Key Statistics for Cancers in Young Adults

About 80,000 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 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 can vary a great deal, based on the type of cancer and other factors.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

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.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, 1999 – 2017. Accessed at  https://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcause.html on October 1, 2019.

National Cancer Institute. Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer. 2018. Accessed at www.cancer.gov/types/aya on September 30, 2019.

Last Medical Review: October 24, 2019 Last Revised: October 24, 2019

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