Skip to main content

ACS & ASCO are Stronger Together: Cancer.Net content is now available on


2024—First Year the US Expects More than 2M New Cases of Cancer

The American Cancer Society reports lower overall cancer death rates, yet incidence is increasing for many common cancers, including 6 of the top 10.

Cancer facts you need to know for CFF 2024 2M+  and more

Over the last 30 years, the risk of dying from cancer has steadily declined, sparing some 4 million lives in the United States. This downward trend can partially be explained by big wins in smoking cessation, early cancer detection, and treatment advancements.

Cancer incidence, however, is on the rise for many common cancers. In the coming year, we’re expecting to hit a bleak milestone—the first time new cases of cancer in the US are expected to cross the 2-million mark. That’s almost 5,500  cancer diagnoses a day. 

This trend is largely affected by the aging and growth of the population and by a rise in diagnoses of 6 of the 10 most common cancers—breast, prostate, endometrial, pancreatic, kidney, and melanoma. (The other 4 top 10 cancers are lung, colon and rectum, bladder, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.)

In 2024, over 611,000 deaths from cancer are projected for the US. That’s more than 1,600 deaths from cancer each day.

These estimated numbers of new cancer cases and deaths for this year are from Cancer Statistics, 2024,” published in the American Cancer Society’s flagship journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, in its consumer-friendly companion report, Cancer Facts & Figures 2024, and on the interactive website, the Cancer Statistics CenterThese publications are the most widely cited source of cancer statistics in the world. Authors of the study include ACS researchers: Rebecca Siegel, MPH, Angela Giaquinto, MSPH, and Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD

Glossary for Nonscientists

Want to know what incidence rate or death rate means? Or who’s included in AIAN and Hispanic groups? See Understanding Cancer Research Terms.

Rising incidences of some of the most common cancers, some that are related to excess body weight, may halt the decline in cancer mortality in the near future.

Although the cancer death rate has been on the decline, rising diagnoses of 6 of the most common cancers (breast, prostate, endometrial, pancreatic, kidney, and melanoma) threaten that longstanding downward trend. Put simply, that’s because when more people are diagnosed with cancer, more people are likely to die because of cancer.

Some types of cancer aren’t increasing in overall incidence but are increasing in subgroups. These include:

  • Colorectal cancer in people younger than age 55
  • Liver cancer in women
  • Oral cancers associated with HPV
  • Cervical cancer in women ages 30 through 44

Although there aren't ways to detect most cancers early, four of the cancers with increasing trends have screening tests (breast, prostate, colorectal, and cervical).  Colorectal and cervical cancer screening can actually prevent cancer altogether by detecting precancerous lesions that can be removed.

The risk of developing 6 of the cancers on the rise is associated with excess body weight. Listed in order of strength of the association, those 6 cancers are endometrial, liver, kidney, pancreas, colorectal, and breast.

10 Top Cancer Types in Men and Women for Estimated New Cancer Cases and Deaths, 2024

Estimated cancer cases and deaths for men and women for 2024

In men, the top 3 most common types of cancer—in the prostate, lung, and colon and rectum—account for almost one half (48%) of all cancer cases. In women, the top 3 most common types of cancer—in the breast, lung, and colon and rectum--account for almost 51% of all cancer cases.

What might be most striking about the rising incidence is that it’s affecting increasingly younger people.

Cancer patients are getting younger.

Cancer risk increases with age, and people most likely to be diagnosed with cancer are adults age 65 and older. But this trend is beginning to change.

People age 65 and older (sometimes referred to as older adults) represent a growing proportion of the overall population, but their numbers are shrinking in the proportion of new cancer cases. In 1995, people age 65 and older accounted for 61% of cancer diagnoses and during 2019 to 2020 their contribution dropped to 58%.

In contrast, people ages 50 to 64 (sometimes referred to as middle-aged adults) are growing in numbers for both the population at large and the population of people with cancer. This shift toward middle-aged patients reflects both steep decreases in the incidence of prostate cancer and smoking-related cancers in older men and increasing incidence in men and women born since the 1950s. Although some of this increase is probably because of the obesity epidemic, there are thought to be other unknown causes as well. 

