← Previous  Next →
9. Every 20 Seconds.

During their lifetime, men have a 50% chance of getting cancer and women have about a 33% chance.

Diagnosis Per Year
In 2007 it was estimated that 1.44 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer. Think of it this way: Every 20 seconds - of every hour of every day - someone is told: "You have cancer."

Your Chances
During your lifetime, here are your chances of getting cancer: Men. 1 in 2 or 50% risk. Women.1 in 3 or 33% risk.

Deaths Per Year
According to the most recent statistics (from 2004), cancer and heart disease run neck and neck as the #1 Killer of Americans. About 50 years ago, it was a different picture.

In 1950, 35% of deaths were caused by heart disease, 15% by cancer, and 50% by other causes. In 2004, 27% of deaths were caused by heart disease, 23% by cancer and 50% by all other causes.

The Future
Cancer, in just a few years, is likely to overtake heart disease as this nation's #1 cause of death. Part of the reason is that deaths due to heart disease are rapidly declining - due to remarkable preventative measures (e.g., statins keep down cholesterol levels) and very successful surgical interventions (angioplasty and by-pass operations). Meanwhile, there is much more cancer to cure. It really is an "old person's disease." Americans are living longer and so many more of us are being diagnosed with cancer.