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Interactive 2020
Annual Report

Cancer Statistics

Global cancer rates generally

In 2018, there were an estimated 18 million cancer cases globally. By gender, 9.5 million cases were in men and 8.5 million were in women.1 Lung and breast cancers were the most common cancers worldwide in 2018. Colorectal cancer was the third most common cancer in 2018 with 1.8 million new cases. 1

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for both sexes and the leading cause of cancer death. Female breast cancer followers closely behind along with prostate cancer and colorectal cancer in terms of incidence. 1

Cancer rates predictions

Based on 2014-2016 data, roughly 39.3% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes.2

It is estimated that there will be 1,762,450 new cases of cancer in 2019. Of these, it is predicted there will be 606,880 cancer deaths.3

Cancer rates: prostate cancer, sarcomas

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide.4 It is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States (US).3 It is estimated that there will be 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer resulting in 31,620 deaths by the end of 2019.3

Sarcomas are rare cancers across all age groups. According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 12,750 new soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed in 2019 and roughly 5,270 Americans will die of soft tissue sarcomas.5 Estimates for cancer of the bones and joints, including chondrosarcomas, osteosarcomas, chordomas, Ewing sarcomas and fibrosarcomas, predict 3,500 diagnostic cases in 2019.5 The unmet clinical need in these cancers is substantial, and regulators such as the FDA, through its Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD), offer a range of incentives for sponsors to develop products for rare diseases. These incentives include grants, tax incentives, research design assistance, FDA fee waivers, extended patent life and 7-year market exclusivity.

Cancer incidences in different parts of the world and demographics:

Europe accounts for 23.4% of total cancer cases and 20.3% of cancer deaths but represents only 9% of the global population. There is a 21% overall cancer incidence rate in the U.S. and 14.4% mortality worldwide. Higher rates of incidence and mortality are seen in other regions, such as Asia and Africa.1

The highest cancer rate for men and women together was in Australia, at 468.0 people per 100,000. The age-standardized rate was at least 320 per 100,000 for 12 countries: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Hungary, the US, Belgium, France (metropolitan), Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and New Caledonia (France). The top 12 countries are located in Oceania, Europe and North America.4

Changes in survival for the top 5 cancer types:


Despite some improvements in surgical techniques and combined therapies over the past several decades, lung cancer is one of the most lethal cancers. Five-year net survival is generally similar worldwide, ranging from about 10% to 20%.5,6


Five-year net survival for breast cancer is higher than for most other cancers, with at least two-thirds of women surviving at least five years after diagnosis and more than 85% surviving beyond this time period in the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Costa Rica, and many Northern and Western European countries.7


In Northern America, Australia/New Zealand, and many countries of Europe, colorectal cancer five-year net survival is about 65% to 70%. Five-year colon cancer survival rates are highest (72%) in Israel and South Korea and lowest in India (39%). Survival is much higher when colorectal cancer is detected at an early stage; however, fewer than half of cases are diagnosed early, even in developed countries, mainly due to suboptimal screening rates.6


Over the past 30 years, the dramatic improvement in survival largely reflects lead-time bias attributable to the early diagnosis of asymptomatic prostate cancer through PSA testing. Thus, the five-year net survival rate ranges from 95% or greater in the US and Australia to 44% in India.5,7


In Japan and South Korea, because about half of stomach cancers are diagnosed at an early stage due to screening, the five-year net survival rate is 60% or more.8 In contrast, the five-year survival is 33% in the US, where only about 25% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage.9

Cancer research impact and changes to survival rates:

Cancer treatments differ drastically now in comparison to 40 years ago due to extraordinary innovations in healthcare and medical treatments. While many cases used to require radical surgeries and toxic mega-dose chemotherapy, current approaches toward many cancer cases involve localized surgery, and less toxic doses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy depending on each patient's case.10

In the US, the overall cancer death rate has declined significantly since the early 1990s as the number of cancer survivors has increased, due in part to advancements in scientific research.2 These trends show that progress is being made against this devastating disease, but much work remains.

*list of references