National Cancer Institute  U.S. National Institutes of Health

Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2007 Update

Progress Report  Home

Progress Report Tools
 Print this page
 Generate custom report

Also in this Section
Person-Years of Life Lost

Also in the Report
Report Highlights
Summary Tables
Early Detection
Life After Cancer
End of Life

Person-Years of Life Lost
End of Life

Cancer is responsible for more estimated years of life lost than any other cause of death.

On this page:

Person-Years of Life Lost (PYLL)

Death rates alone do not give a complete picture of the burden that deaths impose on the population. Another useful measure, which adds a different dimension, is person-years of life lost (PYLL)—the years of life lost due to early death from a particular cause or disease. PYLL due to cancer helps to describe the extent to which life is cut short by cancer. On average, each person who dies from cancer loses an estimated 15.5 years of life.

Back to Top


PYLL due to a particular disease or cause: The difference between the actual age of death due to the disease/cause and the expected age of death. Specifically, this measure is estimated by linking life table data to each death of a person of given age and sex. The life table permits a determination of the number of additional years an average person of that age, race, and sex would have been expected to live.

Back to Top

Period – 2004

Back to Top

Trends – No trend data are available.

Back to Top

Most Recent Estimates

In 2004, cancer deaths were responsible for nearly 8.6 million PYLL. This is more than heart disease or any other cause of death.

Also in 2004, lung cancer accounted for nearly 2.4 million PYLL, the most by far for any cancer. In contrast, prostate cancer, which primarily affects older men, accounted for approximately 268,000 PYLL.

Back to Top

Healthy People 2010 Targets

There is no Healthy People 2010 target for this measure.

Back to Top

Groups at High Risk for the Most PYLL

Cancers that are both common and associated with poor survival are responsible for the most PYLL. Breast and colorectal cancers are also common cancers that strike people at a relatively young age and cause many years of life lost. Deaths from childhood cancers, which are uncommon, lead to the most years of life lost for the individual, but contribute only a small percentage to total PYLL.

Back to Top

Key Issues

The greatest impact on reducing the number of years lost to cancer will come from progress against common cancers—especially lung, breast, and colorectal cancers—as well as new scientific breakthroughs for cancers where the prognosis is poor (e.g., pancreatic cancer).

Additional Information on Person-Years of Life Lost

Back to Top

National Cancer InstituteDepartment of Health and Human ServicesNational Institutes of