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Cancer Statistics for Hispanics/Latinos, 2018-2020 now available in Spanish

​We are pleased to announce that Cancer Statistics for Hispanics and Latinos, 2018-2020 has been translated into Spanish, demonstrating the American Cancer Society's commitment to its Core Value of Diversity. It is now available on

As reported when the English version was published last fall, the report notes that the cancer burden in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory with a 99% Hispanic population, is substantially different from that of Hispanics in the continental U.S. The report says that men in Puerto Rico have higher prostate and colorectal cancer rates than non-Hispanic whites (NHWs) in the continental U.S, in contrast to U.S. Hispanics as a whole, who have lower rates for these cancers. 

Here are highlights:

  • Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men in Puerto Rico, accounting for nearly 1 in 6 deaths during 2011-2015, whereas lung cancer accounts for the largest percentage of cancer deaths among other U.S. Hispanic men. Further, Puerto Rico was the only state or territory included in the analysis where lung cancer was not the leading cause of cancer death among men overall. This reflects not only high prostate cancer mortality in the territory (26.7 per 100,000 in Puerto Rico versus 18. 2 in NHWs and 16.2 in other U.S. Hispanics during 2011-2015), but also exceptionally low lung cancer death rates among men in Puerto Rico (19.8 versus 56.3 in NHWs and 26.5 in other U.S. Hispanics). 

  • Mortality rates for colorectal cancer in men in Puerto Rico during 2011-2015 were 17% higher than those in NHWs and 35% higher than those of other U.S. Hispanics combined.

These differences highlight the wide variation in cancer risk within the U.S. Hispanic population, for whom population-based health data are often only available in aggregate. Hispanics/Latinos represent the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the U.S., accounting for 17.8% (57.5 million) of the continental U.S. population in 2016, including more than one-third of the population in some southern and western states (e.g., California, New Mexico, Texas). An additional three million Hispanic Americans reside in Puerto Rico. The U.S. Hispanic population is one of the most diverse and rapidly growing groups in the U.S. and is expected to nearly double in size by 2060. 

Although overall cancer incidence and mortality rates in Hispanics in the continental U.S. and Hawaii are 25% to 30% lower, respectively, than in non-Hispanic whites, rates among some U.S.-born Hispanics approach those in non-Hispanic whites. Given that the rapid growth of Hispanic population in the U.S. is now driven by birth rather than immigration, the authors of the report anticipate a burgeoning cancer burden among Hispanics.   

Currently, however, the cancer profile in U.S. Hispanics reflects that in Latin America, as one-third of this population is foreign-born and maintains much of the cancer risk of their country of origin. As a group, Hispanics are less likely than NHWs to be diagnosed with the four most common cancers (prostate, breast, lung and bronchus, and colorectal), but have a higher risk of infection-related cancers (stomach, liver, and cervix), which, with the exception of liver cancer, are more frequent in Latin American countries. For example, stomach cancer mortality rates among continental U.S. Hispanics are twice those in NHWs.

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, followed by heart disease.

  • In 2018, an estimated 42,700 Hispanic men and women in the U.S. will die from cancer. This does not include cancer deaths in Puerto Rico due to data limitations. 

  • Among Hispanic men, lung (16%), liver (12%), and colorectal (11%) cancers cause the most cancer deaths, whereas among women, these are breast (16%), lung (13%), and colorectal (9%) cancers. 

  • Lung cancer accounts for 14% of cancer deaths among Hispanics compared to 25% in the overall population because of the historical and continuing low smoking rates in Hispanics. In contrast, liver cancer accounts for 12% of cancer deaths in Hispanic men versus 6% in men overall.

