancer Statistics and Facts

8. It’s estimated that by the end of 2019 there will be 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 deaths in the US alone.

(Cancer Statistics Center)

These numbers amount to 4,830 new cases and 1,660 deaths every day.

9. Almost 70% of cancer deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.


Low-income countries have higher HPV and HCV rates, meaning their populations are more likely to develop cervical or breast cancers. Furthermore, the overall availability of human cancer services in low-income countries is 30%—in contrast to the 90% availability found in high-income countries.

10. In 2018, more than 9.6 million people worldwide died due to cancer.


According to cancer statistics from 2018, the total number of cancer deaths is following a rising trend. In 2015, there were 8.8 million cancer deaths recorded. Globally, about 16% of the population dies of cancer.

11. 598,031 cancer deaths were reported in the US in 2016.


This data implies an annual incremental rise in total cancer deaths by approximately 50,000 a year since 1999. However, when factoring in the growth of the total US population, the overall cancer death rates dropped from 200.7 to 155.9 per 100,000 people annually.

12. From 2011 to 2015, overall cancer incidence rates in the US decreased by 2.1% per year.


The recent cancer stats imply dropping rates of new cancer cases. What’s more, in this period, the average cancer death rate decreased by 1.8%.

National cancer awareness campaigns have resulted in better early detection and regular examinations. During this period, the most diagnosed types of cancer were prostate, lung and bronchus, colon and rectum, urinary bladder, and melanoma cancers.  

13. The cancer survival rate in the US is 66.1%.


Of all diagnosed cancers, the five-year survival rates are 65.7% for females and 66.5% in males.

However, cancer survival rates drop with age. The overall survival rate for the population under 65 is 72.9%, and for seniors is 59.2%.

14. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US.


In 2016, a total of 1,658,716 new cases of cancer, and 598,031 deaths were reported. This means that for every 100,000 people, 436 people are diagnosed with cancer and 156 died.

15. The leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide is lung cancer.


Among all ages and genders, world morbidity stats indicate that there were 2.09 million new cases of lung cancer in 2019, followed closely by breast (2.09 million), colorectal (1.80 million), prostate (1.28 million), and melanoma (1.04 million).

World cancer stats claim that lung cancer has so far accounted for 1.76 million deaths in 2019, followed by colorectal (862,000), stomach (783,000), liver (782,000), and breast (627,000).

16. Childhood cancers account for less than 1% of all cancers.


Childhood cancers develop differently than others due to the fact that a child’s body is rapidly growing. The abnormal cellular growth happens in the child’s damaged DNA. This could be a hereditary predisposition for abnormal cell division, genetic anomaly, or circumstantial development.

Pediatric cancer facts clearly show that cancer is the second leading cause of death in children aged 1–14 years.

Cancer Incidence by Gender

17. The most frequently occurring cancer in men in the US from 2010 to 2014 was prostate cancer.

(Annual Report)

The following are the top 10 most common cancers in men (incidence per 100,000 people):

  1. Prostate (118.2)
  2. Lung and bronchus (73.2)
  3. Colon and rectum (46.5)
  4. Urinary, bladder (36.8)
  5. Melanoma (27.4)
  6. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (23.7)
  7. Kidney and renal (22.3)
  8. Leukemia (19.0)
  9. Oral cavity and pharynx (17.7)
  10. Pancreas (14.5)

18. The most common cancer in women in the US is by far breast cancer.

(Annual Report)

The top 10 most frequent cancers in women between 2010 and 2014 are the following (incidence per 100,000 people):

  1. Breast (125.6)
  2. Lung and bronchus (53.3)
  3. Colon and rectum (35.2)
  4. Corpus and uterus (26.3)
  5. Thyroid (21.6)
  6. Melanoma (18.8)
  7. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (16.30
  8. Ovary (11.8)
  9. Leukemia (11.5)
  10. Kidney and renal pelvis (11.5)

19. While not the most common cancer in men, lung cancer is the deadliest.

(National Vital Statistics)

The 10 deadliest cancers among men in the US are as follows (number of deaths per 100,000 people):

  1. Lung and bronchus (53.8)
  2. Prostate (19.5)
  3. Colon and rectum (17.3)
  4. Pancreas (12.6)
  5. Liver and bile ducts (9.4)
  6. Leukemia (9.0)
  7. Urinary, bladder (7.6)
  8. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (7.4)
  9. Esophagus (7.2)
  10. Kidney and renal, pelvis (5.6)

20. The most deadly cancer in women is lung cancer.


The 10 most deadly cancers in women in the US are the following (number of deaths per 100,000 people):

  1. Lung and bronchus (35.4)
  2. Breast (20.9)
  3. Colon and rectum (12.2)
  4. Pancreas (9.5)
  5. Thyroid (7.2)
  6. Leukemia (5.0)
  7. Corpus and uterus (4.6)
  8. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (4.5)
  9. Liver and bile ducts (3.8)
  10. Brain and nervous system (3.5)

21. The deadliest cancer among young men is colorectal cancer.


Although officially topping the death list, lung cancer is more common in older men.

