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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 and likely determined by many factors, such as lifestyle choices, genetics, and exposure to radiation, chemicals, and environmental pollutants.

We Track That

Through surveillance and tracking, 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 that are potentially linked with suspected environmental risk factors. The cancer data found on the Tracking Network are supplied by CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries and NCI’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results Programexternal icon.

Types of Data

The Tracking Network provides data on twenty cancer indicators. For each cancer indicator, you can view state-level data by:

  • Annual age-adjusted incidence rate per 100,000 population
  • Annual number of cases.

Incidence is the number of new cases of illness occurring within a specific population over a period of time. For some cancers, the data can also be aggregated over five years. Data are available for most states, depending on the type of cancer and the year. Some cancer types have data at the county level. Under advanced options, cancer data can be further refined by sex and race/ethnicity.

Data Highlight
Tracking Network's Data Explorer tool: U.S. Map with layer options

Add layers to any map.
Click on the gear icon to select layers: surface smoke, current radar, transportation noise, active Atlantic cyclones.

Data in Action

The Tracking Network is making cancer incidence data easier to use 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.

Although environmental pollution has been a source of great public concern for decades, 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
  • Target interventions and activities aimed at cancer prevention in specific populations and communities
  • Help allocate resources and services for affected populations

Read these success stories to learn about cancer related work happening in our funded Tracking Programs.

Californiaexternal icon | Connecticut | Iowa | Kansas | Maryland | Massachusetts | Minnesota | New Hampshire | New Mexico | New York | Oregon | Utah | Wisconsin

Learn More

Tracking Resources

Data Explorer
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Create custom data visualizations, save, & share results

Quick Reports
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View data in simple charts

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Access machine-readable data

Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021