Healthy New Jersey

Healthy NJ 2020

Home > Topics > Cancer


Many cancers are preventable by reducing risk factors or getting appropriate vaccinations. Screening is effective in identifying some types of cancers in early, often highly treatable stages.1  Although the number of cancer deaths has experienced a significant decline over the years, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in New Jersey and the United States. Among some subpopulations, it is the leading cause of death.


Progress Toward Target

*Figures shown are a mix of counts, percentages, rates, and ratios. Click the Objective statement for more information about the corresponding measure.

Exceeding Target
At/Making progress toward Target
Not progressing toward Target
Negative progression toward Target

Overall, cancer is the second leading cause of death (after heart disease) in New Jersey.  Among some subpopulations, it is the leading cause of death.

Four cancers - lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal - represent almost half of all new cancer diagnoses and nearly half of all cancer deaths in the state. Lung cancer is the leading cause of deaths due to cancer in New Jersey and in the nation as a whole. This is true for both males and females and for each racial/ethnic group. In the United States, 80%-90% of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking.2  Breast cancer is the second leading cause of deaths due to cancer among women in New Jersey. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and, in New Jersey, is the third leading cause of death due to cancer among men, following colorectal cancer.

The New Jersey Department of Health and our partners recognize that each of these statistics represents a person’s life in our State and collaborated on a Comprehensive Chronic Disease Management Plan. Prevention, early detection, and treatment are the foundation to this Plan to combat cancer.

The New Jersey Department of Health has developed strong collaborative efforts with our partners, including the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the American Cancer Society. Additionally, the Department helps to support efforts through the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program (NJCEED) which provides comprehensive outreach, education, and screening services for breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancers.

There are four units responsible for the DOH cancer initiatives: Cancer Epidemiology Services, NJ Cancer Education and Early Detection Program (NJCEED), NJ Commission on Cancer Research, and the Office of Cancer Control and Prevention. Some of the activities related to these initiatives include:

  • the State Cancer Registry, which collects data on cancer incidence among New Jersey residents, generates cancer statistics, analyzes cancer trends, and conducts research activities;
  • outreach and screening services to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured residents of the state;
  • a commission to fund and promote innovative research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of cancer, and 
  • an office dedicated to implementing the NJ Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan by coordinating statewide and local activities designed to reduce the incidence, illness, and death due to cancer in New Jersey.


For more information, please refer to these resources:


  1. Cancer. Healthy People 2020. 10/08/20.
  2. What Are the Risk Factors for Lung Cancer?  CDC. 9/22/20.

to top