U.S. Cancer Deaths Down 20 Percent Over Last Two Decades

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According to a new American Cancer Society (ACS) report, fewer people are dying from cancer.


The report, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, evaluated cancer death rates from 1991 to 2010. Mortality data shows a 20% decline in the combined cancer death rate (deaths per 100,000 population). This translates to the avoidance of approximately 1.3 million cancer deaths.

The size of the decline in cancer death rates over the last 20 years varies substantially by age, race, and sex, ranging from no decline among white women aged 80 years and older to a 55% decline among black men aged 40 years to 49 years. Notably, black men experienced the largest drop within every 10-year age group.

In a statement, John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, said:

The halving of the risk of cancer death among middle aged black men in just two decades is extraordinary, but it is immediately tempered by the knowledge that death rates are still higher among black men than white men for nearly every major cancer and for all cancers combined.

According to projections in the ACS report, an estimated 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2014 and just over one-third of patients will die from the disease.

Among men, cancers of the prostate, lung and bronchus, and colorectum will account for roughly half of all newly diagnosed cancers (prostate cancer alone will account for 27%). In women, cancers of the breast, lung and bronchus, and colorectum will account for 50% of all new cases (breast cancer alone will account for 29%).

Recent studies suggest that as much as 70% of all cancers are preventable through diet and lifestyle. There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer; indeed even something as simple as a daily aspirin may reduce cancer risk.

Source: CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

About the Author

Jenny Jessen is a senior writer at Highlight HEALTH.