Find information about world cancer statistics for the most common cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) in 2018, the latest year available.

There were an estimated 18 million cancer cases around the world in 2018, of these 9.5 million cases were in men and 8.5 million in women. The most common cancers globally are listed in the table below.

With this growing global burden, prevention of cancer is one of the most significant public health challenges of the 21st century. Our Cancer Prevention Recommendations work together as an overall way of living healthily to prevent cancer through changing dietary patterns, reducing alcohol consumption, increasing physical activity and achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight – read our blog here.

As well as action by individuals, achieving healthy patterns of diet and sustained physical activity over the life course requires concerted and integrated action from all sectors of society, including civil society, private sector, and health and other professions. Read more about policy action for cancer prevention here.

Global cancer incidence: both sexes

  • Lung and breast cancers were the most common cancers worldwide, each contributing 12.3% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018.
  • Colorectal cancer was the third most common cancer with 1.8 million new cases in 2018.
Rank Cancer New cases diagnosed in 2018 % of all cancers (excl. non-melanoma skin cancer)
  All cancers* 17,036,901  
1 Lung 2,093,876 12.3
2 Breast 2,088,849 12.3
3 Colorectal** 1,800,977 10.6
4 Prostate 1,276,106 7.5
5 Stomach 1,033,701 6.1
6 Liver 841,080 5.0
7 Oesophagus 572,034 3.4
8 Cervix uteri 569,847 3.3
9 Thyroid 567,233 3.3
10 Bladder 549,393 3.2
11 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 509,590 3.0
12 Pancreas 458,918 2.7
13 Leukaemia 437,033 2.6
14 Kidney 403,262 2.4
15 Corpus uteri 382,069 2.2
16 Lip, oral cavity 354,864 2.1
17 Brain, central nervous system 296,851 1.7
18 Ovary 295,414 1.7
19 Melanoma of skin 287,723 1.7
20 Gallbladder 219,420 1.3
21 Larynx 177,422 1.0
22 Multiple myeloma 159,985 0.9
23 Nasopharynx 129,079 0.8
24 Oropharynx 92,887 0.5
25 Hypopharynx 80,608 0.5
26 Hodgkin lymphoma 79,990 0.5
27 Testis 71,105 0.4
28 Salivary glands 52,799 0.3
29 Anus 48,541 0.3
30 Vulva 44,235 0.3
31 Kaposi sarcoma 41,799 0.2
32 Penis 34,475 0.2
33 Mesothelioma 30,443 0.2
34 Vagina 17,600 0.1

Global cancer incidence in men

  • Lung cancer was the most common cancer in men worldwide, contributing 15.5% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018.
  • The top three – lung, prostate and colorectal cancers – contributed 44.4% 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 2018 % of all cancers (excl. non-melanoma skin cancer)
  All cancers* 8,818,685  
1 Lung 1,368,524 15.5
2 Prostate 1,276,106 14.5
3 Colorectal** 1,006,019 11.4
4 Stomach 683,754 7.8
5 Liver 596,574 6.8
6 Bladder 424,082 4.8
7 Oesophagus 399,699 4.5
8 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 284,713 3.2
9 Kidney 254,507 2.9
10 Leukaemia 249,454 2.8
11 Lip, oral cavity 246,420 2.8
12 Pancreas 243,033 2.8
13 Brain, central nervous system 162,534 1.8
14 Larynx 154,977 1.8
15 Melanoma of skin 150,698 1.7
16 Thyroid 130,889 1.5
17 Gallbladder 97,396 1.1
18 Nasopharynx 93,416 1.1
19 Multiple myeloma 89,897 1.0
20 Oropharynx 74,472 0.8
21 Testis 71,105 0.8
22 Hypopharynx 67,496 0.8
23 Hodgkin lymphoma 46,559 0.5
24 Penis 34,475 0.4
25 Salivary glands 29,256 0.3
26 Kaposi sarcoma 28,248 0.3
27 Mesothelioma 21,662 0.2
28 Anus 20,196 0.2

Global cancer incidence in women

  • Breast cancer was the most common cancer in women worldwide, contributing 25.4% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018.
  • The top three – breast, colorectal and lung cancers – contributed 43.9% of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
  • Cervical cancer was the fourth most common cancer in women, contributing 6.9% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018.
Rank Cancer New cases diagnosed in 2018 % of all cancers (excl. non-melanoma skin cancer)
  All cancers* 8,218,216  
1 Breast 2,088,849 25.4
2 Colorectal** 794,958 9.7
3 Lung 725,352 8.8
4 Cervix uteri 569,847 6.9
5 Thyroid 436,344 6.3
6 Corpus uteri 382,069 5.3
7 Stomach 349,947 4.3
8 Ovary 295,414 3.6
9 Liver 244,506 3.0
10 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 224,877 2.7
11 Pancreas 215,885 2.6
12 Leukaemia 187,579 2.3
13 Oesophagus 172,335 2.1
14 Kidney 148,755 1.8
15 Melanoma of skin 137,025 1.7
16 Brain, central nervous system 134,317 1.6
17 Bladder 125,311 1.5
18 Gallbladder 122,024 1.5
19 Lip, oral cavity 108,444 1.3
20 Multiple myeloma 70,088 0.9
21 Vulva 44,235 0.5
22 Nasopharynx 35,663 0.4
23 Hodgkin lymphoma 33,431 0.4
24 Anus 28,345 0.3
25 Salivary glands 23,543 0.3
26 Larynx 22,445 0.3
27 Oropharynx 18,415 0.2
28 Vagina 17,600 0.2
29 Kaposi sarcoma 13,551 0.2
30 Hypopharynx 13,112 0.2
31 Mesothelioma 8,781 0.1