Which Countries Have the Highest and Lowest Cancer Rates? [Updated 2019]

There were an estimated 18 million cancer cases around the world in 2018, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International. Of those cases, the United States had the fifth highest number of new diagnoses, with 352 cases per 100,000 people.

These statistics are age-standardized — a summary measure of the rate of disease that a population would have if it had a standard age structure. Age has a powerful influence on the risk of dying from cancer, therefore standardization is necessary when comparing populations that differ in respects to age.

What are the countries with the highest cancer rates?

  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. Ireland
  4. Hungary
  5. United States
  6. Belgium
  7. France (metropolitan)
  8. Denmark
  9. Norway
  10. Netherlands

What are the countries with the lowest cancer rates?

  1. Israel
  2. French Polynesia
  3. Lebanon
  4. Bulgaria
  5. French Guiana
  6. Austria
  7. Japan
  8. Singapore
  9. Malta
  10. Martinique (France)

Highest versus lowest:

  • Australia: 468 per 100,000 (46.8 people)
  • Israel: 233.6 per 100,000 (23.4 people)

43 thoughts on “Which Countries Have the Highest and Lowest Cancer Rates? [Updated 2019]”

  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.

    • In my own personal opinion, looking at different research. Cancer might occur more often as you say as due to increased age, athough I haven’t read anything to support this. But regardless of age, Cancer is not something we are born with, we are not meant to be ill, therefore what we consume and the environment is the reason. Food, water, air, stress etc…but if you look at any research to see where the highest and lowest cancer rates you will see that countries which are poor, high in veg & fruit, but too expensive to buy meat, are where the less cancer rates are (parts of Africa, South-West Asia). Which suggests diet, our food, which is our fuel, is one of THE reasons.

    • Why live a longer life full of sorrow, loneliness, misery when you can die slightly younger with a full happy life. These people who have nothing walk around with a smile on there face I’ve seen it, there happy around there “FAMILY”.

  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.

    • 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……

    • Counties in South America have some of the highest red meat diets. So, why aren’t they in the top five?

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. A female scientist contracted cancer she set to work researching cause of cancer. After lengthy research she came up with over 60 percent of cancers where coursed by outside influence for example vehicle exhaust fumes general pollutions in the atmosphere to much sun uv work environments aircraft pollution. Also polluted foods fruits and vegetables use of pesticides smoking cigarettes full of chemicals alcohol in particular excessive beer drinking which is now known to cause colon cancer.

  10. Scientists are now thinking Cancer has a solid link to fructose. It’s the one thing our body doesn’t really need. It gets metabolized in our liver and coats it in fat.

    When fructose is fed to cancer cells, it causes them to divide and multiply rapidly. Fructose is in nearly every damn food you can pull off the shelf, and it’s usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

    Next time your in a store, look at a label. Look under carbs to see if it has sugar in it. If it does, it’s high fructose corn syrup, and nearly everything food out there has it.

    That is the culprit, and the only way you’ll avoid it is by sticking to a diet in red meat, chicken, fish, veggies, nuts and seeds, with fruit sparingly. Which is basically what our ancestors did.

    There is a reason why Japan is so low on the list in cancer yet have long lives; their traditional diets are basically absent of fructose.

  11. @Amanda, totally agree with you. It’s a shame scientists have discovered it so late, something which was obvious to me since I was a teenager. Cancer feeds on sugar, which is also in fruit, which is seemingly not that beneficial to your healh as they caimed it to be. I’d opt for meat, fish, eggs, veggies.

  12. It’s because red meat nor fat is the culprit. Sugar is. A lot of scientific research has proven it, contrary to the common belief. People have always eaten meat and fat, sugar wasn’t so omnipresent as it is now.

  13. Why should we have to play Russian Roulette with our lives ? People sit and try to figure out what is healthier to eat.. fruit or meats ? This is not how people are supposed to be living, being concerned all the time if we choose the right food to live or the wrong food to die ! If what they are doing, altering our foods is making people sick than people need to take a stand and sue the people that are allowing these life threating chemicals into our foods. No different than half other law suits out there, like when people sue Mc D’s for gaining weight, or suing car companies for not standing by their word as per gas millage only these chemicals are killing people. Is it the governments way of population control ? All these chemically enhanced altered foods are allowed on the market today and then the injected chemicals into our animals, and sometimes even cloning our livestock, it has really got to make people suspicious about everyone and everything when it comes to our food and health. How many years have they been “trying” to find cures for cancer
    but have not succeeded in the process. Think about when you were younger and if you can ever remember hearing of so many cancer cases on the news ? So what has changed from then until now? People grew up on T.V. dinners in the early days which was a popular food, so how can anyone pin point it? Maybe they are trying to find a cure when they should be looking at preventative shots against the cancer from attacking peoples systems, after all if it is coming from the foods we eat, than protect us from it !