Variations in cancer risk between Hispanics and NHWs, as well as within the Hispanic community, are primarily driven by differences in exposure to cancer-causing infectious agents and behavioral risk factors. For example, the prevalence of cigarette smoking in 2017 was 17% among NHWs compared to 10% among Hispanics residing in the continental U.S., similar to the rate among island Puerto Ricans; however, within the Hispanic population smoking prevalence ranged from 6% among Dominicans and Central/South Americans to 17% among Puerto Ricans who reside stateside. Counterbalancing generally low smoking rates, continental Hispanics and those in Puerto Rico have among the highest prevalence of the second-most important cancer risk factor – excess body weight—as well as type 2 diabetes, which increases risk independent of body weight.

This report is published every three years.

  • #RelayFirstLap2019 provides a symbolic start to our new Relay season

    Over the weekend, volunteers from around the world participated in #RelayFirstLap2019. By the latest count, 117 Relay For Life events in four countries -- U.S., United Kingdom, Ireland, and Belgium -- participated in this symbolic kick off to the 2019 Relay season.

    As reported last week, this was the brainchild of Brooklyn, N.Y. Relay volunteer Joe Gillette -- father of the2019 Relay For Life "mermen" calendarWatch a video of Joe and Northeast EVP Kris Kim as they prepared to take their First Lap.

    Volunteers were encouraged to take their First Lap of the year anywhere that was convenient for them - a track, park, or even their bedroom or living room - and posting photos or videos using the hashtag #RelayFirstLap2019. 

    Throughout the weekend, hundreds of photos and videos flooded social media and the First Lap Facebook page of volunteers taking their own #RelayFirstLap2019. More photos can be found in the discussion section of this Facebook page.

  • Pantene announces end of the Beautiful Lengths program

    ACS will still offer wigs to patients in need

    Since 2006, the American Cancer Society has been a proud partner with Pantene and the recipient of free, real-hair wigs through its Beautiful Lengths program. Over the last several years, synthetic-hair technology has improved, giving synthetic hair wigs more of a real-hair feel. They are lighter, more comfortable, and easier to style.

    With these advancements, synthetic wigs are now the preferred wig choice for many people affected by cancer, resulting in a significant decrease in demand for the real-hair wigs provided by the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program. 

    Given this change in need, Pantene stopped accepting human hair donations on December 31, 2018. However, with its current stock of donated hair, Pantene has committed to continue to supply the American Cancer Society with wigs for the next four years. 

    Pantene released a statement on its website thanking everyone who has supported this program by donating their hair over the years and encouraging them to contact the American Cancer Society to learn of other ways to support the fight against cancer.

    While Pantene has made the decision to discontinue its Beautiful Lengths program, the American Cancer Society will continue to provide free wigs – both real and synthetic – where available, as well as provide community referrals. We also will refer people wishing to donate their hair to other organizations that collect human hair. For a list of those organizations in your area, please contact your Mission Delivery staff partner.

  • Actress Vanessa Hudgens named American Cancer Society Global Ambassador

    The winner of our Super Bowl sweepstakes will get to sit next to her at the game

    The American Cancer Society welcomes a new global ambassador, actress Vanessa Hudgens, who is participating in an exclusive Super Bowl LIII weekend package to raise critical funds to fight cancer.

    “We are thrilled to welcome Vanessa Hudgens as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society,” said Sharon Byers, chief development, marketing, and communications officer. “Like so many of us, Vanessa brings personal experience of how devastating this disease can be, and we are grateful for her support.” Hudgens’ father lost his battle with throat cancer in January 2016, and she has been active in fighting cancer through her charity work.

    Hudgens, the American Cancer Society, and the National Football League (NFL) will offer the winner of the Super Bowl sweepstakes package an incredible weekend experience.  With a minimum $10 contribution to the Society, one lucky fan (and a guest) will win the Ultimate Super Bowl Weekend, February 1-3, 2019, and sit next to Hudgens at the game. Entries will be accepted through Jan. 25.

    The prize includes two tickets to Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, pre-game sideline passes for a once-in-a-lifetime view from the field, a meet-and-greet with the halftime show headliner, two tickets to the NFL Honors award show, and access to the hottest parties including Rolling Stone, DirectTV, and Wheels Up. Round-trip airfare and lodging are included. This package is made possible because of a partnership with the NFL and Fanthropic, a 15 Seconds of Fame company.

