Future of cancer incidence in the United States: burdens upon an aging, changing nation

J Clin Oncol. 2009 Jun 10;27(17):2758-65. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.20.8983. Epub 2009 Apr 29.


Purpose: By 2030, the United States' population will increase to approximately 365 million, including 72 million older adults (age > or = 65 years) and 157 million minority individuals. Although cancer incidence varies by age and race, the impact of demographic changes on cancer incidence has not been fully characterized. We sought to estimate the number of cancer patients diagnosed in the United States through 2030 by age and race.

Methods: Current demographic-specific cancer incidence rates were calculated using the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database. Population projections from the Census Bureau were used to project future cancer incidence through 2030.

Results: From 2010 to 2030, the total projected cancer incidence will increase by approximately 45%, from 1.6 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2030. This increase is driven by cancer diagnosed in older adults and minorities. A 67% increase in cancer incidence is anticipated for older adults, compared with an 11% increase for younger adults. A 99% increase is anticipated for minorities, compared with a 31% increase for whites. From 2010 to 2030, the percentage of all cancers diagnosed in older adults will increase from 61% to 70%, and the percentage of all cancers diagnosed in minorities will increase from 21% to 28%.

Conclusion: Demographic changes in the United States will result in a marked increase in the number of cancer diagnoses over the next 20 years. Continued efforts are needed to improve cancer care for older adults and minorities.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Cost of Illness
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Minority Groups*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Population Dynamics
  • Population Surveillance
  • Racial Groups
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • SEER Program
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • United States / epidemiology