  14. Sun Light has proven to be a major factor, patients generally have a better prognosis during the summer than the winter winter.
    Plus some contries are just better at locating the disease than others

  15. To quote Data, “does not compute”. That conclusion would mean that countries other than the top ten don’t have access to medical services, so people are probably sick with cancer but don’t know it. That is beyond illogical. Get real, the US is in the top ten, so why so many cancer patients, talking into account there are medical services in every single state? Here is a hypothetical case, actually not hypothetical. My daughter was diagnosed with a type of leukemia that HAS BEEN linked to chemicals used in farming. She was afraid of chemotherapy, (not ever remotely as much as me, since I used to review high cost medical treatments, to determine needs and payment for one of the top two healthcare insurance company – signed paper so I can’t say which). I told her try a herbalist, she did, went in to remission, it became active, so she went back to the treatment, eight years later, she is fine. Father in law (very rich, very large farm) made fun of her. Karma got him and he got the same exact leukemia. Went to Mayo Clinic (rich after all). Six months later he died, a week before he asked me daughter for the name of her herbalist, which was a waste of time because she can no longer help people because as a condition of “practicing medicine without a licence” sentence, although she had a sign saying she was not a medical doctor and was only a herbalist, she is not in jail. Fast forward to now, youngest brother in law, has the same cancer and he was already told it had spread all over his body and his chances are slim. He is still in his late twenties. So what is the difference? All lived (or live since only one is dead so far) in the same 4,000 acre farm. Herbal treatment, change in diet to organic and cook from scratch, VS treatment at one of the best known and respected clinics. This (in theory) does not compute either. Me, as long as my only daughter if fine I have no complains. As to me, since I changed to organic and cook my own stuff (much which I also grow) at 69, I haven’t been sick since 1999. So much for age.

  16. Came back after doing some more research, this time at the World Cancer Research Fund International. (“The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Executive Board has confirmed that World Cancer Research Fund International has been granted official relations status with the WHO.”) Same top ten, US still number 6, but there the top 50 were listed. So what is so strange. Puerto Rico and the US are under the exact same agency (the US Department of Health). So what? The US is number 6, Puerto Rico is number 50. Same agency, same accreditation people, same medical system. So why is there a 44 place difference. One guess: the diet.

  17. Stop fooling yourselves and others with stupid explanations! Of course its the chemicals that cause cancer. We have so many chemicals in everything nowadays its not even funny. We’re all packed in cities, taught to stress out over anything, eating crap full of pesticides and such, breathing polluted air. HOW can we possibly remain healthy? And dont have blind trust in every scientist or every international organization out there, they are not God and many of these structures are supported by corporations.

  18. Such BS

    Half the nations of the world don’t even get people in to be diagnosed let alone treated.

    You show incredibly bad third world nations in Africa where people die daily from malnutrition as having the lowest cancer rates and we are to use that information as if it is of some importance?

    In a highly developed society with significant resources available to en educated population, one would hope diagnosis and treatment would be at very high levels if not for the availability of those procedures.

    The conclusions drawn from this are specious at best. Reminds one of global warming stats. Total without true merit. Designed to fit an already existing hypothesis.

  19. Niger diet (from wikipedia): “The cuisine of Niger takes after many traditional African cuisines, and a significant amount of spices are used in dishes. Grilled meat, seasonal vegetables, salads and various sauces are some of the foods consumed.

    Meals in Niger usually start with colorful salads made from seasonal vegetables. Typical Nigerien meals consist of a starch (rice being the most popular) paired with a sauce or stew. The stews are usually made with vegetables because meat is very scarce. The starches eaten most often are millet and rice. Staple foods include millet, rice, cassava, sorghum, maize and beans.[1][2] Couscous is saved for special occasions. Porridge, wheat dumplings, and beignets are some of Niger’s popular snacks.[3]”

    Notice “meat is very scarce.”

  20. The human body is largely red meat. There is little nutritional similarity between factory beef, and say elk or deer meat. It’s not the red meat that is the problem, rather what the “meat” ate, or was forced to eat.