According to data from 2012 to 2016, the leading causes of cancer deaths in men under 49 years of age in 2019 are colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and brain cancer, in that order.

22. Men of all ages are more likely to develop cancer than women.


The facts about cancer and gender conclude that in general, cancer occurrence is more frequent in men. However, within the age range of 20–49 years, invasive cancers are more prevalent in women. Among men aged 20–49, testicular cancer is the second most prevalent, and the prevalence rate is rising.

23. It’s estimated that by the end of 2019, breast cancer will be the most prevalent type.

(American Cancer Society)

Even including both sexes, breast cancer will prove the most prevalent cancer by the end of 2019, with a total number of 271,270 cases in the US. It’s followed by lung cancer (228,120), prostate cancer (174,650), colorectal cancer (145,600), and melanoma (96,480).

24. According to the cancer rates by state, California has the most cases of cancer in the US.

(National Health Services)

With 186,920 new cases of cancer in 2019 and 60,590 recorded deaths so far, this state is at the top of the list, followed by Florida, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Cancer Occurrence by Age

25. Cancer is the second leading cause of death for people over 85, following heart disease.


Adults over 85, with no previous cancer history, have higher chances of developing the most common types of cancer. The incidence is 16.4% for men and 12.8% for women.

According to US statistics, in January 2019, there were 1,944,280 living cancer patients over 85. This is the fastest-growing group of cancer patients. 

At this age, most men develop lung cancer, and most women, breast cancer. On the other hand, most men die from prostate cancer, and most women, lung cancer.

26. 300,000 children younger than 19 are diagnosed with malignancies every year.


According to the WHO’s childhood cancer facts, survival rates depend on a country’s living standards. Only 20% of the children in low-income countries are cured, whereas in high-income countries, 80% of the children are cured. 

Childhood cancer can’t be prevented or screened. The most common cancers among children are leukemias, lymphomas, and brain cancer.

27. The 5-year survival rate for childhood cancer is 80%.

(American Cancer Society)

Stunningly, in the 1970s, the cancer survival rate among children was only 58%. By virtue of modern medical diagnostics and technology, the treatment of childhood cancer has drastically improved.

According to contemporary pediatric cancer facts, the most difficult risks today aren’t the diseases, but the possible long-term consequences, such as the aftereffects of radiotherapy.

28. The most frequent childhood cancer is leukemia.

(Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology)

Childhood cancers are based on early-development cellular transformation, which in most cases is a primary disease that’s genetically determined. 

The prevalence rates differ in adults. Leukemia is the most frequent, followed by neuroblastoma and brain tumors, lymphomas, and bone cancer.

29. Leukemia is more prevalent in toddlers.

(American Cancer Society)

The recent childhood cancer facts state that leukemia onsets between the ages 2 and 5, and in 75% of the cases, it’s acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). 

In other cases, it’s acute myeloid leukemia (AML), juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), or chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

The five-year relative survival rate for ALL is 90%; for AML, it’s between 65% and 70%; for JMML, it’s about 50%; and for CML, it’s between 60% and 80%.

Breast Cancer Facts and Stats

30. About 1 in 38 women (2.6%) will die from breast cancer.

(American Cancer Society)

From 1989 to 2016, the incidence of breast cancer in women dropped by 40%. Breast cancer rates are steady in women under 50, but among the older population, they’re decreasing.

31. After diagnosis, the 5-year survival rate of localized breast cancer is 99%.

(American Cancer Society)

According to the statistics between 2008 and 2014, if the cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes, the five-year relative survival rate is 85%.

However, recent breast cancer statistics show that with metastatic cancer, there’s only a 27% survival rate.

32. It’s estimated that in 2019, the most malignancy-related deaths in young women will be caused by breast cancer.

(Division of Cancer Control)

2019 saw a shift in cancer death rates—previously, lung cancer was the deadliest. According to the data in the US, breast cancer death rates are on the rise.

It’s estimated that 41,760 women will die from invasive breast cancer in 2019. Some sources are estimating that 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed by the end of 2019, out of which 62,930 carcinomas are in situ.

This data shows that we need to continue raising breast cancer awareness in the years to come. 

Lung Cancer

33. There are 2 different types of lung cancer.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents approximately 85% of all cases of lung cancer, which includes the subtypes adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is common in 10%–15% of cases.

36. The latest lung cancer statistics call this disease the most deadly in 2019 when counting both women and men.

(Cancer Statistics Center) 

The estimated number of deaths in 2019 by lung and bronchial cancer in the US is 142,670, followed by colorectal cancer (51,020), pancreas (45,750), breast (42,260) and liver (31,780).

