The American Cancer Society recently published its Cancer Facts & Figures 2021. This report is an educational companion for the research article Cancer Statistics 2021, which was published in the American Cancer Society journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Cancer Facts & Figures 2021 is an annual report which provides the most current information about cancer in the United States. The publication includes projections of the number of cancer cases and deaths expected in each state and in the nation in the current year. These projections serve as a basis for research but are also intended to be easily understood by the public.

The Cancer Facts & Figures 2021 report provides:

  • Estimated numbers of new cancer cases and deaths in 2021
  • Current cancer incidence, mortality and survival statistics
  • Information on cancer symptoms, risk factors, early detection and treatment

Some key findings:

  • From 1991 to 2018, the cancer death rate has fallen 31%. This includes a 2.4% decline from 2017 to 2018—a new record for the largest one-year drop in the cancer death rate.
  • Researchers estimate that in the U.S. in 2021, almost 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed, and more than 600,000 people will die from cancer.
  • The four most common cancers are lung, colorectal, breast and prostate. Long‐term declines in mortality for prostate cancer have remained the same but have slowed for breast and colorectal cancer. Long‐term decline in mortality has accelerated for lung cancer, which accounted for almost one‐half of the total mortality decline from 2014 to 2018.
  • There are disparities in cancer death rates related to social, economic and/or environmental disadvantages. For most cancer types, death rates are higher for Black people. The death rate for Black men with prostate cancer is more than double that of men in other populations, and the cancer death rate for Black women is 40% higher than for white women, even though their rates of diagnosis are slightly lower.

2021 Special Section: COVID-19 and Cancer

Each edition of Cancer Facts & Figures includes a Special Section of in-depth focus on a specific cancer or group of cancers. The 2021 Special Section focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living with cancer, cancer surveillance capabilities and the overall American health system. This section is intended to provide information on the long-term consequences of the pandemic on cancer health issues. Recommendations to prevent viral spread as well as current knowledge of COVID-19 risk within cancer patients are described in detail.

Supplemental Data

ACS’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2021 webpage includes PDF versions of the 2021 Supplemental Data Sets as well as the Most Requested Tables and Figures from the report. The page also includes the Cancer Statistics 2021 Slide Presentation, which provides the overview of current cancer statistics in the U.S.

Data source for Cancer Facts & Figures: Incidence data from 2000 through 2017 was collected by the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program; the National Program of Cancer Registries; and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. Mortality data from 1975 through 2018 was collected from the National Center for Health Statistics.