Friday, 18 January, 2019

U.S. cancer death rate hits milestone: 25 years of decline

Colorectal cancer endangers more 20-to-30-year-olds: study - Xinhua | U.S. cancer death rate hits milestone – but it's not all good news
Melissa Porter | 11 January, 2019, 20:45

The overall cancer death rate decreased continuously by 27 percent from 1991 to 2016, according to a report published online January 8 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. In real numbers, that's nearly 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. Lung cancer is one of the most lethal diseases in men and women, along with colorectal cancer. This translates to an estimated 2,629,200 fewer cancer deaths than would have occurred if mortality rates had remained at their peak. The death rate for female breast cancer dropped by 40% from 1989 to 2016.

Looking forward, the researchers forecast around 1.8 million new cancer cases in 2019, which would be in line with the most recent numbers. Prostate cancer deaths are holding steady, while Obesity-related cancer deaths are going up.

The cancer incidence rate was stable in women and declined by approximately 2% per year in men over the past decade of available data (2006-2015).

In the early 1970s, colon cancer death rates in the poorest counties were 20 percent lower than those in affluent counties; now they're 35 percent higher. 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. But cancer is the leading cause of death in many states and among Hispanics, Asian Americans and people under 80 years of age.

Ortner tells KLIN News that it's not all good news. Other risk factors for liver cancer include obesity, heavy drinking, and smoking. The estimates are some of the most widely quoted cancer statistics in the world. "We must work to ensure every patient has access to cancer care that reflects their individual needs as well as the opportunity to participate in research and contribute to progress".

"I would say that this is the best data out there for the oncology community and those concerned with healthcare in America", said Theodorescu, who was not involved in the study.

Still, disparities may persist because "socioeconomic status plays a pivotal role in cancer incidence and survival", Theodorescu said. Poverty, for example, has been associated with higher cancer case and death rates. "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.

"What you see is a tragedy of increasing rates of obesity, which is now a risk for certain types of cancer; more clearly identified higher rates of tobacco use; and issues with access to cancer screening and prevention strategies and probably issues with access to diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to cancer", he added.