Cancer in Texas

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Cancer is not just one disease, but many diseases. There are more than 100 kinds of cancer.1

To learn more general information about cancer, please visit the “What is Cancer?” page on the National Cancer Institute’s website. 

Cancer in Texas

Although we have taken significant steps to address the burden of cancer in Texas, it is still the second leading cause of death in our state, according to the Texas Cancer Plan. Almost every Texan, whether connected personally or through loved ones, has been affected by cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates the following numbers of new cancer cases and cancer deaths for Texas in 2020:2 

  • Estimated new cases of cancer: 129,77
  • Estimated cancer deaths: 41,810

Breast, prostate, and lung cancer are the most common cancer types in Texas. They are also the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in Texas.

The two most common risk factors for cancer are tobacco use and being overweight or obese. In 2016, 69% of Texas adults were classified as overweight or obese, with Texas having the 8th highest rate of obesity in the United States.3 In 2018, over 14% of Texas adults reported being current smokers, making Texas the state with the 40th highest rate of current smokers in the United States.

More information about cancer in Texas, including cancer rates, screening, and risk factor prevalence, can be found at the following websites:

Texas Cancer Registry

American Cancer Society Cancer Statistics Center

National Cancer Institute State Cancer Profiles


1 How to Prevent Cancer or Find It Early | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed July 12, 2019.
2 American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts & Statistics. American Cancer Society | Cancer Facts & Statistics.!/state/Texas. Accessed April 1, 2020.
3 Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Cancer Fast Stats. Texas Department of State Health Services. /sites/default/files/tcr/data/texas-cancer-fast-stats.aspx. Accessed July 12, 2019.