A new report on the global cancer burden provides data on and insights into cancer incidence and mortality worldwide. Global Cancer Facts & Figures, 3rd Edition, produced by the American Cancer Society in partnership with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), was released February 4 – on World Cancer Day – bringing attention to the growing cancer epidemic and what can be done to address it.

Below are 10 of the key facts from Global Cancer Facts & Figures, 3rd Edition.

14.1 million: The number of new cancer cases diagnosed in 2012 worldwide. More than half of these – 8 million – occurred in economically developing countries.

8.2 million: The number of cancer deaths in 2012 worldwide.

21.7 million: The number of new cancer cases expected to be diagnosed in 2030. And, by 2030, 13 million cancer deaths are predicted. However, these projections only reflect population growth and aging, so these figures will likely be much larger “due to the adoption of lifestyles that are known to increase cancer risk, such as smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and fewer pregnancies, in economically developing countries.”

1,241,600: The estimated number of new lung cancer cases among men worldwide in 2012. Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer among men globally. When looking just at developed countries, though, prostate cancer is the most common among men.

1,676,600: The estimated number of new breast cancer cases among women worldwide in 2012. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in both developed and developing countries.

521,900: The estimated number of breast cancer deaths in women worldwide in 2012. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women; however, when looking just at developed countries, lung cancer was the most common cause of cancer death in 2012, surpassing breast cancer. This change reflects the tobacco epidemic in these women, which occurred later than in men, according to the report.

58%: The percentage of all newly diagnosed cancers in economically developed countries that occur among those aged 65 and older. This figure is 40% in developing countries. The report notes that this “difference is largely due to variations in age structure of the populations.”

23%: The percentage of cancers in developing countries due to infections; this compares to only 7% in developed countries. In developing countries, two of the five leading cancers in men (liver and stomach) and women (cervix and stomach) are caused by infections. Many infection-related cancers can be prevented through behavioral changes, infection control procedures, vaccinations, and treatment of infection.

163,300: The estimated number of new cancer cases diagnosed among children aged 0 to 14 worldwide in 2012. About 80,000 children worldwide died from cancer in 2012. “Mortality rates are lowest in developed countries, despite higher incidence rates, because of the availability of high-quality diagnosis and treatment,” the report states.

179: The number of countries, out of the 196 that are eligible, that have signed on to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a treaty led by the World Health Organization to help combat the global tobacco pandemic. A number of major tobacco-producing countries, including the United States, have not ratified the treaty. The report notes that tobacco use is the cause of nearly 6 million premature deaths annually.


Explore these statistics and more in Global Cancer Facts & Figures, 3rd Edition.