U.S. Cancer Statistics: Highlights from 2016 Incidence

U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Briefs, No. 8
June 2019

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) produce updated U.S. Cancer Statistics data. These data are the official federal cancer statistics for the United States. The U.S. Cancer Statistics provides cancer information on the entire US population. Information about new cancer cases (incidence) comes from CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. The latest data release includes cancers diagnosed through 2016.

  • In 2016, a total of 1,658,716 new cancer cases were reported in the United States: 833,308 among males and 825,408 among females.
  • The overall incidence rate was 436 per 100,000 people. The overall rate was 471 per 100,000 among males and 413 per 100,000 among females.
  • By cancer sites, the highest incidence rates among males were prostate, lung and bronchus, and colon and rectum. Among females, the three leading sites—breast, lung and bronchus, and colon and rectum—accounted for half of cancers diagnosed among females in 2016 (Table 1).
Table 1. Number, rate,a and percentage,b of invasive cancerc incidence by sex and leading sites—United States, 2016
Site Number Rate Percentage
Males
Prostate 192,443 101.4 23.1
Lung and Bronchus 113,044 64.3 13.6
Colon and Rectum 73,829 42.5 8.9
Urinary Bladder 55,780 33.0 6.7
Melanomas of the Skin 48,762 28.4 5.9
Kidney and Renal Pelvis 40,455 22.8 4.9
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 37,334 21.9 4.5
Oral Cavity and Pharynx 32,611 17.8 3.9
Leukemias 28,231 16.8 3.4
Pancreas 25,385 14.5 3.0
Females
Breast 245,299 124.2 29.7
Lung and Bronchus 105,185 49.6 12.7
Colon and Rectum 67,441 33.2 8.2
Corpus and Uterus, NOSd 56,808 27.3 6.9
Thyroid 35,441 20.6 4.3
Melanomas of the Skin 33,714 17.7 4.1
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 31,069 15.3 3.8
Kidney and Renal Pelvis 23,184 11.6 2.8
Pancreas 23,708 11.2 2.9
Ovary 20,418 10.3 2.5

Source: High-quality data from cancer registries funded by NPCR and SEER, covering 100% of the US population.

aRates are age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population (19 age groups – Census P25–1130external icon).

bPercentage based on all invasive cancers by sex (total invasive cancers for males or females).

cExcludes basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin except when these occur on the skin of the genital organs and in situ cancers except urinary bladder.

dNOS – not otherwise specified.

Some risk factors increase the risk of cancer at multiple cancer sites. For example, strong evidence suggests that physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, endometrium cancer, and colon cancer. Because cancer registries do not routinely collect information about risk factors, cancer types associated with alcohol use, human papillomavirus infection (HPV), obesity, physical inactivity, and tobacco use were analyzed (Figure 1).

For females, obesity-associated cancers were the highest of the five risk factor-associated cancer groups among all racial groups and Hispanics. For males, tobacco- and obesity-associated cancers were the leading groups among the five risk factor-associated cancers among all races and Hispanics (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Invasive cancera incidence ratesb for five risk factor-associated cancer groups,c by racial and ethnic groupsd and by sex—United States, 2016

A. Males

B. Females

Source: High-quality data from cancer registries funded by NPCR and SEER, covering 100% of the US population.

aExcludes basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin except when these occur on the skin of the genital organs and in situ cancers except urinary bladder.

bRates are age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population (19 age groups – Census P25–1130external icon).

cAlcohol-associated cancers include oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, larynx, and female breast. HPV-associated cancers include microscopically confirmed carcinoma of the cervix and squamous cell carcinomas of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, rectum, and oropharynx. Obesity-associated cancers include adenocarcinoma of the esophagus; cancers of the breast (in postmenopausal women), colon and rectum, endometrium (corpus uterus), gallbladder, gastric cardia, kidney (renal cell), liver, ovary, pancreas, and thyroid; meningioma, and multiple myeloma. Physical inactivity-associated cancers include breast cancer in postmenopausal women, endometrium (corpus uterus) cancer, and colon cancer. Tobacco-associated cancers include oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus; stomach; colon and rectum; liver; pancreas; larynx; lung, bronchus, and trachea; cervix; kidney and renal pelvis; urinary bladder; and acute myeloid leukemia.

dRace categories are not mutually exclusive from Hispanic origin.

The overall cancer incidence rate among American Indians and Alaska Natives living in Indian Health Service (IHS) Purchased/Referred Care Delivery Areas (PRCDA) counties was similar to rates among non-Hispanic whites living in PRCDA counties in the United States. Variations were seen in the Alaska, East, Northern Plains, Southern Plains, and Southwest IHS regions (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Invasive cancera incidence ratesb by Indian Health Service Region, all cancer sites combined—United States, 2012–2016

aExcludes basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin except when these occur on the skin of the genital organs and in situ cancers except urinary bladder.

bRates are age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population (19 age groups – Census P25–1130external icon). American Indian/Alaska Native data are restricted to non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives living in IHS Purchase/Referred Care Delivery Area (PRCDA) counties. Non-Hispanic whites living in PRCDA counties are presented for comparison.

Delve into U.S. Cancer Statistics Further

The Data Visualizations tool makes it easy for anyone to explore and use the latest cancer data.

You can use this tool to create interactive graphics examining—

  • New cancer cases.
  • Cancer deaths by—
    • State, county, and Congressional district.
    • Sex, age, race, and ethnicity.

Researchers can analyze incidence data from the entire United States with the Public Use Database, available through SEER*Stat software.

Suggested Citation

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. United States Cancer Statistics: Highlights from 2016 Incidence. USCS Data Brief, no. 8. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2019.