The Deadliest Cancers, in One Chart

The state of the universe.
Feb. 11 2014 4:22 PM

Chart: The Deadliest and Most Common Cancers

Cancer mortality rates at five, 10, 15, and 20 years after diagnosis.

Here’s a chart that’s a little disturbing: The interactive graphic above, created by biotechnologist David Taylor and appearing first on his data-visualization blog, illustrates how common and deadly various types of cancer are. Each pie chart represents an organ (matched for color) and is sized according to the incidence of cancer of that organ. The charts are based on data from the American Cancer Society and a 2002 study of long-term survival rates. The red wedges show the proportion of patients who die from the cancer within the selected number of years after diagnosis.

As the chart reflects, breast and prostate cancers are the most common, with 235,000 and 239,000 new cases last year respectively. Fortunately, they are relatively survivable cancers, though their mortality rates more than double by the 20-year mark. Pancreatic cancer is the most deadly, killing 96 percent of patients within five years. That’s partly because pancreatic cancer typically does not cause symptoms until it’s at a late stage of progression. For the same reason, liver cancer is the second-deadliest cancer, killing 93 percent of patients within five years.

Chart reproduced here with permission.

Advertisement

Correction, Feb. 12, 2014: The size of the lung cancer pie chart was originally smaller than it should have been. The chart has now been resized to accurately reflect lung cancer's incidence.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.