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For Immediate Release: February 1, 2012
Contact: Mya Nelson, m.nelson@aicr.org, 202-328-7744 x3047

Number of US Cancer Cases Expected to Rise 55 Percent Higher by 2030 …

… But Healthy Changes Today Could Prevent Over 740,000 Cancers Tomorrow

WASHINGTON, DC – First, the bad news: The number of new cancer cases that occur in the US each year is expected to surge as the population grows and ages; by the year 2030, that number will be over 50 percent higher than it is now. The good news, say experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), is that this figure can be significantly reduced if Americans start making healthy changes today.

In 2008, there were 1,437,199 new cancer cases in the US. It is estimated that 2,220,692 new cases of cancer will occur in the US in the year 2030 – a 55 percent increase. (Mexico will experience a 52 percent increase by 2030, Canada will experience a 66 percent increase.)

AICR is announcing these figures to mark World Cancer Day on February 4 and draw attention to the rising burden of cancer. But the cancer research organization is also taking the opportunity to highlight its estimate that about one-third of the most common cancers could be prevented through eating a healthy diet, being physically active and keeping off excess weight.

In other words, over 740,000 of those predicted 2,220,692 cancers don't have to happen.

"We know that the US population will grow, and grow older, by 2030. We also know that cancer becomes more common as we age, but it's not inevitable," said AICR Registered Dietitian Alice Bender.

"The key is aging healthfully. By eating smart, moving more and keeping weight off as we age, we can lower our risk for many cancers.

"The message is clear: The time to take action is right now. The small, everyday healthy changes we make today will mean fewer cancers tomorrow."

The 2030 estimate is based on World Health Organization data regarding population growth, age and cancer incidence, and does not take into account changes in lifestyle habits.

World Cancer Day is February 4th

World Cancer Day seeks to focus attention on the global cancer epidemic through the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and its members around the world.

"World Cancer Day provides an opportunity to raise people's awareness about the ways they can change their lifestyles to reduce their risk of cancer," said Marilyn Gentry, President of AICR and the World Cancer Fund global network. "This is vital if we are to reach the target of reducing deaths from cancer and other non-communicable diseases by 25 per cent by 2025 &nd a goal that the World Health Organization believes is achievable."

Dierdre McGinley-Geiser, AICR Vice-President for Programs, added: "World Cancer Day also allows us to focus attention on governments to call on them to do more to tackle the risk factors common to cancer and other non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

"Measures to reduce the fat, sugar and salt content of food and drinks, and to improve the opportunities for physical activity – these are the type of developments we need, which will help cut these predictions of future cancer cases even further."

Notes to Editors

  • Figures from GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC); 2010. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr/ (Click on PREDICTION for the cancer case estimation tool.) Accessed on 1/31/12.
  • IARC is a subsidiary body of the World Health Organization.
  • Cancer Day is held on February 4, focusing on prevention. The day's slogan is 'Together it is Possible'. More information at: http://www.worldcancerday.org/
  • Read more about what AICR and the WCRF global network are doing to support World Cancer Day at: http://www.aicr.org/about/world-cancer-day-home.html


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $95 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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