Cancer in Young Adults

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What Is Cancer in Young Adults? TOPICS

What are the key statistics for cancers in young adults?

More than 60,000 young adults aged 20 to 39 are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. About 4% of all cancers are diagnosed in people in this age range.

About 9,000 young adults die from cancer each year. Cancer accounts for nearly 10% of deaths and is the 4th leading cause of death in this age group, behind only accidents, suicide, and homicide. It’s the leading cause of death from disease among females in this age group, and is second only to heart disease among males.

Young women are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than young men, but young men and women are equally likely to die of cancer.

Survival rates for cancer in young adults have not changed much in recent decades, unlike the improvements seen in many cancers in children and older adults. Survival rates vary based on the type of cancer and other factors, and are discussed in the section “Survival rates in young adults with cancer.”

Last Medical Review: 02/18/2014
Last Revised: 06/10/2015