The cancer market

Presently, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the world after cardiovascular disease. In 2018, there were an estimated 18 million patients diagnosed with cancer globally. One in five men and one in six women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime and one in eight men and one in eleven women die from the disease.1 The expected increase in number of cancer cases is due to several factors, including population growth, increase in the ageing population as well as the changing prevalence of certain causes of cancer linked to social and economic development.

Ovarian cancer in women

Cancer of the ovaries or fallopian tubes is a serious disease that often leads to death if it is detected late and metastases have formed. The early symptoms are non-specific and vague, leading to a disease that is difficult to diagnose. The overall occurrence of new cases globally is between 5 – 15 cases per 100,000 individuals.2 In Western Europe and the US, the incidence is between 6 – 8 cases per 100,000.3 Almost 300,000 women are estimated to develop the disease each year worldwide, of which approximately 700 cases in Sweden.4

Breast cancer in women

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women and 2.1 million women are diagnosed worldwide each year, of which approximately 9,000 women develop the disease in Sweden5 each year. Due to expanded diagnostic and therapeutic options, the survival rate has increased substantially in the past decades. In many countries the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with Stage I/II (small tumours or limited local spread to nodes under the arm) breast cancer is 80 – 90 percent. For stages III/IV (larger tumours or more distant spread beyond the breast or to distant organs), the survival rate falls to 24 percent.6

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in men and the third most commonly occurring cancer in women.7 There were 2 million new cases globally in 2018 and more than 4,000 in Sweden8. Lung cancer has been the most common cancer worldwide since 1985, both in terms of incidence and mortality.9 Lung cancer survival is mostly determined by the stage at which it is diagnosed, with later-stage diagnosis having poorer survival.10

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide, and the fifth most common cause of cancer death among men. In almost all cases where the prostate cancer causes the patient’s death, the patient has been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a malignant tumour in the glandular tissue. In 2018, about 1.3 million new cases were recorded worldwide and approximately 10,000 men develop the disease in Sweden each year11. Prostate cancer is more common as men age, in the US, 97 percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men 50 years or older. The five- and ten-year survival is high in Europe and North America, but lower in some Asian and African countries.12

Bladder cancer

Around 550,000 new cases of bladder cancer were recorded globally in 2018, accounting for 3 percent of all new cases of cancer. This makes bladder cancer the ninth most common cancer worldwide. The five-year survival rate varies globally and is 76 percent in the US and 68 percent in Europe.13

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. In 2018, approximately 500,000 cases were recorded, accounting for approximately 8 percent of all new cancer cases in women14. The five-year survival rate for all women with cervical cancer is 66 percent. However, survival rates can vary by factors such as ethnicity, age and social-economic conditions. For white women, the five-year survival rates are 69 percent, and for black women, the five-year survival rate is 56 percent.15

The overall oncology market

Global spending on cancer medicines amounted to USD 97 bn globally in 2017, and is expected to continue to increase and amount to USD 177 bn in 2025.16 Spending on cancer medicines is heavily concentrated among a handful of therapies, with the top 35 drugs accounting for 80 percent of total drug spending.17 List prices of new cancer drugs at launch have risen steadily over the past decade, and the median annual cost of a new cancer drug launched in 2017 exceeded USD 150,000 compared to USD 79,000 for new cancer drugs launched in 2013 in the US market.18 The total oncology market is expected to increase with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 8 percent worldwide between 2017 and 2025.19 Traditionally, oncology is one of the three leading therapy classes worldwide by spending, accompanied by pain medication and antidiabetics.20 Approximately 45 percent of the global market, measured in value, is generated in the United States, making it the world’s top national oncology market.21 Another 20 percent of the market remains in the leading five EU countries.22

The number of approved cancer therapies continues to rise year on year, with 63 new cancer drugs launched in the past five years.23 Despite the development and introduction of new drugs for the treatment of cancer, cytostatics are still the backbone of cancer treatment worldwide, mostly in combination with other treatments such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and new innovative targeted treatments.24


1) Latest global cancer data (2018), World Health Organization. 2) Cancer Research Institute (2019). 3) World Cancer Research Fund (2019). 4) The Swedish Cancer Society (Sw. Cancerfonden) (2019). 5) Breast Cancer (2019), World Health Organization och Cancerfonden. 6) Breast Cancer Report (2018), the World Cancer Research Fund och Cancerfonden. 7) Lung Cancer Report (2018), the World Cancer Research Fund. 8) Cancerfonden (2019). 9) Lung Cancer: Epidemiology, Etiology, and Prevention. Clin Chest Med. 2011 Dec;32. 10) Lung Cancer Report (2018), the World Cancer Research Fund. 11) Prostate Cancer Report (2018), the World Cancer Research Fund och Cancerfonden (2019). 12) Prostate Cancer Report (2018), the World Cancer Research Fund. 13) Bladder Cancer Report (2018), the World Cancer Research Fund. 14) Cervical cancer (2018), the World Cancer Research Fund. 15) Cancer.Net (2019). 16) Global oncology/cancer drugs market (2019), Allied Market Research. 17) Global Oncology Trends. Online 18) Global Oncology Trends. Online 19) Global oncology/cancer drugs market (2019), Allied Market Research. 20) Global Oncology Trends. Online 21) Global Oncology Trends. Online 22) Global Oncology Trends. Online 23) Global Oncology Trends. Online 24) Global oncology/cancer drugs market (2019), Allied Market Research. 25) Global oncology/cancer drugs market (2019), Allied Market Research.