Women's Health USA 2007
Photographs of women's faces
Health Status > Health Indicators

It is estimated that just over 270,000 females will die of cancer in 2007. Lung and bronchus cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among females, accounting for 26 percent of cancer deaths, followed by breast cancer, which is responsible for 15 percent of deaths. Colon and rectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and ovarian cancer are also significant causes of cancer deaths among females. Due to the varying survival rates for different types of cancer, the most common causes of cancer death are not always the most common types of cancer. For instance, although lung and bronchus cancers cause the greatest number of deaths, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Other types of cancer that are common among females but are not among the top 10 causes of cancer deaths include melanoma, thyroid cancer, and cancer of the kidney and renal pelvis. In addition, other types of cancer, such as some skin cancers, are common but may not lead to death.

There are noticeable differences between the sexes in top causes of cancer mortality. The top 10 causes of cancer deaths among women include breast cancer in addition to 2 sex-specific cancers, ovarian and uterine, while the top ten causes of cancer deaths among men include only 1 sex-specific cancer: prostate cancer. Because of differences in the occurrence of sex-specific cancers, several of the top 10 causes of cancer deaths among males do not rank as high among females, including cancers of the bladder and esophagus.

Sex-specific cancers among females have varying survival rates. Breast cancer has the highest 5-year survival rate, with 89.1 percent of females diagnosed with cancer living for at least 5 years after diagnosis. This high survival rate explains why breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women but not the leading cause of cancer death. Uterine cancer also has a high survival rate (83.0 percent), followed by cervical cancer (71.3 percent). The lowest survival rate for sex-specific cancers among females occurs with ovarian cancer at a rate of 44.9 percent. For each of the sex-specific cancers shown, survival rates are higher for White females than Black females. The two leading causes of death due to non-sex-specific cancers among females are lung and bronchus cancer and colon and rectum cancer, with a 5-year survival rate of 17.7 percent and 64.1 percent respectively (data not shown).


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Women's Health USA 2007 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2007. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007.