Statistics, Graphs and Definitions

Many people don't realize that individuals are considered survivors from the time of a cancer diagnosis through the rest of their life. Learn about key survivorship-related terms, and find survivorship-related statistics and graphs.

For additional cancer-related statistics, please visit NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.


As of January 2019, it is estimated that there are 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States. This represents approximately 5.0% of the population. 1

Silhouette of a group of people with text saying “16.9 million cancer survivors.”

Graph showing a projected 31 percent increase in cancer survivors to 22.2 million over the 10 year period from 2020 to 2030.

The number of cancer survivors is projected to increase by 31.4%, to 22.2 million, by 2030.1

Graph showing a projected increase of 11 million cancer survivors to 26.1 million between 2016 and 2040.

The number of cancer survivors is projected to grow to 26.1 million by 2040.2

Over the next decade, the number of people who have lived 5 or more years after their cancer diagnosis is projected to increase approximately 33%, to 15.1 million.1

Fireworks with text “15.1 million cancer survivors living 5 plus years.”

Man in activewear running up steps with text “67 percent of survivors living 5 plus years.”
A man and woman walking a dog on an outdoor path with text “45 percent of survivors living 10 plus years.”
Two women in activewear in a one-armed embrace smiling at each other with text “18 percent of survivors living 20 plus years.”

In 2019, 67% of survivors (10.3 million) have survived 5 years or more after diagnosis; 45% have survived 10 years or more; and 18% have survived 20 years or more.1

More Details About Cancer Survivors

64% of survivors are currently age 65 or older.1

It is estimated that by 2040, 73% of cancer survivors in the United States will be age 65 or older.2

A group of five older adults in activewear smiling and laughing with text “64 percent of survivors are 65 or older.”

Five women of diverse ages wearing pink and standing in a line with text “Most common cancer sites represented: Female breast cancer 23 percent or 3.9 million.”
Four men sitting at a table with a laptop and coffee with text “Most common cancer sites represented: prostate cancer 22 percent or 3.7 million.”
A man and woman walking a dog on a grassy hill while holding hands with text “Most common cancer sites represented: colorectal cancer 9 percent or 1.5 million.”

Among today's survivors, the most common cancer sites represented include female breast (23%, 3.9 million), prostate (22%, 3.7 million), colorectal (9%, 1.5 million), melanoma (8%, 1.4 million), and gynecologic (8%, 1.3 million).* 1

* Note: People may be represented more than once in these percentages if they have been diagnosed with more than one cancer. For example, a man who has survived both colorectal cancer and prostate cancer will be included as both a colorectal cancer survivor and as a prostate cancer survivor. Therefore, the sum of the percentages may be more than 100%.


1American Cancer Society. Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures 2019-2021. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2019.

2Projections based on data from Figure 1 in Bluethmann SM, Mariotto AB, Rowland, JH. Anticipating the "Silver Tsunami": Prevalence Trajectories and Comorbidity Burden among Older Cancer Survivors in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016;25:1029-1036.


This page provides several cancer survivorship-related graphs. For additional statistics, including customized graphs or tables, please go to NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.

Prevalence Projections 1975–2040

Area chart of cancer prevalence and projections in the United States population from 1975 to 2040. Chart displays an increase from 3.6 million in 1975 to 16.9 million in 2019, and a projected increase to 26.1 million in 2040.

Download "1975-2040" Graph (as PNG)

Prior Diagnosis of Cancer by Age

Bar chart of cancer survivors in the United States living with a prior cancer diagnosis as of January 1st 2019. Chart shows less than 5 percent under 50 years for males and females, between 5 and 10 percent for males and females aged 50 and 64 years, between 10 and 15 percent for females and between 15 and 20 percent for males aged 66 to 74 years, roughly 20 percent for females and between 25 and 30 percent for males aged 75 to 84 years, and roughly 25 percent for females and between 35 to 40 percent for males aged 85 years and up.

Download "Cancer by Age" Graph (as PNG)

Rates of New Cancer Cases by Race/Ethnicity

Bar chart of new cancer cases by race and ethnicity. Chart shows over 3.5 million for breast, between 1 and 1.5 million for gynecologic, between .5 and 1 million for colorectal, hematologic, melanoma, and thyroid, and less than .5 million for bladder and kidney, oral cavity and lung.

