Data Visualizations Tool Technical Notes
These pages provide the technical documentation to accompany the Data Visualizations Tool 2022 submission data (1999–2020). A complete version is also available in the Data Visualizations Technical Notes document. [PDF-983KB] Please see the archive for previous years.
The Impact of Cancer
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States.1 The 2023 release of United States Cancer Statistics data indicates that, in 2020 (the most recent year of incidence* data available), 1,603,844 people living in the United States received a new diagnosis of invasive cancer† and 602,347 people living in the United States died from this disease.2 These counts do not include in situ cancers, benign and borderline brain and central nervous system tumors, and basal and squamous cell skin cancers. As of January 1, 2020, an estimated 13 million people living in the United States were alive with a history of invasive cancer diagnosed in the past 19 years.2
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Medical Expenditure Panel Survey estimates that for 2020, the direct medical costs for cancer, including all health care expenditures, were $172 billion.3
*2020 is the most recent year for which incidence data are available. These data include cancer cases during 1999 through 2020. Cancer mortality data for 2021 are available and can be accessed at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) National Vital Statistics System (NVSS).
†Data are from selected central cancer registries, covering 97% of the U.S. population for 2020 diagnoses and 99.7% for cases diagnosed between 1999 and 2020, that meet the data quality criteria for all invasive cancer sites combined. See registry-specific data quality information.
Several primary and secondary prevention measures could substantially reduce the number of new cancer cases and prevent many cancer-related deaths. To reduce the nation’s cancer burden, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) aims to understand and monitor behavioral and environmental factors that may increase cancer risk. CDC also helps make high-quality screening services and evidence-based treatments available and accessible to everyone, including medically underserved populations.4,5 CDC has supported all 50 states, the District of Columbia, tribes and tribal organizations, U.S. Pacific Island Jurisdictions, and Puerto Rico in developing comprehensive cancer control plans, which include proven strategies and planned actions to prevent cancer in their geographic regions.6
How Cancer Data Are Collected
Invasive cancer is a mandatory reportable disease in the U.S. 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 These cancer reports are sent to central cancer registries (at the state or territory level) 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 or territory vital statistics offices. Death data include information regarding primary cancer site, and may also include morphology according to International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (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 and population-specific cancer prevention and control programs. These programs focus on preventing behaviors that may put people at an increased risk for cancer (such as tobacco use), and on reducing environmental risk factors (such as occupational exposure to known carcinogens). This information is essential for deciding where to have cancer screening programs, and for making long-term plans for adequate diagnostic and treatment services. Combining data at the national, state or territory, congressional district, and county levels helps public health officials prioritize and monitor public health efforts and track progress toward Healthy People objectives.
Additional resource: Archive of the Annual Reports to the Nation
- Xu, JQ, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Arias E. Mortality in the United States, 2021. NCHS Data Brief, no 456. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2022.
- U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool, based on 2022 submission data (1999–2020): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Cancer Institute; www.cdc.gov/cancer/dataviz, June 2023.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Total expenditure in millions by condition, United States, 2020. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Generated interactively: April 20, 2023.
- Curry SJ, Byers T, Hewitt M. Fulfilling the Potential of Cancer Prevention and Control. Washington (DC): The National Academies Press; 2003.
- Haynes 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.
- National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Comprehensive Cancer Control Plans. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Standards for Oncology Registry Entry (STORE). Accessed April 20, 2023.
- National Cancer Institute. SEER Program Coding and Staging Manual 2023. Accessed April 20, 2023.
CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR), NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, and CDC’s National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) are groups that contributed to United States Cancer Statistics data.
Incidence, mortality, and population denominator data are key data sources for the U.S. Cancer Statistics.
Cancer incidence data that appear on this website are from central cancer registries that have high-quality cancer incidence data.
An overview of statistical methods used in United States Cancer Statistics, including incidence and death rates, confidence intervals, relative cancer interval, cancer prevalence, and suppression of rates and counts.
Interpretation of U.S. Cancer Statistics data such as incidence, mortality, race, and ethnicity, as well as guidance for comparing cancer data by state.