Cancer Death Rates Reach 25-Year Low

11 Janvier, 2019, 03:52 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Cancer remains the nation's No. 2 killer

"The continued decline in the cancer death rate over the past 25 years is really good news and was a little bit of a surprise, only because the other leading causes of death in the U.S. are starting to flatten", Rebecca Siegel of the American Cancer Society, and lead author of the study, told CNN. While poverty was actually associated with lower rates of cancer mortality prior to the 1980s, that trend has since reversed, due in part to changes in diet and smoking as well as screening and treatment rates, the health organization said.

"Differences in wealth lead to differences in risk factors and less access to high-quality care for prevention, early detection and treatment", she explained.

Plus, care for the poor is not as good as that given to the rich, Siegel said. From 1993 to 2016, deaths from prostate cancer dropped 51 percent, and from 1970 to 2016, deaths from colon cancer plummeted 53 percent, the researchers reported. Liver cancer death rates also increased by 1.2 percent per year among men and 2.6 percent per year among women, from 2012 to 2016. These cancers are responsible for the greatest number of cancer deaths, the report details.

Unfortunately, there's some bad news in the new report. In 2017, increases were seen in fatalities from seven of the 10 leading causes of death, according to recently released government data.

"Any time you have a disease as serious as cancer, when you have a substantial reduction in deaths, that's a notable achievement", said Len Lichtenfeld, the interim chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

Between 1991 and 2016, deaths from cancer dropped 27 percent.

Around the world, the number of people diagnosed with cancer seems to be increasing. It was a delayed effect from a decline in smoking that began in the 1960s, Siegel said.

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Notably, the report highlighted declines in the four most common types of cancer: lung, breast, prostate and colorectal. Routine screening with the PSA blood test is no longer recommended because of concerns about high rates of over-diagnosis (finding cancers that would never need to be treated).

According to the ACS: "A total of 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 deaths from cancer are expected to occur in the United States in 2019". These include cancers of the liver, pancreas, brain, nervous system, soft tissue-including the heart-and areas of the body affected by the human papillomavirus, such as the mouth and throat.

The report did contain some troubling information, including an increase in endometrial cancer, which more than half the time is attributed to obesity, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The nation's growing obesity epidemic was first identified as a problem in the 1990s.

"In addition, our treatments for patients with cancer definitely improved as well", said Okuno.

The report also noted how an individual's socioeconomic status and ethnicity could significantly affect the chance of dying from the most preventable cancers. Similarly, the cervical cancer death rate for women living in poor counties was about double that of those in affluent counties. Lung cancer deaths among men declined 48 precent from 1990 to 2016 and dropped 23 percent for women from 2002 to 2016. The AP is exclusively responsible for all content.

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