Cancer Death Rates Continue to Decline in US

Posted on January 9th, 2012 by

Updated statistics from the American Cancer Society show that cancer mortality rates continue to decline in this country. A decline in mortality was observed for several common types of cancer, including lung, colon, breast, and prostate. These results were published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Although cancer remains an important cause of illness and death in the United States, progress is being made in prevention, early detection, and treatment. To provide information about trends in cancer incidence and mortality, the American Cancer Society released its annual report on cancer statistics.

  • In 2012, there will be an estimated 1,638,910 new cancer diagnoses and 577,190 cancer deaths in the United States.
  • Between 1990 and 2008, cancer mortality declined by 23 percent in men and by 15 percent in women.
  • Mortality rates continue to decline for the four most common types of cancer: lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate.
  • In spite of the decline, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.
  • Cancer death rates continue to vary by race. African-American men are 15% more likely than white men to develop cancer and 33% more likely to die of the disease. African-American women are less likely than white women to get cancer but more likely to die from it.
  • Incidence rates (rates of new cases) increased for some less common types of cancer, including pancreas, liver, thyroid, kidney, melanoma, esophageal adenocarcinoma, and throat cancers related to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

The decline in cancer mortality is likely to be due to several factors, including lower rates of smoking, early cancer detection through screening tests such as mammography and colonoscopy, and improvements in cancer treatment.

The findings of this report highlight the gradual progress that is being made against cancer, but also offer a stark reminder of the toll that cancer continues to take.

Reference: Stiegel R, Naishadham D, Jemal A. Cancer Statistics, 2012. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Early online publication January 4, 2012.

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