Cancer's death rate has been dropping for 25 years. Why?

Postado Janeiro 11, 2019

Life expectancy in the USA may be on a downward trend, but a recent study marked a bright spot: cancer deaths have dropped for 25 years straight, according to the American Cancer Society's annual report published Tuesday.

Siegel, M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected to occur in the United States in 2019 and compiled the most recent data on cancer trends.

But since its peak of 215.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 1991, the cancer death rate dropped steadily by about 1.5% per year to 156 per 100,000 people in 2016, an overall decline of 27%. But a new study may provide a clue, the US digital news website Vox reported Tuesday. The most notable gaps were seen for the most preventable cancers. The report also indicated that the racial gap in United States cancer mortality is narrowing-with the disparity in cancer deaths between black and white individuals declining from a peak of 33% in 1993 to 14% in 2016-but socioeconomic disparities are widening.

The result showed that the 114 women who developed colorectal cancer in the study tended to have a higher BMIs. In 2016, 22% of all deaths were from cancer, making it the second-leading cause of death after heart disease. In men, the drop reflects accelerated declines during the past 5 years of approximately 3% per year for lung and colorectal cancers, as well as a drop of 7% per year for prostate cancer, which is attributed to decreased PSA testing. However, in adults younger than age 55, new cases of colorectal cancer have increased nearly 2% per year since the mid-1990s.

For example, the report demonstrated that in poorer counties, cervical cancer-related deaths were twice as common in women and men experienced 40% more lung and liver cancer-related deaths compared with more affluent counties. "These counties are low‐hanging fruit for locally focused cancer control efforts, including increased access to basic health care and interventions for smoking cessation, healthy living, and cancer screening programs", the authors of the paper write.

The report also noted that the rate of liver cancer diagnoses is increasing faster than any other cancer.

Cancer risk increases with age, and the rapidly growing older population will increase demand for cancer care.

However, this age group now represents one-third of all male cancer survivors and one-fourth of all female cancer survivors.

The study from the American Cancer Society found there were approximately 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths in the USA since reaching a peak of 215 deaths per 100,000 people.

Visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute for more on cancer. Note: material may have been edited for length and content.