At a glance

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Cancer is a leading cause of chronic illness and death in United States. The cause of many cancer types is unknown. It is likely determined by many factors, such as lifestyle choices, genetics, and exposure to radiation, chemicals, and environmental pollutants.

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We Track That

Through data collection and monitoring, scientists have observed a relationship between some cancers and the presence of certain environmental pollutants. The Tracking Network has data for eighteen types of cancer. These cancer types are potentially linked with suspected environmental risk factors.

The cancer data found on the Tracking Network come from two sources: CDC and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Types of Data

The Tracking Network provides data on twenty cancer indicators. For each cancer indicator, you can view the following measures.

  • Annual Age-adjusted Incidence Rate per 100,000 PopulationA
  • Annual Number of Cases
  • Average Annual Number of Cases

Depending on the type of cancer and the year, data are available for most states. Measures may use combinations of the following geographic boundaries and time periods.

  • Census tract, 10-year period
  • 5,000 minimum person population area, 5-year period
  • 20,000 minimum person population area, 5- or 3-year period
  • County, 10- or 5-year period
  • State, 10-, 5- or 1-year period

Under advanced options, cancer data can be further refined by sex and race/ethnicity.

The Tracking Network has data on the following types of cancer.

Learn more about cancer.

Access the Data

Use the Data Explorer to create custom maps, tables, and charts.

View data in simple Quick Reports.

Get machine-readable data from the Application Program Interface (API).

Data in Action

The Tracking Network is making cancer incidence data easier to use. We do this by integrating the information with other health outcome data and environmental data. Tracking can add to existing public health surveillance of cancer by examining potential ecological relationships with environmental exposures.

Environmental pollution has been a source of great public concern for decades. But more research is needed about environmental exposures at the community level. Evidence is building to support a link between cancer and lower levels of exposures to environmental pollutants. Tracking cancer in a standard way over time can help us:

  • Understand the distribution of cancer by place and time.
  • Understand the cancer burden for a specific geographical area, and by population subgroup.
  • Further develop linkage studies to evaluate environmental impacts on cancer.
  • Direct prevention interventions and activities to specific populations and communities.
  • Help allocate resources and services for affected populations.

Learn More


  1. Incidence is the number of new cases of illness occurring within a specific population over a period of time.