35. Lung cancer rates have increased 10 times within the last 80 years.


At the beginning of the 20th century, it was rarely prevalent, with an estimated incidence of 2.5 per population of 100,000. In 2003, it had reached 43 per 100,000 people.

34. Lung cancer facts affirm that more people die from lung cancer than they do from colon, breast, and prostate cancer together.


About 13% of all cancer cases are lung cancer. It’s estimated that 1 in 15 men and 1 in 17 women will have this disease.

It occurs mostly in older people. The average age for a lung cancer diagnosis is 70, and there are only a few cases of this disease in people younger than 45. 

Colon Cancer Stats

37. People who eat red or processed meat 4 or more times a week have a 20% chance of developing colorectal cancer.

(Harvard Review)

Alcohol consumption increases the overall colorectal cancer rates by quite a bit, as well. Half a pint of beer a day increases malignancy rates by 8%.

This cancer is most common in people over 50 years. The usual risks are a history of polyps in the colon, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and diabetes type 2. New colon cancer facts indicate that the African American population has the highest rates of this type of cancer.

38. The estimated risk of developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 22 for men, and 1 in 24 for women.

(Cancer Statistics Review)

The estimated cancer death rate for colorectal cancer in 2019 is more than 50,000 deaths. This is the third overall most common cancer worldwide.

The survival rate of localized rectal cancer is 91%, while for metastasized cancer, it’s 14%.

Skin Cancer 

39. There are five major types of this cancer.

(American Cancer Society)

  • Basal and Squamous Cell Cancer (non-melanoma) is the most frequent one, and it’s expressed on the parts of the body that are exposed to the sun. They are more prevalent in regions of the world with higher UV radiation. They’re common but treatable.
  • Melanoma is less frequent but is more likely to spread to other tissues. The melanoma survival rate is low due to its silent metastasis. 
  • There are two lymphatic skin cancers, that are transitioned through lymph nodes, but present a clear case on the skin: Kaposi sarcoma, and skin lymphoma.
  • Merkel cell carcinoma is almost impossible to treat; however, it’s also a highly rare skin cancer

40. The incidence of malignant melanoma increases in lower latitudes.


Malignant melanoma is more frequent among white populations. A large number of moles on the skin increases the likelihood of developing a melanoma. 

Due to the excess UV radiation from the Australian sun, it’s 10 times more likely for women and 20 more likely for men to develop melanoma there than in Europe, according to the skin cancer statistics


41. There are 2 main types of lymphoma.

(Medline Plus)

Lymphoma stands for the abnormal behavior and proliferation of lymph cells (lymphocytes). These abnormal cells can onset an autoimmune reaction that attacks different organ systems. Depending on the main cell type caught in this, there are two types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s.

42. There are more than 8,000 new cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosed in the US annually.


The CDC has cancer statistics characterizing this type as most prevalent in young people aged 20–39. In addition, it’s curable in 93% of the cases. The best therapy choices include chemotherapy combinations.

43. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma accounts for more than 20,000 deaths per year.


In 100,000 people, 21.9 men and 15.3 women develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The disease incidence grows with age, and most people are diagnosed after 65 years of age.

Other Cancers

44. The 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 99%.

(Cancer Incidence Data)

Prostate cancer facts assess the survival rates of treated prostate cancer to be 99%.

45. Prostate cancer is most prevalent in North America, Northwestern Europe, Australia, and the Carribean Islands.

(American Cancer Society)

This type of cancer has a direct relationship with age. The chances of having prostate cancer rapidly rise after the age of 50, and the majority of cases occur after 65 years of age. About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The five-year relative survival rate is 90%.

By the end of 2019, it’s estimated that there will be 31,620 deaths related to this disease.

46. Cervical cancer facts: 13,000 new cases will be diagnosed by the end of 2019.

(American Cancer Society)

This cancer is most often diagnosed in women aged 35–44 and is extremely rare in women under 20. 

Generally, the relative survival rates are 92% for localized cases. If the cancer has grown into the area surrounding the uterus, the survival rates are 56%. And metastasized cervical cancers only have a 17% five-year survival rate.

47. The 5-year relative survival for pancreatic cancer is only 8%.


Pancreatic cancer stats clearly show that this type of cancer has one of the lowest survival rates. 

According to the data from 2008 to 2014, the lowest survival rates are found in pancreatic (8%), lung and bronchus (18%), liver and intrahepatic (18%), esophagus (19%), and stomach cancer (31%).

48. 20% of ovarian cancers are inherited.

(American Cancer Society)

Ovarian cancer rates have decreased since the 1980s, with an accelerated decrease after the year 2000. Half of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are between the ages of 39 and 63. This age-related increment is connected to the use of hormonal pills and supplements in menopause, as well as excess body weight.

