New Cancer Cases Expected to Reach a Record High in 2024

The American Cancer Society (ACS) projects over 2 million new cancer cases in the United States for 2024, marking the highest one-year total ever recorded. This increase in cancer incidence is driven by the aging and growth of the population and a rise in diagnoses of 6 of the 10 most common cancers, including breast, prostate, endometrial, pancreatic, kidney, and melanoma​​​​.

Key Factors Contributing to the Increase

  • Aging Population: The growing number of older adults is a significant factor contributing to the increase in cancer cases. Cancer rates generally rise with age, and as more people live well beyond 75 or 80 years, cancer incidences naturally increase.
  • Diagnoses in Younger Populations: There’s a noticeable rise in cancer diagnoses among younger Americans. For instance, colorectal cancer, traditionally associated with individuals over 50, has emerged as a leading cause of cancer deaths among Americans under 50.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and other lifestyle factors are also contributing to the rise in cancer cases. Obesity is linked to several cancers, including pancreatic, kidney, post-menopausal breast cancer, and, to some extent, colorectal cancer.
  • Screening and Early Detection: Improved cancer screening and early detection methods are likely contributing to the increase in diagnosed cases. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a backlog in cancer screenings, which might also be influencing the current rise in diagnosed cases​​​​.

Cancer Mortality Trends

Despite the rising number of new cases, the overall cancer death rate has declined by about one-third over the last 30 years. This decline is attributed to reduced smoking rates, earlier detection of some cancers, and advancements in treatment. However, the increasing incidence of common cancers might jeopardize this progress. In 2024, more than 611,000 deaths from cancer are projected in the U.S​​​​.

Colorectal Cancer Among Young Adults

Colorectal cancer has become particularly concerning for younger populations. This cancer type has moved from being the fourth leading cause of cancer death two decades ago to the first in men and second in women under 50. The rise in colorectal cancer among young adults underscores the importance of increased awareness and screening, especially given the growing trend of obesity among younger age groups​​​​.


The projection of over 2 million new cancer cases in the United States in 2024 is a significant concern for public health. While advancements in cancer treatment and detection have led to a decrease in mortality rates, the growing number of new cases, especially among younger adults, highlights the need for ongoing research, prevention efforts, and awareness about the risk factors contributing to cancer incidence.