Cancer Statistics

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1.7 million Americans are estimated to be diagnosed with cancer throughout the year 2013. This cancer statistic is generated using the rate at which new cancer diagnoses have occurred throughout the year. Factors such as breakthroughs in treatment or outbreaks may cause this number to fluctuate.

Cancer Statistics by Type of Cancer

In 2013, it is expected that the total number of new cases for the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer will be approximately:

  • 238,590 diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • 234,580 new cases of breast cancer
  • 228,190 patients diagnosed with lung cancer
  • 142,820 new patients with colorectal cancer
  • 76,690 diagnosed with melanoma
  • 72,570 patients diagnosed with bladder cancer
  • 45,220 new cases of pancreatic cancer

Although a cancer diagnosis is always scary, certain types of cancer are much more deadly than others. Lung cancer kills far more patients than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined, although many more patients are diagnosed with prostate cancer and breast cancer. Almost 70 percent of all patients that are diagnosed with lung cancer die within five years of diagnosis.

According to the American Cancer Society, the estimated death rate by cancer type for 2013 is as follows:

  • 85 percent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
  • 49 percent of new leukemia patients
  • 36 percent of those with bladder cancer
  • 27 percent of new patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • 21 percent of patients with bladder cancer
  • 17 percent of those diagnosed with breast cancer
  • 12 percent of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer

Misdiagnosis of Cancer Statistics

The curability of most cancers is much better when the cancer is caught in early stages. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis of cancer are very common. Misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis can cost the patient extra time and money, allow the patient’s health to deteriorate, and put the patient’s life at risk. Many deaths could be prevented if the rate of misdiagnosis was not so high.

It is estimated that approximately 10 to 20 percent of all cases of cancer are misdiagnosed. One study found that about 28 percent of the mistakes made out of 583 cases were life threatening or life altering. It is estimated that at least 40,000 cancer patients die each year as a result of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Many cases of misdiagnosis go unreported, so the statistics surrounding cancer misdiagnosis are rough estimates based on the number of cases that are reported.

A study conducted by the Veteran’s Administration hospital system in Texas estimated that there are about 500,000 diagnostic errors that occur each year in the United States, out of about 500 million cases. Physicians that were surveyed admitted to encountering at least one misdiagnosis every month. Due to the risk of litigation, many doctors are hesitant to report cases of misdiagnosis, skewing statistics.

Misdiagnosis is one of the leading reasons for litigation. In many cases, failure to perform further testing after symptoms were detected is the reason for delayed diagnosis. However, errors in the testing procedures or biopsy interpretation may also cause a misdiagnosis. Patients should contact an attorney as soon as possible if a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis has caused life altering disabilities.

Improving Survival Rates of Cancer

In order to improve survival rates, cancer research is ongoing every day. Physicians and researchers are constantly striving to find new and improved ways to catch cancer earlier and more advanced methods of treatment. Many cases of misdiagnosis could be prevented with better screening tests and more accurate means of interpreting biopsies.

According to the American Cancer Society, mortality rates for all types of cancer have improved about 21 percent for men and 12 percent for women between 1991 and 2010. This dramatic progress is the result of campaigns promoting cancer screening, declines in the number of smokers, and improved treatment methods. The overall incidence of cancer has been on a slow decline of about .5 percent per year, as well.




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“Common Cancer Types.” National Cancer Institute. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 Jan 2013. Web. 18 Nov 2013. <>.

“Physicians Misdiagnose at an Alarming Rate.” National Center for Policy Analysis. National Center for Policy Analysis, 08 May 2013. Web. 18 Nov 2013. <