In 2012, there were an estimated 8.2 million deaths from cancer in the world: 4.7 million (57%) in males and 3.5 million (43%) in females, giving a male:female ratio of 10:8. The World age-standardised (AS) mortality rate shows that there are 126 cancer deaths for every 100,000 men in the world, and 83 for every 100,000 females.
Use our interactive tool to explore the data by world region and individual country. For each region or country, numbers of deaths and World AS rates are given for all cancers combined and the most common cause of cancer death in that area.
Interactive Map of Cancer Mortality, World, 2012 Estimates
Cancer incidence and mortality statistics should be interpreted bearing in mind population size and age. Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is excluded. Kaposi sarcoma (C46) is included for Sub-Saharan Africa only.
The World AS mortality rates in males vary more than two-fold across the different world regions, ranging from 173 per 100,000 in Central and Eastern Europe to 68 per 100,000 in Western Africa (2012). In females, rates vary more than three-fold, ranging from 119 per 100,000 in Melanesia to 65 per 100,000 in South-Central Asia (2012).
Armenia has the highest cancer mortality rate in males (210 per 100,000), while Zimbabwe has the highest rate in females (146 per 100,000) (2012). Out of 84 countries worldwide, the UK has the 56th highest cancer mortality rate for males and 36th highest for females (2012).
Mortality rates also vary by human development index (HDI) value. In males, mortality rates are 51% higher in very high HDI countries (132 cases per 100,000) compared to low HDI countries (low/medium HDI) (87 cases per 100,000) (2012). In females, rates vary only slightly between very high HDI countries (85 cases per 100,000) and low HDI countries (87 cases per 100,000) (2012). Caution should be taken when interpreting cancer mortality by HDI values because differences may reflect differences in data quality.
- Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed December 2013.
- United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013). UN World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision. Accessed November 2013.