US Cancer Deaths Continue to Drop

Georgia Reed
January 6, 2018

"This new report reiterates where cancer control efforts have worked, particularly the impact of tobacco control", said Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

The statistics indicated more than a 22-year drop in deaths from the disease.

Officials with the American Cancer Society say more research is needed to bring down the death rate and detection of ovarian cancer, which accounts for 2.5 percent of all cancer cases, but 5 percent of cancer deaths among women.

In 2018, 1,735,350 new cancer cases and 609,640 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the US, the report found. While the diminishment in cigarette smoking has pushed down death rates, "tobacco stays by a long shot the main source of malignancy passings today, in charge of nearly 3 of every 10 tumor passings".

The most common cancers - in men, tumors of the prostate; in women, breast - are not the most common causes of cancer death.

The decline has resulted in 2.3 million fewer cancer deaths from a peak of 215.1 per 100,000 people in 1991 to 158.6 per 100,000 in 2015, according to Cancer Facts and Figures 2018, published Thursday in the journal CA.

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Death rates have declined in the four major cancer types. The report also includes the effect of cancer on Hispanic and Asian Americans.

For women, breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed form, accounting for 30 percent of all new cancer cases. On the other hand, lack of insurance among younger black Americans may contribute to their higher mortality rate compared to whites. The cancer death rate was 14% higher in non-Hispanic blacks than non-Hispanic whites; the racial disparity was larger for those aged 65 years (death rate ratio, 1.31) than those aged ≥65 years (death rate ratio, 1.07).

Women have a 37.6 percent percent chance of ever being diagnosed with cancer.

Lung cancer incidence rates continued to decline about twice as fast in men as in women, reflecting differences in tobacco use and more smoking among females in some populations.

Some states in the report, such as NY and MA, have seen the racial mortality gap disappear for whites and blacks over 65.

Steady reductions in smoking, plus better detection and treatment, accounted for a significant part of the decline.

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