Cancer has a major impact on society in the United States and across the world. Cancer statistics describe what happens in large groups of people and provide a picture in time of the burden of cancer on society.
Statistics tell us things such as how many people are diagnosed with and die from cancer each year, the number of people who are currently living after a cancer diagnosis, the average age at diagnosis, and the numbers of people who are still alive at a given time after diagnosis. They also tell us about differences among groups defined by age, sex, racial/ethnic group, geographic location, and other categories.
Cancer statistics also help us see trends. By looking at cancer rates over time, we can track changes in the risk of developing and dying from specific cancers as well as cancer overall.
For information about chances of surviving cancer and prognosis, see Understanding Cancer Prognosis.