Every year the American Society publishes the latest cancer data. Its two reports are linked below. The abstract summarising the data is below. I have not corrected the few stylistic and grammatical errors contained in it. Below the abstract are some of the report’s key findings.

Each year, the American Cancer Society estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths in the United States and compiles the most recent data on population-based cancer occurrence and outcomes using incidence data collected by central cancer registries (through 2020) and mortality data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics (through 2021). In 2024, 2,001,140 new cancer cases and 611,720 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States. Cancer mortality continued to decline through 2021, averting over 4 million deaths since 1991 because of reductions in smoking, earlier detection for some cancers, and improved treatment options in both the adjuvant and metastatic settings. However, these gains are threatened by increasing incidence for 6 of the top 10 cancers. Incidence rates increased during 2015–2019 by 0.6%–1% annually for breast, pancreas, and uterine corpus cancers and by 2%–3% annually for prostate, liver (female), kidney, and human papillomavirus-associated oral cancers and for melanoma. Incidence rates also increased by 1%–2% annually for cervical (ages 30–44 years) and colorectal cancers (ages <55 years) in young adults. Colorectal cancer was the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in both men and women younger than 50 years in the late-1990s but is now first in men and second in women. Progress is also hampered by wide persistent cancer disparities; compared to White people, mortality rates are two-fold higher for prostate, stomach and uterine corpus cancers in Black people and for liver, stomach, and kidney cancers in Native American people. Continued national progress will require increased investment in cancer prevention and access to equitable treatment, especially among American Indian and Alaska Native and Black individuals.

Below are some of the report’s key findings. The first figure presents the estimated incidence of cancer by site in men and women. Declining rates of lung cancer due to smoking cessation have moved lung cancer to the second spot in both men and women. Both prostate and breast cancers have relatively mild forms of the disease leading to overdiagnosis secondary to widespread screening techniques. Clicking on all the figures will allow them to be viewed at a greater magnification.

The next figure shows cancer incidence from 1975 to 2020. The decline is in large part due to decreased smoking.

The next two graphs show the incidence data by sex and organ. First in males and then in females. The decline in the incidence of prostate cancer is likely secondary to the decrease in routine PSA testing

Five-year survival rates by organ are shown in the next figure. These data are almost impossible to interpret as they are contaminated by detection bias. If a disease will kill a patient in 10 years irrespective of treatment and it’s diagnosed after one year survival is nine years. If diagnosed after nine years survival is one year. Thus, better diagnostic tools increase survival even if not accompanied by effective treatment. The best example of this selection bias is the rise in five survival in prostate cancer from 68 to 97%. A similar rise in survival rate in breast cancer is due to the diagnosis of non-lethal forms of the disease secondary to widespread mammography.

A more meaningful observation is the age-adjusted mortality rates for both men and women over the last 45 years. The marked decline in male mortality is mainly due to smoking cessation. Nevertheless, there likely is a component of the decline in both men and women that is due to better treatment.

Next are the death rates by organ in both men and women. As has been noted before stomach cancer mortality which was number one in 1930 is now almost invisible. The reason for this decline is still mysterious as the disease responds poorly to treatment. It just doesn’t arise today.

The complete reports linked below contain much more data than I have summarized. You can peruse them at your leisure.

Cancer Statistics 2024
Cancer Facts & Figures 2024