Rich people are lowering cancer death rates in the US

Modesto Morganelli
Gennaio 11, 2019

The report estimates* that in 2019, 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 cancer deaths will occur in the U.S. Since its peak of 215.1 deaths (per 100,000 population) in 1991, the cancer death rate has dropped steadily by approximately 1.5% per year to 156.0 in 2016, an overall decline of 27%.

This article has been republished from materials provided by American Cancer Society. The declining cancer rate is due, in large part to reductions in smoking and to advancements in the early detection and treatment and cancers, according to the report; the rate of death attributable to lung cancer dropped by 48% from 1990 to 2016 among men and by 23% from 2002 to 2016 among women. The death rate for female breast cancer dropped by 40% from 1989 to 2016.

The new report noted that almost 2 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and more than 600,000 will die of the disease. The cancer death rate (2007 - 2016) declined by 1.4% per year in women and 1.8% per year in men. So while the PSA testing may have surfaced cases that didn't actually need treatment, it may also have prevented some cancer deaths, the report suggests. That corresponds to more than 4,800 new cases and nearly 1,700 deaths per day, according to the study.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death among children ages 1 to 14 years in the USA, after accidents.

The study had some limitations, including that the projections should be interpreted with caution because they were based on data from three to four years ago.

The new study does a "very good job" summarizing those trends, said Dr. Walter Curran, executive director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, who was not involved in the study.

But although the racial gap in cancer deaths is slowly narrowing, socioeconomic disparities are growing, she said.

Still, the decline in cancer-related mortality does not affect the entire American population equally. While she celebrated the progress made, she also noted that the report showed that where a patient lives can dictate their chances of surviving cancer and that many patients cannot access high-quality care or be involved in research. It was a delayed effect from a decline in smoking that began in the 1960s, Siegel said. Oncology experts say advances in cancer drugs have played a major role, too. Cancer outcomes differ among racial/ethnic groups The rates of new cancer cases and cancer deaths vary quite a bit among racial and ethnic groups, with rates generally highest among African Americans and lowest for Asian Americans.

Meanwhile, some cancers that have been linked to obesity, including liver and pancreatic, showed signs of an increase. Poverty, for example, has been associated with higher cancer case and death rates. "So it's a multi-factorial issue that we view as a real critical issue in the cancer world right now".

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