    “Cancer has taken the lives of so many people I love,” said Hudgens. “It ate away at my father’s body for years before he was diagnosed and when he was, it was too late. The same thing happened to my partner’s mother. It was a traumatizing time and I’m still dealing with the pain of the loss. I hate cancer and the pain it brings to everyone surrounded by it. I am so proud and excited to help the American Cancer Society do everything possible to fight back against this awful disease. We can all do more to help save lives and support those dealing with cancer."

    All proceeds will support the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which promotes health equity and addresses cancer-related disparities. CHANGE grants are funded by the NFL’s Crucial Catch partnership with ACS. Funds raised address cancer prevention, early detection, and timely access to follow-up care, helping more people catch cancer early, when it may be easier to treat. These efforts have impacted more than 750,000 people, particularly in high-risk communities. 

    About Vanessa Hudgens 

    Hudgens made her feature film debut in Thirteen and rose to prominence portraying Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical film series. The success of the first film led to Hudgens' acquiring a recording contract with Hollywood Records, with whom she released two studio albums, V and Identified. In addition to High School Musical, Hudgens has appeared in various films and television series for the Disney Channel. She has appeared in the films BandslamBeastlySucker PunchJourney 2: The Mysterious IslandSpring Breakers, and Machete Kills. She made her Broadway debut in 2015 in the title role of the musical Gigi. In 2016, Hudgens starred in the Fox TV production of Grease: Live as Rizzio.  Hudgens can currently be seen starring alongside Jennifer Lopez in the film Second Act ,as well as the Netflix original film The Princess Switch.  Next, Hudgens will be seen as Maureen in Fox’s Rent: Live, as well as in the Netflix thriller Polar

  • House votes to defend Affordable Care Act in U.S. Court of Appeals

    On Jan. 9, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to petition to intervene in a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that could determine the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House will ask to join 17 attorneys general in the appeal of a December District Court ruling that found the entire ACA invalid because Congress eliminated the individual mandate penalty in its 2017 tax reform bill.

    If allowed to stand, the ruling would eliminate critical protections for people with pre-existing conditions and minimum insurance standards known as essential health benefits, which ensure comprehensive coverage.

    Following is a joint statement from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The groups, representing millions of patients with serious illnesses, filed a joint amicus brief in District Court in support of upholding the law:

    “The House of Representatives has made clear it will defend the nation’s health care law and stand up for the millions of patients who rely on the law for access to comprehensive, high-quality health care coverage. The House’s action affirms that Congress did not intend to strike down the entire law when it zeroed out the mandate penalty and underscores the importance of Congressional intent in this appeal.

    “If the ruling is upheld, millions of patients with serious illnesses as well as anyone with a pre-existing condition could be charged more for health coverage or denied access to coverage altogether.  Health plans would no longer be required to cover essential benefits necessary to prevent and treat a serious condition, and plans could once again put annual and lifetime limits on coverage.

    “On behalf of patients with cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis, we commend Members of the House of Representatives for putting patients first and defending the health care law. We are optimistic the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will overturn the lower court’s ruling and preserve health care for millions of Americans.”

  • How much do you know about cervical cancer?

    January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, an excellent time to test our knowledge of a cancer that the American Cancer Society believes could be eliminated with widespread adoption of the HPV vaccine.

    Here are 10 true or false questions. You'll find the answers at the bottom.

    1.     The pap test, one of two types of tests used to detect cervical cancer, is named after George Papanicolaou, MD (1883–1962). True or false?

    2.     Most cervical cancers are caused by HPV. True or false?

    3.     Most cervical cancers can be prevented by regular screening. True or false?

    4.     Only women need to be concerned about HPV? True or false?

    5.     Cervical cancer grows slowly and tends to occur in midlife. True or false? 

    6.     Once vaccinated against HPV, women no longer need Pap tests and HPV tests. True or false?

    7.     A family history of cervical cancer and HPV infections can increase your risk for cervical cancer. True or false?

    8.     HPV infection is very common. Most men and women who have ever had sex get at least one type of genital HPV at some time in their lives. True or false?

