In addition to understanding where cancers happen, as seen in Cancer Infographic 1, I wanted to demystify when they happen.
Using data from the National Cancer Institute, I graphed total new cases versus deaths by age bracket for the most prevalent types of cancer. I decided to omit most of the data labels and keep only the first chart’s x-axis labeled to allow the bar lengths tell the story visually. Out of all the different views I tested, the one shown above was the most compelling to me.
Several remarkable patterns emerged in this view of the data. Overall, the greatest percentage of cancer cases and deaths occurs later in life. At around age 65, the percentage of deaths (darker colors) starts to outpace new cases (lighter tints). Acute lymphocytic leukemia accounts for the greatest number of new cancer cases for those under 20. In early adulthood, testicular cancer ranks highest, followed by Hodgkin’s disease. In mid-life and later, testicular cancer (starting at the longest blue bar) drops significantly, while prostate cancer starts to skyrocket (ending at the longest yellow bar). By age 85 and older, the numbers start to subside, although prostate cancer, urinary bladder cancer, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia still rank quite high.