Ridin' for Research: Cancer Facts

Cancer Facts


Approximately 1.6 million new cancer cases were expected to be diagnosed in 2012.  In Wisconsin, 31,920 new cancer cases were projected.


An estimated 577,190 Americans were expected to die from cancer in 2012, more than 1,500 per day.  Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., accounting for almost one out of every four deaths.


In the U.S., men have slightly less than a one in two lifetime risk of developing cancer.  For women the risk is a little more than one in three.


Incidence by Cancer Site

Men: Estimated New Cancer Cases* in 2012 by Site

Prostate (29%)

Lung & bronchus (14%)

Colon & rectum (9%)

Urinary bladder (7%)


Women: Estimated New Cancer Cases* in 2012 by Site

Breast (29%)

Lung & bronchus (14%)

Colon & rectum (9%)

Uterine corpus (6%)


* Does not include basal and squamous cell skin cancer and in situ carcinoma except urinary bladder


Men: Estimated Cancer Deaths in 2012 By Site

Lung & bronchus (29%)

Prostate (9%)

Colon & rectum (9%)

Pancreas (6%)


Women: Estimated Cancer Deaths in 2012 By Site

Lung & bronchus (26%)

Breast (14%)

Colon & rectum (9%)

Pancreas (7%)



The five-year survival rate for all cancer diagnosed between 2001 and 2007 was 67%, versus 49% from 1975 to 1977.  Better survival rates can be attributed to earlier diagnoses and improved treatments.  Unfortunately, survival statistics are still low for certain types of cancers.  More research is needed.


The Future of Cancer Care

In the past 10 years, knowledge about cancer has increased significantly.  Scientific research is at the heart of this progress.  Researchers now have a better understanding of what causes normal cells to become cancer cells and why some cancers metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.  


Some cancers that were once thought of as single disease, such as breast cancer, colon cancer and leukemia, are now understood to be collections of various types of cancer that require different treatments.  Patients who were once treated by internists or general oncologists now are treated by physicians who specialize in treating a specific type of cancer. This is important because every disease has its own, subtle nuances.  Scientists soon will be able to use genetics to pinpoint an individual’s exact cancer diagnosis and develop a treatment plan based on that diagnosis.  Drugs are being developed to target the molecular abnormalities of specific types of cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells untouched. 


This is the future of cancer care – a rapid increase in knowledge, new tools for treating and beating malignant disease, and care delivered by cancer physicians who have a highly specialized focus.