US cancer death rate hits a milestone: 25 years of decline

Cervical Cancer Diagnostic Testing Market

Cervical Cancer Diagnostic Testing Market

The report also shows there's been a decline in the historic racial gap in cancer death rates.

Experts say lower smoking rates are translating into fewer deaths.

This is especially true for the most common cancers, including breast, colon, lung and prostate.

"Racial disparities largely reflect the disproportionate burden of poverty among blacks", Siegel said. Poor counties in particular lag behind, and for some cancers the gap is widening, Siegel noted.

"Losing nine young women every week to a disease that for the most part is preventable is something we need to pay attention to, " he said.

The two-and-a-half-decade decline is mostly due to reductions in smoking (which increases the risk of a number of cancers, particularly lung cancer), as well as advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer, the report said.

Colorectal cancer death rates declined 53 percent from 1970 to 2016 among men and women because of increased screening and improvements in treatment.

"We are probably only seeing the tip of the iceberg regarding the influence of the obesity epidemic on cancer rates", said Rebecca Siegel, strategic director of surveillance information services at the American Cancer Society and lead author of the new report.

"A lot of what we see here is because of public health initiatives like smoking cessation and early screening", he said.

Gray agreed, and said that patients of low socioeconomic status face many barriers to cancer prevention - for example, they may be unable to take time off work for medical appointments, or they may not be able to afford healthy foods.

The report was published online January 8 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

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The study also found that in 2016, cancer was responsible for 22 percent of all deaths-meaning it was second only to heart disease in that year as a leading killer of American men and women. And when they are confronted by cancer, they often don't have the access to the latest treatments, Paskett explained.

The report's authors predicted 1.76 million new cancer diagnoses and 607,000 cancer deaths in the U.S.in 2019, according to The WSJ.

"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 United States are starting to flatten". And lung and liver cancer death rates are more than 40 percent higher among men living in poor counties, compared with wealthier counties.

Lung cancer is the main reason.

Overall men had a 34 percent total decline in cancer mortality, and women had a 24 percent decline during the 25-year period. Pancreatic cancer deaths rose slightly among men.

The study also tracked the cancer mortality rates based on various factors including wealth and race.

For example, obesity-linked endometrial cancer, which begins in the uterus, is on the rise, according to The WSJ.

Although a vaccine for HPV is available, Paskett said, too few girls and boys are being vaccinated. This year, an estimated 11,060 children diagnosed with cancer will die from it, with leukemia accounting for nearly one-third, followed by brain and other nervous system tumors.

Looking forward, the researchers forecast around 1.8 million new cancer cases in 2019, which would be in line with the most recent numbers.

The prostate cancer death rate flattened from 2013 to 2016.

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