Good news update on Cancer and treatments

June 3rd, was the 37th National Cancer Survivors Day, a day to honor the strength and resilience of cancer survivors nationwide. Data shows there were 18.1 million cancer survivors in the United States as of January 2022. USAFacts has a trove of data on the demographics of people diagnosed with cancer, survival rates, and more.

  • From 2000 to 2019, the cancer incidence rate decreased by 5.4%, while the mortality rate dropped by 26.7%.

  • In 2023, breast, prostate, and lung cancers comprised more of the 1.96 million new cases nationwide than other cancer types. Lung, colon, and pancreatic cancers were responsible for the biggest shares of the more than 600,000 cancer deaths. (New pancreatic cancer cases are included in the “other” category.)
  • While cases and deaths have increased as the population has grown, the data shows some good news: cancer deaths rose by 8.4% from 2000 to 2019, less than the 36.5% rise in new cases over the same period. This indicates that improved screenings and treatments can help patients survive.
  • Non-Hispanic Black Americans had the highest cancer mortality rate, at 164.3 per 100,000 people. Native Americans/Alaska Natives had a similar rate: 162.8 per 100,000. Non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander Americans had the lowest mortality rate at 92.4 cases per 100,000.
  • Early cancer screenings can help lower mortality rates over time. That’s the case for prostate cancer, the mortality rate for which dropped from 30.4 deaths per 100,000 people in 2000 to 18.4 in 2019.

Learn more about the five-year survival rates for dozens of cancers. For even deeper dives, see the data on colon cancer and breast cancer.

What are the most common cancer types?

Breast, prostate, and lung cancers were the most common new cases among the 1.96 million new cancer cases nationwide in 2023. Lung cancer, colon cancer, and pancreatic cancer were responsible for the greatest shares of the more than 600,000 cancer deaths.

Which states have the highest cancer rates?

Cancer rates differ by state, telling another aspect of this story. Several Southern states have high cancer mortality rates despite lower case rates. Demographic factors, behavioral patterns, and healthcare access also play a role. Here’s how the states compare.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US cancer rate was 450.8 per 100,000 people in 2019.
  • Kentucky’s age-adjusted cancer incidence rate was 516.6 per 100,000 people — the highest in the nation. Iowa followed with 501.8 per 100,000, then Louisiana at 498.8. Nevada had the lowest rate (351.5), followed by Arizona (379.5) and New Mexico (381.0).
  • Mississippi had the highest cancer mortality rate: 178.8 deaths per 100,000, over 20% above the national average of 146.0. Puerto Rico had the lowest rate, at 104.0 per 100,000.


For more cancer charts and data, click this link. 

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