    9.    There is no treatment for HPV, but in most cases it goes away without treatment. True or false?

    10.   All women should have cervical cancer screenings beginning at age 21. Women ages 21 to 29 should receive a Pap test every 3 years. True or false?


    1.     True. The PAP test was developed by George Papanicolaou, MD,  in the 1920s. At first, most doctors were skeptical, and it was not until the American Cancer Society promoted the test during the early 1960s that this test became widely used. Cervical cancer mortality rates have decreased by more than 50 percent over the past four decades.

    2.    True. The human papillomavirus (pap-ah-LO-mah-VI-rus) or HPV is known to cause almost all cervical cancers. HPVs are a large group of related viruses. Each virus in the group is given a number, which is called an HPV type. Most HPV types cause warts on the skin, such as on the arms, chest, hands, or feet. Other types are found mainly on the body's mucous membranes, such as the vagina, anus, mouth, and throat. The HPV types found on mucous membranes are sometimes called genital HPV. Genital HPV is not the same as HIV or herpes. Low-risk HPV causes warts (papillomas) on or around the genitals and anus of both men and women, and they rarely cause cancer. Other types of HPV are called "high-risk" because they can cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women, as well as certain mouth, throat, and anal cancers in men and women, and penile cancer in men. Doctors worry more about the cell changes and pre-cancers linked to these types, because they're more likely to grow into cancers over time. Common high-risk HPV types include HPV 16 and 18.

    3.    True. Cervical cancer is preventable with vaccines and regular screening tests. More than half of the women in the U.S. who get cervical cancer have never had or rarely had a Pap test. Cervical cancer can be found early and even prevented with routine screening tests. The Pap test looks for changes in cervical cells caused by HPV infection, while the HPV test find HPV infections that can lead to cell changes and cancer. Although HPV can be spread during sexual contact – including vaginal, anal, and oral sex – sex isn't the only way for the infection to spread. All that's needed is skin-to-skin contact with an area of the body infected with HPV. 

    4.   False. Any man or woman who has ever had any sexual contact with another person can get HPV, even if they only had one partner, however infections are more likely in people who have had many sex partners. Because males can get HPV, vaccines are also given to pre-teen boys and girls to protect them from HPV infections. These vaccines are recommended at ages 11 or 12, but can start as early as age 9.

    5.  True. Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed between the ages of 34 and 44, with only 15% of cases found in women over 65.

    6.  False. Even women who have received the HPV vaccine are not covered against all the types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer. There are about a dozen high-risk types of HPV that cause cervical cancer. The vaccine protects against the seven that are responsible for most HPV-caused cancers. That's why all women, even those who are vaccinated, need to follow guidelines for screening. 

    7.  True. And women who don't have health insurance or adequate coverage also have a greater risk of developing and dying from cervical cancer. That's because high-quality cancer screening is not as easily available to everyone equally. Neither is high-quality follow-up care after abnormal results from screening. 

    8.  True. HPV infections are very common. Most HPV infections are cleared by the body without causing problems, but some infections do not clear and can lead to cell changes that might cause cancer.  Chronic, or long-lasting infection, especially when it's caused by certain high-risk HPV types, can cause cancer over time. You cannot get HPV from toilet seats, hugging or holding hands, swimming pools or hot tubs, sharing food or utensils, or being unclean. At higher risk for HPV-related health problems are gay and bisexual men and people with weak immune systems (including those who have HIV/AIDS).

