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Worldwide

Here you can find information about world cancer statistics for the most common cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) in 2012, the latest year available.

There were an estimated 14.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2012, of these 7.4 million cases were in men and 6.7 million in women. This number is expected to increase to 24 million by 2035.

This growing cancer burden, within the overall context of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), was a key focus of the September 2011 UN High Level Meeting on NCDs.

Both sexes

  • Lung cancer was the most common cancer worldwide contributing 13% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2012.
  • Breast cancer (women only) was the second most common cancer with nearly 1.7 million new cases in 2012.
  • Colorectal cancer was the third most common cancer with nearly 1.4 million new cases in 2012.
Rank Cancer New cases diagnosed in 2012 (1,000s) Per cent of all cancers
(excl. non-melanoma skin cancer)
1 Lung 1,825 13.0
2 Breast 1,677 11.9
3 Colorectum 1,361 9.7
4 Prostate 1,112 7.9
5 Stomach 952 6.8
6 Liver 782 5.6
7 Cervix uteri 528 3.7
8 Oesophagus 456 3.2
9 Bladder 430 3.1
10 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 386 2.7
11 Leukaemia 352 2.5
12 Pancreas 338 2.4
12 Kidney 338 2.4
14 Corpus uteri (endometrium) 320 2.3
15 Lip, oral cavity 300 2.1
16 Thyroid 298 2.1
17 Brain, nervous system 256 1.8
18 Ovary 239 1.7
19 Melanoma of skin 232 1.6
20 Gallbladder 178 1.3
21 Larynx 157 1.1
22 Other pharynx 142 1.0
23 Multiple myeloma 114 0.8
24 Nasopharynx 87 0.6
25 Hodgkin lymphoma 66 0.5
26 Testis 55 0.4
27 Kaposi sarcoma 44 0.3

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F.
GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 13/12/2013.

Men

  • Lung cancer was the most common cancer worldwide in men contributing nearly 17% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2012.
  • The top three, lung, prostate and colorectal cancers, contributed nearly 42% of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
  • Other common cancers contributing more than 5% were stomach and liver.
Rank Cancer New cases diagnosed in 2012 (1,000s) Per cent of all cancers
(excl. non-melanoma skin cancer)
1 Lung 1,242 16.7
2 Prostate 1,112 15.0
3 Colorectum 746 10.0
4 Stomach 631 8.5
5 Liver 554 7.5
6 Bladder 330 4.4
7 Oesophagus 323 4.3
8 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 218 2.9
9 Kidney 214 2.9
10 Leukaemia 201 2.7
11 Lip, oral cavity 199 2.7
12 Pancreas 178 2.4
13 Brain, nervous system 140 1.9
14 Larynx 138 1.9
15 Melanoma of skin 121 1.6
16 Other pharynx 115 1.6
17 Gallbladder 77 1.0
18 Thyroid 68 0.9
19 Multiple myeloma 62 0.8
20 Nasopharynx 61 0.8
21 Testis 55 0.7
22 Hodgkin lymphoma 39 0.5
23 Kaposi sarcoma 29 0.4

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F.
GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 13/12/2013.

Women

  • Breast cancer was the most common cancer worldwide in women contributing more than 25% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2012.
  • The top three, breast, colorectal and lung cancers, contributed more than 43% of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
  • Cervical cancer also contributed nearly 8% of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
Rank Cancer New cases diagnosed in 2012 (1,000s) Per cent of all cancers
(excl. non-melanoma skin cancer)
1 Breast 1,677 25.2
2 Colorectum 614 9.2
3 Lung 583 8.8
4 Cervix uteri 528 7.9
5 Stomach 320 4.8
5 Corpus uteri (endometrium) 320 4.8
7 Ovary 239 3.6
8 Thyroid 230 3.5
9 Liver 228 3.4
10 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 168 2.5
11 Pancreas 160 2.4
12 Leukaemia 151 2.3
13 Oesophagus 133 2.0
14 Kidney 124 1.9
15 Brain, nervous system 117 1.8
16 Melanoma of skin 111 1.7
17 Lip, oral cavity 101 1.5
17 Gallbladder 101 1.5
19 Bladder 99 1.5
20 Multiple myeloma 52 0.8
21 Other pharynx 27 0.4
21 Hodgkin lymphoma 27 0.4
23 Nasopharynx 26 0.4
24 Larynx 19 0.3
25 Kaposi sarcoma 15 0.2

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F.
GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 13/12/2013.