Toward Precision
Cancer Surveillance

Cancer Trends Progress Report: Fall 2020 Updates

In November 2020, NCI’s Cancer Trends Progress Report (CTPR), an online summary of trends in US cancer control measures, was updated with new incidence and mortality data from the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program and Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The CTPR provides cancer rates and trends for the US public and focuses on key measures of progress along the cancer control continuum: prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, life after diagnosis, and end of life. Many of the measures shown in the report are identical to those presented in Healthy People 2020, a comprehensive set of 10-year health objectives for the nation sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2030 targets will be featured in the next report release anticipated for early 2021.

Measures updated in November 2020 include diagnosis, survival, and mortality. Cancer incidence rates are falling for colorectal, lung and bronchus, cervical, and uterine cancer. Prostate cancer remains stable and shows no significant change from previous CTPR data, while breast cancer incidence rates are rising. Earlier diagnosis for colorectal and lung cancers may contribute to their increasing survival rates. However, prostate and cervical cancers have higher incidence rates at later stages, indicating a need for screenings and educational interventions regarding these cancers. Breast cancer has shown no significant change regarding stage at diagnosis.

Overall relative survival rates are improving for all cancers combined. Breast cancer survival rates are increasing slowly over time, while colorectal cancer as well as lung and bronchus cancer survival rates remain stable. However, the survival rate for prostate cancer is decreasing.

Mortality rates for cancer are falling overall and for certain cancer types; colorectal, lung and bronchus, breast, cervical, and uterine cancers all share in this statistic. Prostate cancer remains stable, indicating little to no change in cancer mortality rates from previous reports. Oropharyngeal mortality continues to decrease.

The report can help understand the nature of cancer, as well as the results of current strategies to fight cancer. To learn more about cancer trends in the United States see the CTPR Trends at a Glance. For information regarding specific cancers, see SEER’s Cancer Stat Facts Sheets.