    9.  True. There's no treatment for the virus itself, but there are treatments for the cell changes that HPV can cause. 

    10. True. And, for women ages 30 to 65, the preferred way to screen is with a Pap test combined with an HPV test every 5 years. This is the preferred approach, but it is also OK to have a Pap test alone every 3 years. Women over age 65 who have had regular screenings with normal results should not be screened for cervical cancer. Women who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer or pre-cancer should continue to be screened according to the recommendations of their doctor. Women who have had their uterus and cervix removed in a hysterectomy and have no history of cervical cancer or pre-cancer should not be screened.

    Learn more at

  • Cancer Statistics 2019 reports a 25-year continuous decline in cancer death rate

    Racial gap narrowing while socioeconomic inequalities widen

    A steady, 25-year decline has resulted in a 27% drop in the overall cancer death rate in the U.S., translating to approximately 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths between 1991 and 2016. The data come from Cancer Statistics, 2019, the American Cancer Society’s widely-quoted annual report on cancer rates and trends. The article appears early online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and is accompanied by a consumer version, Cancer Facts & Figures 2019.

    The report estimates* that in 2019, 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 cancer deaths will occur in the U.S. Since its peak of 215.1 deaths (per 100,000 population) in 1991, the cancer death rate has dropped steadily by approximately 1.5% per year to 156.0 in 2016, an overall decline of 27%. This translates to an estimated 2,629,200 fewer cancer deaths than would have occurred if mortality rates had remained at their peak. Cancer is the only leading cause of death with continuous sustained declines over the past 25 years.

    The decline in cancer mortality over the past two decades is primarily the result of steady reductions in smoking and advances in early detection and treatment, which are reflected in the declines for the four major cancers: lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal.

    The death rate for lung cancer dropped by 48% from 1990 to 2016 among men and by 23% from 2002 to 2016 among women, with declines accelerating among both men and women in recent years. The death rate for female breast cancer dropped by 40% from 1989 to 2016. For prostate cancer, mortality dropped 51% from 1993 to 2016. Colorectal cancer mortality dropped by 53% from 1970 to 2016.

    In contrast to declines for the most common cancers, death rates rose from 2012 through 2016 for liver (1.2% per year in men; 2.6% per year in women), pancreatic (men only, by 0.3% per year), and uterine corpus (endometrial) cancers (2.1% per year), as well as for cancers of the brain and other nervous system, soft tissue (including heart), and sites within the oral cavity and pharynx associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV).

    The cancer incidence rate was stable in women and declined by approximately 2% per year in men over the past decade of available data (2006-2015). In men, the drop reflects accelerated declines during the past 5 years of approximately 3% per year for lung and colorectal cancers, as well as a drop of 7% per year for prostate cancer, which is attributed to decreased PSA testing. For women, declines in incidence have continued for lung cancer, but have tapered in recent years for colorectal cancer, while rates for other common cancers are increasing or stable, e.g., an increase of 0.4% per year for breast cancer.

    Although the racial gap in cancer mortality is slowly narrowing, socioeconomic inequalities are widening, with residents of the poorest counties experiencing an increasingly disproportionate burden of the most preventable cancers. For example, cervical cancer mortality among women in poor counties in the U.S. is twice that of women in affluent counties, while lung and liver cancer mortality is more than 40% higher in men living in poor counties compared to those in affluent ones. Meanwhile, socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality are small or non-existent for cancers that are less amenable to prevention and/or treatment, like pancreatic and ovarian cancers.

    Prior to the 1980s, socioeconomic deprivation was associated with lower cancer mortality. The most striking socioeconomic shift occurred for colorectal cancer mortality; rates in men in the poorest counties were approximately 20% lower than those in affluent counties in the early 1970s, but are now 35% higher. This reversal reflects changes in dietary and smoking patterns that influence CRC risk, as well as the slower dissemination of screening and treatment advances among disadvantaged populations. Obesity and smoking prevalence are two times higher in the poorest counties than in the most affluent.

    “These [poor] counties are low-hanging fruit for locally focused cancer control efforts, including increased access to basic health care and interventions for smoking cessation, healthy living, and cancer screening programs,” write the authors. “A broader application of existing cancer control knowledge with an emphasis on disadvantaged groups would undoubtedly accelerate progress against cancer.”

