Cancer is a severe disease affecting millions of Americans. According to the National Cancer Institute, the most common cancers in the US in 2016 were breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, rectum cancer, bladder cancer, melanoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, thyroid cancer, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, leukemia, endometrial, and pancreatic cancer. Detecting this disease early, consulting a doctor and fast diagnosis are the best bets for beating cancer. While millions of people do suffer from this severe health issue, the latest research shows death rates are on the decline.
Cancer Death Rates
Every year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates the numbers of cancer incidence and deaths that will occur in the country in the current year. Researchers compile the most recent statistics on cancer prevalence, mortality, and survival to get a detailed insight into rates of the severe diseases across the United States.
For the purpose of the latest study, researchers at the ACS analyzed data from 1930 to 2014 provided by National Center for Health Statistics. Also, they used the population-based cancer incidence data collected by the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program since 1973 and by the CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) since 1995.
The CA: A Cancer Journal of Clinicians published findings from this research showing that the cancer rate significantly dropped from its peak of 215.1 (per 100,000 population) in 1991 to 161.2 (per 100,000 population) in 2014. It’s important to bear in mind that 2014 is the latest year for which the data was available for analysis.
Furthermore, the same report made some estimates regarding cancer incidence in 2017. It showed that about 1,688,780 new cancer cases will be diagnosed and 600,920 people will die due to cancer. Based on the available data, scientists found that during the last decade the total cancer incidence rate was stable in women, but declined by 2% on a yearly basis in men. On the other hand, cancer death rate dropped by 1.5% annually for both women and men.
Why did Cancer Death Rates Recline?
Considering the fact we constantly read about new cancer cases and hear the negative statistics about cancer incidence, it’s logical to wonder why the decline? Researchers explain it could be due to advanced treatment for different kinds of cancer, steady reductions in smoking, and early detection of the disease.
Key findings were lower death rates in four major types of cancer:
- Lung cancer: -43% between 1990 and 2014 for men, and -17% between 2002 and 2014 in women
- Breast cancer: -38% from 1989 to 2014
- Prostate cancer: -51% from 1993 to 2014
- Colorectal cancer: -51% from 1976 to 2014
Interestingly, scientists discovered that men had 20% higher cancer incidence than women as well as 40% higher risk of cancer-related death. This discovery could be explained by the fact that men are at a higher risk of developing different types of cancer including liver cancer, cancers of esophagus, bladder, larynx, and melanoma.
Another interesting discovery is that racial disparities in cancer deaths rates are on the decline too. For instance, higher cancer death risk in African-American men decreased* from 47% in 1991 to 21% in 2014. The decline was recorded in cancer deaths regarding black women too. It dropped from 20% in 1998 to 13% in 2014. Despite the evident decline, African-American individuals still have a 15% greater risk of cancer death.
Scientists concluded the study explaining there is a constant decline in cancer death rates over two decades resulting in 25% drop i.e. 2.1 million fewer cancer death rates during this time period.
According to the latest report from the ACS, cancer deaths dropped by 25% since 1991, which only showcases the progress of medical treatments and the importance of the early detection. These results give a glimpse of hope that in the near future, scientists will create even better treatments for this severe disease.