Cancer Death Rate Hits A Milestone

Colorectal cancer endangers more 20-to-30-year-olds: study - Xinhua | English.news.cn

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.

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

By tracking deaths attributed to cancer over the past few decades the researchers were able to determine that the rate of cancer deaths in 2016 was an incredible 27% lower than it was in 1991. A recent study published by JAMA, a peer-reviewed medical journal, looked at over 85,000 women between the ages of 25 to 42 for about 22 years, and found a link between a higher body weight and a greater risk of colorectal cancer. The bad news is, not everyone benefited equally. Obesity-related cancer deaths like pancreatic and uterine cancer are rising, while prostate cancer deaths are not decreasing, the report's lead author, Rebecca Siegel, said, according to the AP.

These statistics are even more important as cancer is among the leading causes of death in the United States, alongside heart disease and accidents, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report also indicated that the racial gap in USA 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. That corresponds to more than 4,800 new cases and nearly 1,700 deaths per day, according to the study. "There were 114 cases under the age of 50 (in the study), and there are some 16,000 cases a year of colorectal cancer of people under the age of 50 in the U.S.", Weber said.

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.

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But it's not all good news.

Yet "it gives us a touch point on what's going on in cancer in the United States, because if we don't know what the trends are and the populations that are most burdened by the disease, then we can't do anything about it", Siegel said. The estimates are some of the most widely quoted cancer statistics in the world.

"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. It was a delayed effect from a decline in smoking that began in the 1960s, Siegel said. "Getting to the oncologist often takes longer and options may be more limited", he said.

For cancers such as leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, pancreatic and ovarian cancers, death rates vary only slightly between the rich and poor, the investigators found.

Of the most common types of cancer in the US, all the ones with increasing death rates are linked to obesity, including cancers of the thyroid, pancreas and uterus. However, smoking patterns do not appear to explain the higher lung cancer rates being reported in women compared with men born around the 1960s.

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