Download "New Cancer Cases by Race/Ethnicity" Graph (as PNG)

Rates of New Cancer Cases by Sex and Race/Ethnicity


Bar chart of diagnosis of cancer by sex and race and ethnicity per 100,000 population. For males, the chart displays 480 for all races, 486 for white, 515 for black, 370 for Hispanic, 304 for Asian/Pacific Islander, and 321 for American Indian/Alaska Native. For females, the chart displays 418 for all races, 432 for white, 391 for black, 340 for Hispanic, 305 for Asian/Pacific Islander, and 306 for American Indian/Alaska Native.


Download "New Cancer Cases by Sex and Race/Ethnicity" Graph (as PNG)


Cancer Survivor: An individual is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis, through the balance of life. There are many types of survivors, including those living with cancer and those free of cancer. This term is meant to capture a population of those with a history of cancer rather than to provide a label that may or may not resonate with individuals.

Adapted from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

Cancer Survivorship Research: Cancer survivorship research seeks to improve the health and well-being of cancer survivors and caregivers providing care to survivors. It aims to improve understanding of the sequelae of cancer and its treatment and to identify methods to prevent and mitigate adverse outcomes, including functional, physical, psychosocial, and economic effects (Figure 2). This research also includes and informs the design, delivery, and implementation of evidence-based strategies and the coordination of healthcare services to optimize survivors’ health and quality of life from the time of diagnosis through the remainder of the survivor’s life. Any cancer survivorship research should clearly identify the type of survivor being studied (e.g. age, type and stage of cancer, time since diagnosis) and the outcomes of the research (e.g. function, quality of life, health care utilization, costs, survival).

Figure 1. Phases of Cancer Survivorship

There are many types of survivors, including those living with cancer and those free of cancer. The experiences and goals of care for each cancer survivor are unique and dynamic. The figure below depicts one way to think about the different types of cancer survivors, including those diagnosed with early-stage cancer or advanced cancer and those who are diagnosed with or progress to end-stage cancers.

A pathway diagram that highlights the phases of cancer survivorship References
Mullan F (1985). Seasons of survival: reflection of a physician with cancer. N Engl J Med;313:270–273.
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
Miller K, Merry B, Miller J. Seasons of survivorship revisited. (2008) Cancer J.; 14(6):369-74.
American Cancer Society (2012)
Surbone A & Tralongo, P.. (2016). Categorization of cancer survivors: why we need it. J Clin Oncol;34:3372–3374.
Park ER, Peppercorn J, El-Jawahri A. (2018) Shades of Survivorship. J Natl Compr Canc Netw.;16(10):1163-1165.

Figure 2. Cancer Survivorship Research Framework

A concentric circles onion diagram that highlighs the induvidual factors of surviors experiance

Adapted from Nekhlyudov, L, Mollica, M., Jacobsen, P., Mayer, DK, Shulman, LN, Geiger, AM. (2019). Developing a Quality of Cancer Survivorship Care Framework: Implications for Clinical Care, Research and Policy. JNCI, 111(11): djz089, first published online May 16, 2019.


Cancer Incidence
The cancer incidence rate is the number of new cancers of a specific site/type occurring in a specified population during a year, usually expressed as the number of cancers per 100,000 population at risk.1
Cancer Prevalence
Cancer prevalence is the number of people alive on a certain date who have been diagnosed with cancer. This includes individuals who are newly diagnosed, in active treatment, have completed active treatment, and those living with progressive symptoms of their disease. Prevalence is derived from long-term incidence and survival rates.1, 2
Complete Prevalence
Represents the proportion of people alive on a certain day who previously had a diagnosis of the disease, regardless of how long ago the diagnosis was, or if the patient is still under treatment or is "cured."2
Limited Duration Prevalence
Represents the proportion of people alive on a certain day who had a diagnosis of the disease within the past x years (e.g. x = 5, 10, 20, or 25 years).2
Observed Survival Rate
The observed survival rate, which is obtained using standard life table procedures, represents the proportion of cancer patients surviving for a specified length of time after diagnosis.1

For other cancer terms, see the NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms.


Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2017, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD,, based on November 2019 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2020.

Cancer Prevalence Statistics Overview

Last Updated
January 06, 2022