US Cancer Death Rate Is Decreasing, Report Says

Posted: Apr 2 2017, 10:08am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 2 2017, 9:24pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
US Cancer Death Rate is Decreasing, Report Says
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From 2010 to 2014, overall cancer death rates continued to decrease in men, women, and children for all major groups of society

Cancer-related deaths in the United States are decreasing, according to the latest report released by multiple institutes.

The report finds that death rates from most common types of cancer have dropped significantly during the period between 2010 and 2014 and the trend is prevalent in men, women and children from almost all groups of society. Now, more people are surviving from lung, colorectal, breast cancer and prostate cancer, thanks to the early detection of cancer and advances in treatment. Meanwhile, death rates have increased or very slightly dropped for some other types of cancers such as liver, pancreas and brain in men and for liver and uterine cancer in women.

Most of the other reports usually focus on the death rate from different cancers to assess the prevalence or consequences of the disease. The new report, however, gives an account of deaths prevented from cancers between 1975 and 2014.

“While trends in death rates are the most commonly used measure to assess progress against cancer, survival trends are also an important measure to evaluate progress in improvement of cancer outcomes,” said Ahmedin Jemal from American Cancer Society and lead author of the study. “We last included a special section on cancer survival in 2004, and as we found then, survival improved over time for almost all cancers at every stage of diagnosis. But survival remains very low for some types of cancer and for most types of cancer diagnosed in advanced stage.”

There can be many causes of cancers, but two major risk factors – obesity and smoking – continue to worry health officials.

“This report found that tobacco-related cancers have low survival rates, which underscores the importance of importance of continuing to do what we know works to significantly reduce tobacco use,” said Lisa Richardson from CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

“In addition, every state in the nation has an adult obesity prevalence of 20 percent or more. With obesity as a risk factor for cancer, we need to continue to support communities and families in prevention approaches that can help reverse the nation's obesity epidemic.”

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States despite the annual survival rate from cancer having increased nationwide. By cancer, we mean not just one disease but an array of chronic diseases. The different types of cancers are caused by different factors and treated differently. Timely screening and diagnoses and access to effective treatment could produce better results even in those types of cancers where survival remains very low.

“The continued drops in overall cancer death rates in the United States are welcome news, reflecting improvement in prevention, early detection and treatment,” said Betsy Kohler from North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). “But this report also shows us that progress has been limited for several cancers, which should compel us to renew our commitment to efforts to discover new strategies for prevention, early detection, and treatment, and to apply proven interventions broadly and equitably.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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