    Other statistics from the report:

    • In 2016, 22% of all deaths were from cancer, making it the second leading cause of death after heart disease in both men and women.
    • Cancer is the leading cause of death in many states, as well as in Hispanic and Asian Americans and people under 80.
    • Incidence has increased for melanoma and cancers of the liver, thyroid, uterine corpus, and pancreas.
    • Survival rates have improved for most cancer types, but advances have been slow for lung and pancreatic cancers, partly because greater than one-half of cases are diagnosed at a distant stage.
    • Despite progress in reducing smoking, 1 in 4 cancer deaths is still due to lung cancer, which resulted in more deaths in 2016 than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined.
    • Cervical cancer, which is almost completely preventable, killed almost 10 women a week who were in their 20s and 30s in 2016, highlighting the need for increased emphasis on screening among young women.

    This year's special section in Cancer Facts & Figures focuses on the “oldest old" 

    Adults ages 85 and older represent the fastest-growing population group in the U.S. The group’s numbers are expected to nearly triple from 6.4 million in 2016 to 19 million by 2060. Cancer risk increases with age, and the rapidly growing older population will increase demand for cancer care. People ages 85 and older represent 8% of all new cancer diagnoses, translating to about 140,690 cases in 2019.

    *Estimates should not be compared year-to year. They are based on computer models of cancer trends and population and may vary considerably. Cancer trends should be based on age-adjusted cancer incidence and death rates (expressed as the number of cancer deaths per 100,000 people).

  • Year in review: cancer research insights from 2018

    From finding new genes associated with an increased risk for triple negative breast cancer to checking for cancer in a small sample of blood, 2018 was a year of countless new insights and advances.

    Click through the pictures on to to learn about 10 research highlights, including many that were funded by the American Cancer Society.

    Included in this round-up is the American Cancer Society National Cancer Control Blueprint. The Blueprint's goal is to provide evidence about what we've done, and still do, to decrease deaths from cancer. It also prompts cancer organizations and experts to work harder together to save more lives.

  • Proportion of cancers associated with excess body weight varies considerably by state

    Cancers related to body weight twice as predominant in women than in men

    The proportion of cancers attributable to excess body weight varies among states, but accounts for at least 1 in 17 of all incident cancers in each state, according to a new American Cancer Society study published Dec. 27 in JAMA Oncology.

    This nationwide cross-sectional study of U.S. adults found that the proportion of cancers attributable to excess body weight ranges from 3.9% to 6.0% among men, and from 7.1% to 11.4% among women, with the highest proportions found in several southern and midwestern states, Alaska, and the District of Columbia.

    Excess body weight is an established cause of cancer, currently known to be linked to 13 cancers. While differences in excess body weight among states in the United States are well-known, there is little information on the burden of obesity-related cancers by state, information that would be useful for setting priorities for cancer control initiatives.

    To learn more, American Cancer Society investigators led by Farhad Islami (pictured here), MD., PhD., scientific director, Surveillance Research, calculated the population attributable fraction (PAF) of incident cancer cases attributable to excess body weight among adults aged ≥30 years in 2011-2015 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

    They found that in both men and women, there was at least a 1.5-fold difference between states with the highest and lowest proportions of cancers attributable to excess body weight. Among men, the population attributable fraction (PAF) ranged from 3.9% in Montana to 6.0% in Texas. The PAF for women was approximately twice as high as for men, ranging from 7.1% in Hawaii to 11.4% in the District of Columbia. 

    The proportion was far greater for some individual cancer types. For endometrial cancer, for example, the PAF was 50.0% or more in 19 states, and ranged from 36.5% in Hawaii to 54.9% in Mississippi.

    "Broad implementation of known community- and individual-level interventions is needed to reduce access to and marketing of unhealthy foods (eg, through a tax on sugary drinks) and to promote and increase access to healthy foods and physical activity, as well as preventive care," the authors wrote.

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