Which Countries Have the Highest and Lowest Cancer Rates?


There were an estimated 14.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2012, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International. Of those cases, the United States had the sixth highest number of new diagnoses, with 318 cases per 100,000 people.

Below is an infographic showing the countries with the 10 highest and 10 lowest cancer rates:



  1. It seems likely to me that age/longevity is the actual reason for these differences. We know that age is the single greatest risk factor for all cancers and we can see that the countries with the highest cancer rates have much greater longevity than the countries with the lowest rates.

    • These figures, with the highest and lowest frequency of cancer, are poorly made. They have not taken into consideration that the countries with the highest frequency of cancer is the wealthier countries with good medicine, hospitals and generaly have a much longer lifespan compared to the countries with the lower frequences of cancer, whereas people die before they reach the age when cancer is a problem.

      But that is not how the story ends. You always need to put the information in perspective, and look at it from another angle. You have to think about the richer countries that eat more red meat, deep fried food, and generaly more unhealthy than the finacially difficult countries. This unhealthy living can create more cancer among the people. Also the countries with higher cancer frequencies have paler skin because there is not as much sun in these countries, but when people go on a holiday for a week in some exotic place and become as red as a tomato, they increase the chance of cancer. Whereas the countries with low cancer frequencies, have darker skin and are more immune to strong UV rays from the sun. It is also because most days in the countries with lower cancer frequencies, the sun shines, this means that people will have a stable comsumption of UV rays, which they european countries have colder weather most of the year. Then when they are on holiday and get a burst of UV rays, the explosive comsumption of UV rays can spark mutations to occure more frequent by the unstable comsumption.

      • Have you ever thought that it has a lot to do with the lack of actual food, read the back of a Hungry Man TV dinner sometime, there are about 168 chemicals in one of those, yum. Americans have been eating red meat since we killed the first cow and we have not had cancer for 1000’s of years. How about the lack of fat in our diet. Our brains are made up of about 60 percent fat.

    • Japan has great longevity but nowhere on the list for high cancer

  2. Bad science. You didn’t factor in detection rates. That is the health care system in Denmark is better at detecting cancer than say the health care system in Nigeria. This is common sense and empirically verifiable.

    • Dear Peter —
      Thank you for your comment. This data for this infographic was sourced from the International Agency for Research on Cancer GLOBOCAN project. More information on the data, including sources and methods, can be found at http://globocan.iarc.fr. Thank you again for reading our Insight blog.

  3. Another thing to consider is reportage, how many names for cancer are not cancer. Also, how about the fiasco up in northern Alberta in Canada where there were so many ”irregular” births that the data was removed from the web so as not to embarrass the fracking frackers at the SCAR sands.
    *Errors corrected

  4. Cancer occurs mainly in old age and as such those countries with low cancer rates are the ones where the people die before they reach the cancer age.

    One top of that poorer countries like Niger, Bhutan and Gambia do not have enough of qualified doctors to make the diagnosis of cancer and most types of cancer needs sophisticated diagnostic personnel and equipment to facilitate the diagnosis.

  5. What you must also take into consideration is diets. In these countries where there are lower instance rates they tend to have a more organic diet; ie eating native fruits and vegetables grown locally opposed to lots of protein in more industrialized nations. This also links to cancer incident rates. In America our life expectancy rate went DOWN from what it was in the past. This is because of poor eating habits, chemicals, gmo foods, etc not diagnosed in elderly but in an alarmingly increasing number of age ranges that should be healthy otherwise. To say poor detection is the reason of disparity among numbers and average life span is to ignore other scientific, quantifiable data that exists to the contrary. It is directly tied in to food systems, agricultural processes, toxins and added dna fragments to plant species in order to yield more desirable results on a profitability landscape. Do not brush these aside while compiling data and adhere biases propagated by the uneducated or poorly educated.

    • health is wealth

      Agree 100% with Jutin Davis’ comments. The quality of life for the last 20 years of your life span is very poor in the most advanced countries like Norway, USA, Denmark due to the high toxicity levels in food in these countries……

  6. As you can tell, countries with higher cancer rates are the ones that comsume more red meat…

  7. well it seems to me that we already have figured out what causes cancer and how to cure it just with the comments on this blog. Well done people you all have done what billions of dollars and hundreds of medical scientists couldn’t do.

  8. Shiva
    The prevalence of Cancer, i think must not be assessed just by these statistics. They keep varying and depend on a lot of factors. Better diagnostics and equipments always pave the way for better diagnosing. There are obviously some countries where there is no such modern cancer detection facilities. Henceforth, what needs to be addressed is the spiking cancer rates and their effective control and prevention all over the world. The need of the hour is to ascertain the risk factors and creating awareness about screening tests. There are however a lot of hospitals out there encashing and exploiting the rise in cancer. I have been made to remain dreaded of the disease as, i know the conditions here in India and i myself have many relatives who suffered from cancer.

  9. Cancer is often considered a disease of affluence, but about 70% of cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

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