Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Cancer Mortality Rate

A cancer mortality rate is the number of deaths, with cancer as the underlying cause of death, occurring in a specified population during a year. Cancer mortality is usually expressed as the number of deaths due to cancer per 100,000 population. That is,

Mortality Rate = (Cancer Deaths / Population) × 100,000

The numerator of the mortality rate is the number of deaths; the denominator is the size of the population. The population used depends on the rate to be calculated. For cancer sites that occur in only one sex, the sex-specific population (e.g., females for cervical cancer) is used. The mortality rate can be computed for a given cancer site or for all cancers combined.

NCI has a variety of published reports and research tools for finding mortality statistics.

For definitions of statistics-related terms, see the Glossary of Statistical Terms.

  • Updated: December 4, 2009