One of the most important ovarian cancer facts notes that a family history of this cancer significantly raises the chances of its development.

49. Testicular cancer mostly affects men between 15 and 49 years of age.


Although this type accounts for 1% of cancers in men, it’s the most common type of cancer affecting young men. The survival rates are 99%. About 1 in 250 men will develop testicular cancer.

50. Women are 3 times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men.

(American Thyroid Association)

In the US, about 65,000 new cases of this cancer occur annually. This is the most frequent cancer in young women, and the majority of the cases develop before the age of 45. The main treatment is surgery, followed by hormone therapy. According to most thyroid cancer facts, survival rates are near 100%. 

51. 33,482 cases of liver cancer were reported in the US in 2016—of which, 26,569 people died.

(Mayo Clinic)

From 1999 to 2016, there’s been an increase in liver cancers worldwide. It’s suspected that this is due to the drugs and chemicals that the human body processes in large quantities in the modern world.

Some of the main liver cancer causes are excessive alcohol consumption, exposure to toxins, and a history of hepatitis, cirrhosis, or diabetes.

52. Most bone cancers are a secondary cancer.


Bone cancer is mainly developed as a metastasis of other cancers. The overall survival rate of bone cancers in both adults and children is 70%.

53. Smoking and drinking massively increase the chances of developing oral cancer.


This type of malignancy starts in the mouth and is then spread to the head and lymph nodes. Oral cancer facts show that smoking and drinking combined increases the chances of oral cancer by 100 times. 

Cancer Treatment and Therapy

54. It’s estimated that 30%–50% of cancers could be prevented.


The main methods of prevention are the avoidance of tobacco, alcohol, and low-nutrient foods. Frequent screenings are among the best methods of prevention. Immunizations against certain cancer-related viruses are efficient, somewhat newer methods. For example, HPV vaccines are considered some of the main preventive methods for cervical cancer.

55. The latest cancer facts reveal that there are 8 therapy choices for cancer.


  • Chemotherapy – This method includes specially designed drugs that slow the growth of cancer cells and relieve symptoms of the disease. However, they can damage healthy organs and therefore cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions, headaches, and more.
  • Radiotherapy – Here, altered radiation waves target cancer cells. They shrink tumors by damaging their DNA. The risks include the damage of healthy tissue.
  • Stem Cell Transplant – Some stem cells help the body regenerate on its own by growing a healthy culture of cells. However, according to recent cancer cure news, stem cells can also directly attack cancer cells, like in multiple myeloma and leukemia. 
  • Surgery – This is the optimal option when cancer is localized and encapsulated. It’s also used to debulk a tumor, decreasing the tumor’s size and thus relieving symptoms. 
  • Immunotherapy – Antibodies and immune system components are given intravenously.
  • Targeted Therapy – Specific molecules and cells target abnormally modified cancer cells or activate the immune system.
  • Hormone Therapy – Hormonal drugs can be used against cancers that require hormones to grow.
  • Precision Medicine – This is a novelty approach that uses specialized medicine created to fight specific kinds of tumor cells.

56. Cannabis use shows promise as a cancer-treatment aid.


Taking CBD oil during chemotherapy has proven helpful in terms of pain relief, and in augmenting a patient’s appetite. CBD extracts are purer than cannabis and therefore more potent.

57. The very latest research in cancer treatment focuses on small molecules.


The Nobel Prize in 2018 was given to researchers studying how the immune system interacts with cancer. Cancer actually shuts down certain parts of the immune system, leaving the body defenseless, according to these new cancer facts

Researchers from all over the world are creating small molecules that can alter immune reactions. The main idea is to use the human immune system as its own cancer scavenger.


What is a 5-year relative survival rate?

This is the term used to describe the percentage of cancer patients who are still alive five years after a cancer diagnosis.

Does marijuana cure cancer?

Cannabis has been proven a useful aid during chemotherapy. However, most of the studies that relate cannabis to curing or preventing cancer are inconclusive. In one study, there has been a specific association between the use of cannabis and the prevention of bladder cancer. However, there is still data needed in this area.

How does cancer kill you

Cancer tends to spread uncontrollably, at the expense of healthy tissues. Sometimes, tumors can grow and create pressure on an organ, causing the said organ to stop functioning. Other times, cancer can pollute organs with toxic material and create dysfunction. 

The bottom line is that every cancer type has its own way of invading the body and leading it to dysfunction.


The emergence of new technologies and advancements in medicine are showing promise in the global battle against cancer. Cancer statistics clearly prove that this disease is in many cases treatable, preventable, or even controllable.

Both nature and technology are part of the fight for better cancer management. There’s hope that, in years to come, these stats will turn, clearly favoring better survival rates.

Specialty drugs are changing the game of cancer treatment. As you know, “cancer doesn’t choose”—but with these specialty drugs, we have more choices than ever before.


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