    Wikipedia aflatoxin entry states aflatoxin eaten by cows can transfer to those who eat its meat. Where does aflatoxin come from? CEREAL GRAINS largely! It is among the most to toxic and carcinogenic substances found in nature. Factory beef is forced to eat this unhealthy grain diet on the feed lot to fatten it up. When this began, it even killed the cows, hence the antibiotics added to the grain. Oh gee, now there’s that too. Plus the inflamatory stress hormones produced in the cow in the crowded feed-lot.

    Now, compare to natural red meat from animals who ate and leisured as they were meant to, including cows..

    100% pastured, grass fed, never-fed-grain bears little resemblance to factory beef, or elk, or deer.

    When you see someone ranting about “red meat” being unhealthy, which it is not, you can immediately assume they have a bias or agenda, just as the researcher’s epidemiological NON-science did. Grouping all red meat into one category is your first clue.

    Proper red meat is very healthy, whole grains are very unhealthy. The upside-down food pyramid diet guidelines have closely correlated to the exploding chronic disease rates in this country.

    I’m just sayin!

  21. Typo. My failure to proofread. Paragraph four of my prior post should read:

    “Like elk or deer, 100% pastured, grass fed, never-fed-grain beef bears little resemblance to factory beef.”

  22. Cancer wasn’t crrated yesterday. The ancient Greeks wrote about it. There are many potential causes for cancer, and it is impossible to identify them all. Cancer is not one disease. but many. It might better be described as an effect. It’s what happens when the DNA in a cell gets corrupted in a specific way and then replicated instead of repaired, and the cells grow out of control. Your body should function better at repairing broken DNA and eliminating these alien cells, but as we age the repair processes of the body slowly break down. Children with the aging disease progeria suffer from all the diseases we attribute to aging, from liver spots to heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Although we will soon cure many forms of cancer with new viral treatment modalities, it is important to remember that we all suffer from the same genetic disease: physical aging. Most of our efforts should go into halting and reversing that disease, whether based on the free radical theoru or the neuro endocrine theory or other models. Cancer gave us a beautiful opportunity to observe a model for fighting physical aging. Cancsr cells, although they have short telomeres, are called immortal cells because they defy the Hayflick limit and can replicate and live on forever. This is largely due to the production of telomerase, which protects the telomeres from free radical damage. Telomerase is itself not a carcinogen, and is found naturally occuring in astragalus. We can conquer the disease of aging as well as all cancers. It can happen in your lifetime. The adeno associated virus serotype 2 has already shown us how to kill cancer. Now let’s cure aging.

  23. Wow.. Nice to know that those country where cancer rate is lowest, has low standard quality of living or the majority of citizens are middle-class while most country where cancer rate is highest are 1st-world country where the majority of citizen has highest standard of living which are envied by people from 3rd-world countries. I guess it has something to do with the diet and lifestyle. 🙂

  24. They should have done this by countries with the same life expectancy. Curve for that and you get a better understanding of what may be preventing cancer. Likely goes back to diets and overblown chemical industries.

  25. My father died due to blood cancer, he was +85 he was very fit, no sugar, no blood pressure, no cholesterol. But he was diagnosed blood cancer, acute leukemia, he lived one year after diagnosis, he lived 1 year healthy life just with blood transfusion. He was admitted with acute obstruction of stomach with unbearable pain, fainted very in 2 or 3 days never came back. His life style was village life with hard working mostly eat bionic food milk, and meet. He was fond of deer hunting which was common in our desert type villages. His friend also died due to blood cancer with same surroundings, he was also fond of deer hunting and eat the deer as my father, he died around +90, his all other organs were healthy no sugar no blood pressure, etc, my fathers 2nd friend also died due to blood cancer, he was also fond of deer hunting and eating deer meat, he died in young age around 50. I am not relating deer meat with blood cancer. But just putting the similarities to assess the rising situation of Blood Cancer, i have also doubts that some type of controlled radiation instrument can create blood cancer, or some medicine good for one disease can generate other disease blood cancer.

  26. The reason why many developed countries has many people who have cancer is because of their toxic foods and smoking level in youth is high,that why they are likely to get it in their old age,we should more often think about our daily diet and take care of ourselves.

  27. Randy, Very astute point re: grains & chronic inflammation. Could you point me in a research info. direction, stats., etc. A new example although short term in nature, is the inflammation effect of a PRP proceedure used to heal many injuries. For a short time, blood work goes off the scale with very elevated PSA & CRP(C-reactive protein) numbers. Send any info. to pneall@gmail.com.

    Thank you in advance. Hope you read this. P

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