JAN 21, 2024 3:00 AM PST

Estimated Cancer Incidence and Mortality Numbers for 2024 Published

WRITTEN BY: Katie Kokolus

Each year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) publishes comprehensive estimates of the cases and deaths of every type of cancer.  Last week, the journal CA published Cancer Statistics, 2024, projecting over 2 million new cancer diagnoses in the United States this year.  Additionally, the data estimates over 600,000 cancer deaths will occur in 2024.  Both of these statistics increased slightly from the 2023 numbers

 In males, experts predict nearly 300,000 new cases, making it the most frequently diagnosed malignancy accounting for 29% of all cases in men.  Lung and bronchial cancers (11%) and colon and rectal cancers (8%) round out the top three most expected malignancies.  Breast cancer has the highest expectation for new cases in women at over 300,000 (32%).  Similar to observations in men, the second and third most common cancers are lung (12%) and colorectal (7%). 

Regarding cancer mortality, the top three most lethal cancers expected in 2024 are lung (20%), prostate (11%), and colorectal (9%).  In women, experts expect nearly 60,000 lung cancer deaths (21%).  An additional 42,250 (15%) and 24,480 (8%) deaths are expected due to breast and pancreatic cancers, respectively.

Between 1991 and 2021, cancer mortality rates decreased by 33%.  Many factors contributed to this decline, including smoking cessation, early detection strategies, and new and effective treatments, such as immunotherapy and targeted therapies.  However, the authors point out apparent challenges with cancer prevention strategies as evidenced by increased incidence in 6 out of 10 of the most common cancers.    

The 2024 cancer estimates also raise concerns regarding early-onset colorectal cancer (cases diagnosed in adults under 50 years of age).  In 1998, colorectal cancer ranked fourth in cancer mortality.  Now, colorectal cancer has become the leading cause of death in men under 50 and the second-leading cancer mortality in women under 50.  The authors note that colorectal cancer rates are shifting away from older cohorts and toward middle-aged individuals.  Thus, people with longer life expectancy will face other challenges, including more time for potential cancer recurrences. 

Another challenge proven by this year’s statistics involves a notable lack of progress toward reducing cancer disparities.  For example, despite having a similar incidence of breast cancer, black women have a 40% higher chance of breast cancer mortality than white women.  Further, compared to all other racial cohorts, American Indian and Alaska Native populations exhibit the overall highest rate of both cancer incidence and mortality. 


Sources: CA (2024), CA (2023), CA (1991), CA (2021)

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
I received a PhD in Tumor Immunology from SUNY Buffalo and BS and MS degrees from Duquesne University. I also completed a postdoc fellowship at the Penn State College of Medicine. I am interested in developing novel strategies to improve the efficacy of immunotherapies used to extend cancer survivorship.
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