U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool

Screenshot of a map of the United States on the U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool.

Map of the United States as seen in the U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool showing rates of new cancers.

The U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool displays the official federal statistics on cancer incidence (newly diagnosed cases) from each registry that met data quality criteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI)External have combined their cancer incidence data sources to produce these statistics. Mortality data are from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) National Vital Statistics System (NVSS).

This tool provides incidence and death counts, rates and trend data, survival and prevalence estimates, state- and county- specific data in a user-driven format. Users can display the output in tables, graphic files, and shareable formats designed for e-mail and social media sites. The data presented include cancer cases diagnosed and cancer deaths that occurred from 1999 to 2015, for the most recent 5-years combined (2011 to 2015), and for 2015 alone, which is the most recent year that incidence data are available.

What data does the U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool contain?

It includes incidence data on more than 1 million cases of invasive cancer (including approximately 15,000 cases among children younger than 20 years) diagnosed in each of the individual years. The population coverage varies by diagnosis year. Population coverage may be affected by the suppression of state incidence data if 16 or fewer cases were reported or if the state requested that the data be suppressed. For the most recent release, data from 100% of the U.S. population are displayed.

The tool also includes mortality data from malignant cancers as recorded in the National Vital Statistics System from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Mortality data are available for 100% of the U.S. population.

Cancer incidence and mortality trend data is presented from 1999 through 2015, and includes 98% the U.S. population. The tool also prevents survival and prevalence estimates, which are based on data from 81% of the U.S. population.

What are the sources of the data?

Information on newly diagnosed cancer cases is based on data collected by registries in CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.External Together, the two federal programs collect cancer incidence data for the entire U.S. population. These data can be used to monitor cancer trends over time, determine cancer patterns in various populations, guide planning and evaluation of cancer control programs, help set priorities for allocating health resources, and provide information for a national database of cancer incidence. Information on cancer deaths is collected by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) National Vital Statistics System (NVSS).

Cancer incidence and death rates are presented by race and ethnicity. What cautions should be used in interpreting differences by race and ethnicity?

Differences in rates among racial and ethnicity (Hispanic origin) populations should be interpreted with caution. A studyExternal using SEER data suggests that the quality of race data in cancer registries is considered excellent for whites, blacks, and Asians/Pacific Islanders, substantial for Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaska Natives have been shown to be considerably underreported. A studyExternal involving cancer mortality data show that death rates for whites and blacks are generally reliable, whereas death rates for Asians/Pacific Islanders, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Hispanics are underestimated. Therefore, incidence and/or mortality data published in this report may be underestimated for Asians/Pacific Islanders, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Hispanics, possibly due to racial and Hispanic origin misclassification. NCHS is working with states to improve the reporting of race and ethnicity on death certificates.

Grouping racial or Hispanic origin subpopulations into one racial or Hispanic origin population can mask differences in subpopulations. Asians/Pacific Islanders, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Hispanics are not homogeneous groups. The subpopulations are grouped into single populations because of small numbers or concerns regarding the possible misclassification of race and Hispanic origin among the subpopulations. Cancer rates by more detailed categories of race have been published in scientific journals.

Estimated cancer incidence and death counts and rates are presented by congressional districts. What cautions should be used in interpreting these estimates?

The cancer incidence and death counts and rates presented in the Congressional Districts tab are estimates. These estimates were derived based on county-level data because geographical-level data are not available to calculate congressional district counts and rates directly.

Since the congressional district estimates were calculated using county-level data, if any county-level data are missing, then the overall state counts presented in the Congressional Districts tab will not match the counts in the U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool’s Overview and State/County tabs. Instead, the counts in the Congressional District tab will match the state counts calculated by aggregating across the county-level case counts.

In addition, these estimated rates and counts are point estimates provided to describe cancer burden in selected congressional districts, and are not meant for comparisons across congressional districts.

What are the federal programs doing to improve state and national surveillance for cancer incidence?

Both NPCR and SEER provide training and technical assistance to cancer registries. Examples of this assistance include—

  • Providing on-site technical assistance to registry personnel to help ensure data completeness, timeliness, and quality. For example, software has been developed to facilitate data transmission and improve the quality of data that hospitals transmit electronically to cancer registries.
  • Coordinating and convening meetings of registry personnel for information sharing, problem solving, and training.
  • Helping states and national organizations use cancer data to describe regional, state, and national disease burdens; to evaluate cancer control activities; and to identify populations or geographic regions at high risk for certain cancers.
  • Collaborating with academic, federal, state, and private organizations to design and conduct research using data collected through population-based state and regional registries and to report the findings.
  • Promoting specialty training in epidemiology, biostatistics, surveillance research, and tumor registry methods, operations, and management.
  • Developing new statistical methods, models, and software for the analysis and presentation of national, state, and small-area cancer statistics.

Suggested Citation

U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool, based on November 2017 submission data (1999–2015): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Cancer Institute; www.cdc.gov/cancer/dataviz, June 2018.

Download Data Tables

Download pre-analyzed data tables from the Data Visualizations tool or the U.S. Cancer Statistics Web-based Report in delimited ASCII format.

Archive

U.S. Cancer Statistics data are updated each year. Cancer registries submit data for the new diagnosis year and also update previously submitted data. Federal agencies in turn update their cancer incidence statistics with each data submission. Users of cancer incidence data should be mindful of the data submission date for all data used in their comparisons. Download archived reports and related technical notes for the Data Visualizations Tool or the U.S. Cancer Statistics Web-based Report.