The proportion of people under age 50 (sometimes referred to as younger adults) diagnosed with cancer dropped from 15% to 12% because of their shrinking representation in the general population (from 74% to 64%). Interestingly, though, they were the only one of the three age groups with an increase in overall cancer incidence from 1995 to 2020. 

Especially notable is the rise in colorectal cancer diagnoses among people younger than 50. In the late 1990s, colorectal cancer was the fourth leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in this age group, and now, it is the first cause of cancer death in men younger than 50 and the second cause in women that age. The cause of the rise of colorectal cancer cases in younger adults remains unexplained but likely reflects changes in lifestyle exposures that begin with generations born around 1950, the authors say.

Almost 1 out of 3 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer before age 50 have a family history or genetic predisposition. People who know they have a family history of this disease should begin colorectal cancer screening before age 45.

Cervical cancer is increasing in incidence in an even younger population—women ages 30 to 44. (In contrast, the incidence of cervical cancer in women who were among the first groups to have received the HPV vaccine—who are now ages 20 to 24—declined 11% a year between 2012 and 2019.) 

Progress against cancer lags in communities of color.

Racial disparities in cancer are striking and persistent. In fact, the death rate for Black people with prostate, stomach, and uterine cancers is double that for  White people. Similarly, American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) people have 2 times higher death rates for liver, stomach, or kidney cancer than White people.

These are a few more critical statistics about cancer and race:

  • Black men have the highest overall cancer death rate, which is 19% higher than that of White men. This difference is largely driven by prostate cancer death rates for Black men, which are twice that of any other group.
  • AIAN people have the highest overall incidence and mortality rate in men and women combined. Alaska Native people have the highest colorectal cancer incidence and mortality in the world.
  • Hispanic people have lower rates of the most common cancers, such as breast and prostate, compared to non-Hispanic Whites, but they have one of the highest rates of infection-related cancers. For example, cervical cancer incidence – caused by HPV infection – is 35% higher in Hispanic women than in White women.
  • Black women with endometrial cancer have a death rate that is 2 times higher than White women despite similar incidence of the disease, partly because they are diagnosed later and have worse survival.

The advances in treatment and earlier detection that have decreased death rates overall have not benefitted everyone equally. The obstacles to living a healthy life and getting a timely cancer diagnosis are far greater in minority communities than in White communities.

“These populations have been subject to racial discrimination for hundreds of years. The resulting inequality in wealth has resulted in less access to fresh food, safe places to live and exercise, and receipt of high-quality cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment,” Siegel says.

The Cancer Statistics, 2024 study authors note, “Segregationist and discriminatory policies in criminal justice, housing, education, and employment continue to alter the balance of prosperity even today.”

LGBTQ+ people face unique risks for developing cancer.

People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, or another diverse, non-heteronormative sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTQ+) also face potentially significant disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes after treatment. To shine a light on potential cancer disparities in this community, the special section of Cancer Facts & Figures 2024 explores the unique stressors and risk factors that LGBTQ+ people may face.

Accumulating research shows disparities in outcomes across the cancer continuum—from prevention to  early detection and treatment—although more data is needed. But population-based information on cancer in the LGBTQ+ population is currently limited to national surveys that collect information about risk factors and screening. No active methods for collecting information on incidence and mortality exist for this group because sexual orientation and gender identity are not consistently collected in medical records.

“The LGBTQ+ population has some differences in exposures that are probably pretty influential in terms of their risk for developing cancer,  but we can’t look at the cancer risk because we don’t have data. Data is also key for the development of targeted cancer-control efforts. It’s time the US fills that gap,” Siegel says.

About These Reports

The most recent year with available incidence and mortality data lags 2–4 years behind the current year because of the time it takes to collect data, compile it, verify its quality, and share the analysis. For both the CA report and Cancer Facts & Figures 2024, ACS researchers compiled the most recent data on population-based cancer occurrence and outcomes using incidence data collected by central cancer registries (through 2020) and mortality data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics (through 2021).

The most recent statistics don’t include basal or squamous cell skin cancers because US cancer registries aren’t required to collect information on these types of cancers.

Researchers have not yet analyzed the potentially myriad ways in which the pandemic affected these cancer statistics. When data is available, researchers expect that the public health crisis of COVID-19 will be found to have delayed diagnoses and led to worse outcomes and more deaths. But it will take many years to parse out those effects.