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Cancer in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Cancer is currently the second leading cause of death in the United States, making it one of the country’s biggest health issues. In 2020, cancer accounted for around 18 percent of all deaths in the U.S. while heart disease, the number one killer in the United States, was responsible for 21 percent of deaths. From birth to death a male born in the United States has a 40 percent chance of developing invasive cancer, while females are just slightly less likely to develop cancer in their lifetime with a probability of 38.5 percent. It is estimated that in the U.S. in 2022 there will be around 1.9 million new cases of cancer and over 609 thousand cancer-related deaths.

Who is most likely to get cancer?

In the United States, men are more likely to develop cancer than women, but differences in rates depend on the type of cancer. Although rates of such cancers as colon and rectum cancer and lung and bronchus cancer are higher among men than women, rates of breast cancer are higher than any other type of cancer. Breast cancer is therefore the most common form of cancer among women, while prostate cancer is the most common type among men. Considering ethnicity, non-Hispanic blacks have the highest incidence rates of cancer among men, while non-Hispanic white women have the highest rates among women. The states with the highest cancer incidence rates are Kentucky, New Jersey, and New York, while the lowest rates are found in New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

The deadliest types of cancer

Although cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, deaths rates due to cancer have been decreasing steadily since the early 1990s. Despite prostate cancer and breast cancer being the most common forms of cancer among men and women, respectively, the deadliest type of cancer for both men and women is lung and bronchus cancer. In 2022, lung cancer was expected to cause around 68,820 deaths among men and another 61,360 deaths among women. It is estimated that a person diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer has just a 22 percent chance of surviving the next five years following their diagnosis. In comparison, men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a 98 percent chance of surviving the next five years, while 90 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive five years after their diagnosis. The cancer type with the lowest five-year relative survival rate is pancreas cancer, with only 11 percent of diagnosed patients expected to survive the five years after diagnosis.

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