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Have Cancer Rates Gone Down?


Posted on Jan 01, 2015

With the new sense of awareness and preventative methods that American physicians have taken in the last decade, experts decided to find out whether cancer rates have decreased. The study showed great results.

CBS news reports on the new study. The study shows that U.S. cancer death rates fell twenty-two percent since 1991.

The American Cancer Society says that rates of cancer deaths have dropped 22 percent over the last two decades. This comes to a total of 1.5 million cancer deaths averted, a consequence of earlier detection, better screening practices, improved treatments as well as lower rates of smoking.

The report was published in A Cancer Journal Clinicians. It is based on the most recent information from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and mortality figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. Even though there has been an improvement, cancer is still a leading killer.

Dr. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society commented on the study.

“Cancer was responsible for nearly one in four deaths in the United States in 2011, making it the second leading cause of death overall. It is already the leading cause of death among adults aged 40 to 79, and is expected to overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death among all Americans within the next several years. The change may be inevitable, but we can still lessen cancer's deadly impact by making sure as many Americans as possible have access to the best tools to prevent, detect and treat cancer,” according to Dr. Seffrin.

How are cancer death rates across the country?

Some regions of the country are doing far better than others. Southern states did the worst, showed the lowest decline in mortality rates, whereas the Northeast region had the best improvement.

The statistics show that between 2007 and 2011, the average annual decline in cancer death rates was slightly larger among men (1.8 percent) than women (1.4 percent). This is mainly a product of a continued decline in death rates for four forms of cancer: lung, breast, prostate, and colon.

CBS reports, “Lower rates of smoking have greatly contributed to the decline in cancer deaths. Cancer death rates increased overall in the 20th century and peaked in 1991, until public health efforts, including campaigns carried out by the American Cancer Society, shed light on the health risks of smoking, the leading cause of cancer in the U.S. Lung cancer death rates declined 36 percent between 1990 and 2011 among males and 11 percent between 2002 and 2011 among females due to reduced tobacco use.”

Many results were quite positive. Breast cancer death rates declined 35 percent. And prostate and colorectal cancer rates have declined even more, they were down 47 percent from their peak.

The study also gives projections for the coming year. The authors think there will be around 1,658,370 new cancer cases and 589,430 cancer deaths in 2015 -- an average of 1,600 cancer deaths each day.

“Prostate, lung and colorectal cancers will continue to be top killers for men, while breast, lung and colorectal cancer will continue to be the top cancer killers among women in the U.S. Nearly 30 percent of deaths among women will be a result of breast cancer,” according to CBS.

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