Worldwide cancer data

Global cancer statistics for the most common cancers

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
RankCancerNew cases diagnosed in 2018% of all cancers (excl. non-melanoma skin cancer)
All cancers*17,036,901
1Lung2,093,87612.3%
2Breast2,088,84912.3%
3Colorectal **1,800,97710.6%
4Prostate1,276,1067.5%
5Stomach1,033,7016.1%
6Liver841,0805.0%
7Oesophagus572,0343.4%
8Cervix uteri569,9473.3%
9Thyroid567,2333.3%
10Bladder549,3933.2%
11Non-Hodgkin lymphoma509,5903.0%
12Pancreas458,9182.7%
13Leukaemia437,0332.6%
14Kidney403,2622.4%
15Corpus uteri382,0692.2%
16Lip, oral cavity354,8642.1%
17Brain, central nervous system296,8511.7%
18Ovary295,4141.7%
19Melanoma of skin287,7231.7%
20Gallbladder219,4201.3%
21Larynx177,4221.0%
22Multiple myeloma159,9850.9%
23Nasopharynx129,0790.8%
24Oropharynx92,8870.5%
25Hypopharynx80,6080.5%
26Hodgkin lymphoma79,9900.5%
27Testis71,1050.4%
28Salivary glands52,7990.3%
29Anus48,5410.3%
30Vulva44,2350.3%
31Kaposi sarcoma41,7990.2
32Penis34,3750.2%
32Mesothelioma34,3750.2%
32Vagina34,3750.1%

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.
RankCancerNew cases diagnosed in 2018% of all cancers (excl. non-melanoma skin cancer)
All cancers*8,818,685
1Lung1,368,52415.5%
2Prostate1,276,10614.5%
3Colorectal **1,006,01911.4%
4Stomach683,7547.8%
5Liver596,5746.8%
6Bladder424,0824.8%
7Oesophagus399,6994.5%
8Non-Hodgkin lymphoma284,7133.2%
9Kidney254,5072.9%
10Leukaemia249,4542.8%
11Lip, oral cavity246,4202.8%
12Pancreas243,0332.8%
13Brain, central nervous system162,5341.8%
14Larynx154,9771.8%
15Melanoma of skin150,6981.7%
16Thyroid130,8891.5%
17Gallbladder97,3961.1%
18Nasopharynx93,4161.1%
19Multiple melanoma89,8971.0%
20Oropharynx74,4720.8%
21Testis71,1050.8%
22Hpopharynx67,4960.8%
23Hodgkin lymphoma46,5590.5%
24Penis34,4750.4%
25Salivary glands29,2560.3%
26Kaposi sarcoma28,4280.3%
27Mesothelioma21,6620.2%
28Anus20,1960.2%

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.
RankCancerNew cases diagnosed in 2018% of all cancers (excl. non-melanoma skin cancer)
All cancers*8,218,216
1Breast2,088,84925.4%
2Colorectal **794,9589.7%
3Lung725,3528.8%
4Cervix uteri569,8476.9%
5Thyroid436,3446.3%
6Corpus uteri382,0695.3%
7Stomach349,9474.3%
8Ovary295,4143.6%
9Liver244,5063.0%
10Non-Hodgkin lymphoma224,8772.7%
11Pancreas215,9982.6%
12Leukaemia187,5792.3%
13Oesophagus172,3352.1%
14Kidney148,7551.8%
15Melanoma of skin137,0251.7%
16Brain, central nervous system134,3171.6%
17Bladder125,3111.5%
18Gallbladder122,0241.5%
19Lip, oral cavity108,4441.3%
20Multiple myeloma70,0880.9%
21Vulva44,2350.5%
22Nasopharynx35,6630.4%
23Hodgkin lymphoma33,4310.4%
24Anus28,3450.3%
25Salivary glands23,5430.3%
26Larynx22,4450.3%
27Oropharynx18,4150.2%
28Vagina17,6000.2%
29Kaposi sarcoma13,5510.2%
30Hypopharynx13.1120.2%
31Mesothelioma8,7810.1%

*Excludes non-melanoma skin cancer; includes cases of “other and unspecified cancers” (not listed here)
**Calculated by adding cases of colon cancer and cases of rectal cancer

The data quoted on these webpages come from the Global Cancer Observatory, owned by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and are used with permission. The incidence statistics for 2018 are projections calculated from cancer registry data collected before 2018. Full information on the methods used by IARC is available here.
Source: Bray F, Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Siegel RL, Torre LA, Jemal A. Global Cancer Statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries. CA Cancer J Clin, in press. The online GLOBOCAN 2018 database is accessible at http://gco.iarc.fr/, as part of IARC’s Global Cancer Observatory.