About 5,000 to 6,000 adolescents (aged 15 to 19) are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States.
About 500 to 600 adolescents die from cancer each year. Cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in this age group, behind only accidents, suicide, and homicide.
The chance of getting cancer is about equal for teen boys and girls, but cancer survival rates are slightly higher in girls than in boys. Overall, about 90% of girls are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer, compared to about 83% of boys. Some of this might be because of different mixes of cancer types in males and females. Survival rates can vary based on the type of cancer and other factors.
The overall survival rate for cancer in teens has not improved as much in the past few decades as it has for cancers in children, although current overall survival rates are similar. As with cancers in children, the progress in some cancers in adolescents has been greater than in others.
Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2020 Atlanta, GA. Special Section: Cancer in Adolescents and Young Adults. American Cancer Society. 2020.
American Cancer Society. Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures 2019-2021. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society. 2019.
Bleyer A. How NCCN guidelines can help young adults and older adolescents with cancer and the professionals who care for them. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2012;10:1065-1071.
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2016, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, based on November 2018 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2019. Accessed at https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2016/results_merged/sect_32_aya.pdf on September 26, 2019.
Miller KD, Fidler-Benaoudia M, Keegan TH, et al. Cancer statistics for adolescents and young adults, 2020. CA Canc J Clin. 2020 Sep 17. doi: 10.3322/caac.21637. Online ahead of print.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology. Version 1.2020. 2019. Accessed at www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/aya.pdf on September 26, 2019.
Last Revised: January 12, 2022