Some Cancer Stats

Cancer is common. It’s the second-most common cause of death in the US and worldwide. A diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence however. Many people recover and live a long time. Cancer is not one disease; it’s a bunch of diseases, and the survival rates vary widely across cancer types.

About 1.7 million cases of cancer are diagnosed in the US every year, and 18 million worldwide. Over 600,000 people die from cancer in the US (over 1 out of 5 deaths) and 9.6 million worldwide (1 out of 6 deaths). Cancer is the leading cause of death for Americans under age 65.

The most common type of cancer is breast cancer or skin cancer, depending on how you classify things – Some epidemiologists separate melanoma from squamous cell skin cancer. Prostate cancer is also common, but breast and prostate cancers have high survival rates. The US government estimates 18 million cancer survivors live in the country today.

The cancer that causes the highest number of deaths is lung cancer. By a wide margin. An estimated 142,000 people die from lung cancer in the United States every year. That’s more than die from colorectal cancer (51K ), pancreatic cancer (46K) and breast cancer (42K) combined. Worldwide, lung cancer is also the leading cause of cancer mortality, with liver cancer second.

The federal government projects

US Deaths in 2020

seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/common.html(opens in a new tab)

Lung cancer – 135,720

Colorectal cancer – 53,200

Pancreatic cancer – 47,050

Breast cancer – 42,690

One interesting statistic is the 5-year survival rate which differs considerably among types of cancer. In the US, two thirds of patients are still alive 5 years after diagnosis.

Rates of Chemotherapy for Different Cancer Types – A Selection

The American Cancer Society’s report on Cancer Treatment and Survivorship, 2019 to 2021 gives estimates of the percentage of cancer patients who receive some sort of chemotherapy for selected cancer types.

Breast cancer

Stage 2 – 17% of patients receive chemotherapy

Stage 3 – 62%

Stage 4 – 66%

Non small cell lung cancer

Stage 2 – 18%

Stage 3 – 67%

Stage 4 – 53%

Testicular cancer

Stage 1 – 17%

Stage 2 – 65%

Stage 3 – 86%

Urinary bladder cancer

Stage 0 – 33%

Stage 1 – 50%

Stage 2 – 55%

Stage 3 – 61%

Stage 4 – 60%

Uterine cancer

Stage 1 – 11%

Stage 2 – 31%

Stage 3 – 75%

Stage 4 – 73%