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USCS 2002 Incidence and Mortality
Facts and Major Findings

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Facts

  • The U.S. Cancer Statistics: 2002 Incidence and Mortality report marks the fourth time that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program have combined their cancer incidence data sources to produce a new set of official federal statistics on cancer incidence (newly diagnosed cases) for a single year for each registry that met data quality criteria. Mortality statistics from CDC’s National Vital Statistics System have also been included on cancer deaths for a single year and each state. The report has been produced in collaboration with the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).


  • The U.S. Cancer Statistics: 2002 Incidence and Mortality report provides state-specific and regional data for cancer cases diagnosed and for cancer deaths that occurred in 2002, the most recent year for which incidence data are available.


  • This year's publication includes cancer incidence data obtained from registries covering 93% of the U.S. population. Mortality data from all states and the District of Columbia were also included and cover 100% of the U.S. population. National and state data for American Indians/Alaska Natives were added to the race categories this year. Also, a special section containing expanded data on malignant brain tumors was included this year.

Major Findings

This report indicates the following major findings for invasive cancer incidence and cancer mortality in the United States for 2002. Rates are presented in parentheses where appropriate and are per 100,000 persons.

Cancer Among Men*

Three most common cancers among men of all racial and Hispanic origin populations:

  • Prostate cancer (161.2)
  • Lung cancer (86.4)
  • Colorectal cancer (61.3)

Three leading causes of cancer death among men:

  • Lung cancer (73.5)
    • First among men of all racial and Hispanic origin populations.

  • Prostate cancer
    • Second among white (25.8), black (63.0), and Hispanic (22.0) men.
    • Third among American Indian/Alaska Native (15.7) men.

  • Colorectal cancer
    • Second among American Indian/Alaska Native men (16.1).
    • Third among white (23.2), black (33.4), Asian/Pacific Islander (15.9)†, and Hispanic (17.1) men.

  • Liver cancer
    • Second among Asian/Pacific Islander men (15.9).†

Cancer Among Women*

Three most common cancers among women:

  • Breast cancer (124.9)
    • First among women of all racial and Hispanic origin populations.

  • Lung cancer
    • Second among white (54.9) and American Indian/Alaska Native (32.9) women.
    • Third among black (50.3), Asian/Pacific Islander (26.7), and Hispanic (25.2) women.

  • Colorectal cancer
    • Second among black (51.8), Asian/Pacific Islander (34.3), and Hispanic (34.9) women.
    • Third among white (43.9) and American Indian/Alaska Native women (26.8).

Three leading causes of cancer death among women:

  • Lung cancer
    • First among white (42.6), black (40.2), Asian/Pacific Islander (17.6), and American Indian/Alaska Native (27.5) women.
    • Second among Hispanic women (14.8).

  • Breast cancer
    • First among Hispanic women (15.7).
    • Second among white (24.9), black (34.1), Asian/Pacific Islander (12.9), and American Indian/Alaska Native (13.9) women.

  • Colorectal cancer
    • Third among women of all racial and Hispanic origin populations (16.5).

Cancer Among Children‡

The most common cancers in children aged 0–19 years:

  • Leukemia (4.1)
    • Highest incidence rate of leukemia is found among children aged 1–4 years.

  • Brain and central nervous system cancer (2.9)
    • Highest incidence rate of brain cancer is found among children aged 1–4 years.

Leading causes of cancer death in children:

  • Leukemia (0.8)
    • First among children aged less than 1 and aged 10–19 years.

  • Brain and central nervous system cancer (0.7)
    • First among children aged 5–9 years.

Racial or Ethnic Variations§

All cancers combined, men:

  • Incidence rates are highest among blacks (615.1), followed by whites (536.8), Hispanics (422.8), Asians/Pacific Islanders (324.3), and American Indians/Alaska Natives (267.2).


  • Death rates are highest among blacks (322.9), followed by whites (236.0), Hispanics (163.9), American Indians/Alaska Natives (145.3), and Asians/Pacific Islanders (138.8).

All cancers combined, women:

  • Incidence rates are highest among whites (408.9), followed by blacks (377.5), Hispanics (310.4), Asians/Pacific Islanders (264.5), and American Indians/Alaska Natives (215.4).


  • Death rates are highest among blacks (190.9), followed by whites (161.9), American Indians/Alaska Natives (114.5), Hispanics (107.4), and Asians/Pacific Islanders (96.6).

Among the five races and ethnicities presented:

  • American Indian/Alaska Native men have the lowest cancer incidence rates; however, Asian/Pacific Islander men have the lowest cancer death rates.


  • White women have the highest cancer incidence rates; however, black women have the highest cancer death rates.


  • American Indian/Alaska Native women have the lowest cancer incidence rates and the third highest cancer death rates.

Geographic Variations||

Breast cancer:

  • The incidence rate for the United States is 124.9; state incidence rates range from 109.0 to 147.8; approximately 53% of states have incidence rates at or above the national rate.


  • The death rate for the United States is 25.5; state death rates range from 16.2 to 34.3; approximately 47% of states have death rates at or above the national rate.

Prostate cancer:

  • The incidence rate for the United States is 161.2; state incidence rates range from 106.1 to 217.1; approximately 58% of states have incidence rates at or above the national rate.


  • The death rate for the United States is 28.1; state death rates range from 17.6 to 51.8; approximately 59% of states have death rates at or above the national rate.

Lung cancer:

  • Men
    • The incidence rate for the United States is 86.4; state incidence rates range from 38.1 to 133.8; approximately 47% of states have incidence rates at or above the national rate.


    • The death rate for the United States is 73.5; state death rates range from 32.2 to 112.6; approximately 47% of states have death rates at or above the national rate.

  • Women
    • The incidence rate for the United States is 53.7; state incidence rates range from 20.9 to 73.0; approximately 49% of states have incidence rates at or above the national rate.


    • The death rate for the United States is 41.5; state death rates range from 18.7 to 57.5; approximately 47% of states have death rates at or above the national rate.

Colorectal cancer:

  • Men
    • The incidence rate for the United States is 61.3; state incidence rates range from 43.7 to 75.1; approximately 56% of states have incidence rates at or above the national rate.


    • The death rate for the United States is 23.8; state death rates range from 16.6 to 30.5; approximately 53% of states have death rates at or above the national rate.

  • Women
    • The incidence rate for the United States is 44.9; state incidence rates range from 32.2 to 55.0; approximately 47% of states have incidence rates at or above the national rate.


    • The death rate for the United States is 16.5; state death rates range from 12.9 to 21.5; approximately 53% of states have death rates at or above the national rate.

*All races combined rate is presented when ranking of cancer sites did not differ across race and ethnicity; race- or ethnic-specific rates are presented when ranking differed depending on race and ethnicity.

†Colorectal cancer death rate for Asian/Pacific Islander men is 15.85; liver cancer death rate for Asian/Pacific Islander men is 15.86.

‡Rates presented are for males and females combined, all races combined, and children aged 0–19 years.

§Race- or ethnic-specific rates are presented for all cancer sites combined.

||Geographic variations are presented for the four most common cancers.

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Date last reviewed: 03/19/2012
Content source: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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