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Massachusetts Cancer Statistics

The latest data and information related to cancer in Massachusetts

What Are the Most Recently Available Cancer Data?

Hospitals, physicians, pathology laboratories, and radiation therapy facilities are required to send information on newly diagnosed cases of cancer in Massachusetts to the Massachusetts Cancer Registry (MCR). To assure accuracy, multiple quality control activities are performed. Data are generally released 2-3 years after they are received. It may be even longer before Massachusetts data on cancer cases by city and town are released. Other cancer data, such as cancer deaths, may be available sooner.

What Should I know When Interpreting Cancer Data?

When examining the data, keep in mind:

  • Cancer is a general name for a variety of diseases with different causes and associated factors.
  • It can take many years from the time people are exposed to cancer-causing agents until the time they develop cancer.
  • Cancer rates may be different between geographic areas because of variations in racial/ethnic populations, screening rates for cancer, health behaviors (such as use of tobacco, eating habits, or levels of physical activity), or simply due to chance.
  • Rates based on a small number of cases or deaths should be interpreted cautiously.
  • Just because something is statistically significant does not necessarily mean there is a problem.

New Cancer Cases

  • In Massachusetts, from 2009 through 2013, there were 183,009 newly diagnosed cases of cancer, for an average annual age-adjusted incidence rate of 480.4 cases per 100,000 persons.
  • Overall, cancer incidence in Massachusetts slightly decreased from 2009 to 2013.
  • The most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in Massachusetts men for this time period was prostate cancer, followed by cancers of the bronchus and lung, colon/rectum, and urinary bladder.
  • Among Massachusetts women, the most commonly diagnosed cancer types were cancers of the breast, bronchus and lung, colon/rectum, and corpus uteri (uterus).

Percentage of Cancer Incident Cases by Cancer Type and Sex Massachusetts, 2009-2013

Cancer Incidence Males
Cancer Incidence Females


Cancer Deaths

  • From 2009 to 2013, there were 64,543 deaths from cancer among Massachusetts residents, for an average annual age-adjusted mortality rate of 162.9 deaths per 100,000 persons.
  • Cancer mortality in Massachusetts decreased from 2009 to 2013.
  • Cancer of the bronchus and lung was the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women between 2009 and 2013. Prostate cancer and breast cancer ranked second in mortality for Massachusetts men and women, respectively. The third most common type of cancer death in Massachusetts men and women for 2009-2013 was cancer of the colon/rectum.

Percentage of Cancer Deaths by Cancer Type and Sex Massachusetts, 2009-2013


Additional Cancer Statistics

Massachusetts Community Health Information Profile (MassCHIP) provides free online access to health and social indicators for cities and towns in Massachusetts. The database contains information that may be helpful in health planning for specific communities (for example, the percent of current smokers in a city or town). You can create Custom Reports with MassCHIP, or you can obtain information about a specific topic through Instant Topics. Click on the affiliation then find the appropriate cancer type for the instant topics.

Also see statistical publications related to cancer.


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