Cancer Mortality Rates are Steadily Falling

Cancer death rates are steadily and continuously dropping in men, women and children from all races and ethnicities in the U.S., according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer (ARNSC).

Per the report, men fared well when it came to outliving cancer, i.e., each year the index dropped by 1.8%. In women and children, the drop was 1.4% per year. Cancer death rates decreased in adolescents and young adults (age 39 and less) as well though the rate was lower than other subgroups, i.e., 1%.

Source: National Cancer Institute

“This year’s report showed that overall cancer death rates decreased 1.5% on average per year from 2001 to 2017, decreasing more rapidly among men (by 1.8% per year) than among women (1.4% per year). The report found that overall cancer death rates decreased in every racial and ethnic group during 2013–2017,” says a press release from National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Much of it is because of scientific advancement, better and improved health care services and early detection and treatment offered in the country. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has welcomed the report as ‘encouraging news’ but stressed that the journey is long and the battle is tough so that there remains no room for complacence.

Commenting on the report, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. said:

There is still much more we can do to prevent new cancers and support communities, families, and cancer survivors in this ongoing battle.

Dissecting Report Findings – One Cancer at a Time

Cancer is the second most common cause of death worldwide. In 2018, it accounted for an estimated 9.6 million deaths.

The ARNSC report has included, analyzed and reported data on the most common cancers and their prevalence in men, women and children.

In men and women, lung cancer is the leading cause of hospital admissions and deaths with 2.09 million cases reported in 2018 alone but the report shows the incidence has come down by 3.7-4.8% in both genders.

The report also includes data on other common types of gender-specific cancers and all of which have either shown stability or a steady decline from 2001 onwards. For instance, the incidence of prostate cancer remained intact throughout the years but other types of less common cancers (oral and pharynx, soft tissue, brain, and pancreas) saw an upward drift.

Women showed resilience towards 14 of the top 20 cancers including breast, colorectal and lung cancers but data shows that other types of cancers such as liver, brain and uterus are increasing steadily in women.

Both men and women have shown to outlive skin cancer (melanoma), i.e., a 6% decline in deaths per year.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Data in children is a bit worrying though since it stated that the incidence of all-cancers (particularly leukemia and lymphoma) is increasing with an average of 0.8% per year although the death rate has come down to 1.4% and 1% in children and adolescent respectively.

Source: National Cancer Institute

It is imperative to improve surveillance for childhood cancers by establishing databases and widening study demographics so that the cancer can be, if possible, prevented and treated timely to ensure longevity and quality of life in youth.

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