Cancer in Germany: these are the most common types of cancer

Cancer in Germany: these are the most common types of cancer

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Around half a million cancers in Germany

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recently announced the latest figures on cancer. According to this, almost half a million cancer cases were diagnosed in 2016. RKI experts explain which types of cancer occur most frequently.

The Center for Cancer Registry Data (ZfKD) at the RKI published the biennial journal "Cancer in Germany". The current issue deals with cancer cases in 2015 and 2016 and provides a forecast for the coming years.

The most common cancers in Germany

According to the Center for Cancer Registry Data, around 492,000 cancers were registered in Germany in 2016. The most common tumors concern

  • the mammary gland (68,900 cases),
  • the prostate (58,800 cases),
  • the colon (58,300 cases),
  • the lungs (57,500 cases).

Declining disease rates despite increasing total number

"Fortunately, for many types of cancer we are seeing a decline in disease rates, but the total number of cancers is still increasing due to the aging of society," said RKI President Lothar H. Wieler in a press release. An increase in newly diagnosed cancers is therefore expected in 2020. The RKI experts expect a total of around 510,000 cancer cases in 2020.

Cancer registration as an important research tool

Cancer is one of the most common causes of premature death, not only in Germany, but also worldwide. "Cancer registration as an important public health task aims to reduce the burden of cancer from the population," emphasizes the RKI President. This data can be used to visualize where research is needed and which measures are effective. The effectiveness of early detection programs or the effects of preventive measures, such as vaccination against human papillomaviruses, are also evident.

Small bowel and anal cancer: increasing number of new cases

In the current edition, figures on small bowel cancer and anal cancer were included for the first time. Although these types of cancer are rare tumors, there was an increasing number of new cases and deaths.

Which tumors are the most dangerous?

The journal also contains information on the survival rate of the next five years depending on the tumor stage at the time of diagnosis. Here it was shown that the outlook for survival fluctuated very strongly and depend to a large extent on the type of cancer. The chance of survival for malignant tumors of the lungs, liver and pancreas is only around 20 percent. Whereas 90 percent of those affected with malignant melanoma of the skin, testicular cancer or prostate cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis.

Light skin cancer is widespread

A separate chapter also deals with light skin cancer for the first time. The number of cases is not added to the other cancers, since this type of tumor is usually not life-threatening. Still, lighter skin cancer is common. Around 230,000 new cases are documented annually. Almost 1000 people die of it every year. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Robert Koch Institute: New figures on cancer in Germany (accessed: December 17, 2019),
  • Center for cancer registry data: Cancer in Germany for 2015/2016, status 2019,

Video: Prostate cancer (June 2022).


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