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Fast Facts About Cancer

Fast Facts About Cancer

  • Nearly 14.5 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive on January 1, 2014.
  • It is estimated that about 1.46 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2015.
  • Approximately 589,430 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2015 – about 1,600 people a day.
  • In 2015, almost 171,000 of the estimated 589,430 cancer deaths in the U.S. will be caused by tobacco smoking.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death among all Americans, exceeded only by heart disease.
  • In the U.S., one out of every four deaths is attributed to cancer.
  • Over the course of a lifetime, one in three women and one in two men will develop cancer.
  • About 78 percent of all cancers are diagnosed in patients aged 55 or older.
  • The leading cancer for men of all races is prostate cancer, following by lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
  • Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women, regardless of race.
  • Among white women, lung cancer is the second most common cancer followed by colorectal cancer.
  • For black and Asian/Pacific Islander women, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer and lung cancer is third.
  • More than one million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed this year.
  • Among children aged 14 and younger, the most common cancers are leukemias.
  • Overall, cancer rates are higher for whites and blacks than for Asians/Pacific Islanders.
  • Approximately 5 percent of cancers are hereditary.
  • The five-year relative survival rate for all cancers is 86 percent. That means that 14 percent of all patients diagnosed with cancer survive less than five years.
  • Survival rates have risen to 68 percent in 2004-2010, up from 49 percent in 1975-1977.
  • In 2008, the overall cost of cancer was an estimated $228.1 billion, including $93.2 billion in direct medical costs.
  • Fewer than 5 percent of adults diagnosed with cancer will participate in a clinical trial.
  • Lung, breast, prostate and colon cancers have the highest number of clinical trials devoted to them – more than 40 percent of all clinical trials.
  • About 11.1 million Americans are cancer survivors.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health
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