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Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention
Division of Cancer
Prevention and Control
4770 Buford Hwy NE
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Atlanta, GA 30341

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United States Cancer Statistics (USCS)

Technical Notes

The Impact of Cancer
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death among Americans. One of every four deaths in the United States is due to cancer.1 2 The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, about 1,665,540 Americans were diagnosed with invasive cancer, and 585,720 Americans died of this disease.1 These estimates do not include in situ cancers or the more than 1 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers expected to be diagnosed this year. The National Cancer Institute recently estimated that on January 1, 2011, 13.4 million Americans were alive with a history of invasive cancer.3

The National Institutes of Health estimated that for 2009, the overall annual cost of cancer was about $216.6 billion,4 broken down as follows:

  • Direct medical costs,* including health expenditures: $86.6 billion.
  • Indirect costs associated with lost productivity due to premature death: $130.0 billion.

These costs likely increased because of the growth and aging of the U.S. population.

*The estimates of direct costs are obtained from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Web site.

Cancer Prevention
Several effective primary and secondary prevention measures could reduce the number of new cancer cases substantially and prevent many cancer-related deaths. To reduce the nation's cancer burden, we must reduce behavioral and environmental factors that increase cancer risk and ensure that high-quality screening services and evidence-based treatments are available and accessible to everyone, including medically underserved populations.5 6

How Cancer Data Are Collected
Cancer registries collect population-based data about the occurrence of cancer (incidence), the types of cancer (morphology), the site in the body where the cancer first occurred (primary site), the extent of disease at the time of diagnosis (stage), the planned first course of treatment, and the outcome of treatment and clinical management (survival and vital status).7 8 Cancer incidence data are reported to metropolitan area, regional, and statewide cancer registries from a variety of medical facilities, including hospitals, physicians' offices, radiation facilities, freestanding surgical centers, and pathology laboratories. Death data, including deaths due to cancer, are recorded on death certificates that are sent to state vital statistics offices. Death data include information regarding primary cancer site, and may also include morphology according to ICD-10.

Uses of Cancer Data
Information derived from population-based central cancer registries and from state vital statistics systems is critical for directing effective geographic area or population-specific cancer prevention and control programs that focus on preventing behaviors that put people at increased risk for cancer (such as smoking), and on reducing environmental risk factors (such as occupational exposure to known carcinogens). This information also is essential for deciding which geographic areas should have cancer screening programs, and for making long-term plans for adequate diagnostic and treatment services. Pooled data at the national, regional, and state levels help federal and state public health officials establish, prioritize, and monitor national initiatives in public health surveillance and track progress toward the national goals and objectives set forth in Healthy People.

Additional resource: Archive of the Annual Reports to the Nation

References

1American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2014. [PDF-1.8MB]* Atlanta (GA): American Cancer Society; 2014.

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Burden of Chronic Diseases and Their Risk Factors: National and State Perspectives 2004. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2005.

3Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Garshell J, Miller D, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z,Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2011, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2011/, based on November 2013 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER Web site, April 2014.

4National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. NHLBI Fact Book, Fiscal Year 2012. Bethesda (MD): National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2013.

5Curry SJ, Byers T, Hewitt M. Fulfilling the Potential of Cancer Prevention and Control. Washington (DC): The National Academies Press; 2003.

6Haynes MA, Smedley BD. The Unequal Burden of Cancer: An Assessment of NIH Research and Programs for Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved. Washington (DC): The National Academies Press; 1999.

7American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Standards of the Commission on Cancer Vol II: Registry Operations and Data Standards (ROADS). Chicago (IL): American College of Surgeons; 1998.

8Fritz A, Ries LAG. The SEER Program Code Manual, third edition. Bethesda (MD): National Cancer Institute; 1998.

*Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.

Page last reviewed: September 2, 2014
Page last updated: September 2, 2014
Content source: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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