That translates to about 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths total than would have been expected if rates stayed at their peak, which was seen in 1991.
A steady, 25-year decline has resulted in a 27% drop in the overall cancer death rate in the United States, translating to approximately 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths between 1991 and 2016. Major cancer types: Lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer The most common cancers diagnosed in men are prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers.
Overall cancer deaths rose for most of the 20th century, driven mainly by men dying from lung cancer, researchers noted.
In fact, cancer deaths dropped 27 percent from 1991 to 2016, according to the report. This estimate reflects the contemporary cancer burden based on the most recent data. Similarly, the death rates for breast cancer dropped by 40% from 1989 to 2016, prostate cancer dropped by 51% from 1993 to 2016, and colorectal cancer dropped by 53% from 1970 to 2016. There has also been an uptick in death rates from 2012 to 2016 for cancers of the liver, pancreas, uterine corpus, brain, nervous system, soft tissue, and sites within the oral cavity and pharynx associated with human papilloma virus. Socioeconomic inequalities are widening, although the racial gap in cancer mortality is narrowing slowly, according to the researchers. 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. Moreover, the study only looked at a subset of cases.
This year, 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States.
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Ortner tells KLIN News that it's not all good news.
"The encouraging point is that cancer mortality continues to go down, particularly for men, but the tough part is, we're still seeing over 600,000 Americans dying of cancer every year", he said.
"The largest gaps are for the most preventable cancers", she said.
"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. Ortner also credits a decline in smoking.
"Poverty has been a relentless obstacle to receiving cancer care because of lack of, or low insurance coverage". "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. However, smoking patterns do not appear to explain the higher lung cancer rates being reported in women compared with men born around the 1960s.
Of the most common types of cancer in the USA, all the ones with increasing death rates are linked to obesity, including cancers of the thyroid, pancreas and uterus.