The Latest News About Cancer Death Rates in the U.S. Will Fill You With Hope
But it's not all good news.
Cancer has been one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. for years, so it’s understandable that you might be a little freaked out about the disease. But now, there’s some good news on the cancer front: Deaths from the disease are down 26 percent from their peak in 1991.
That’s the major finding from a new study published in the American Cancer Society’s journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. For the study, researchers compiled data on cancer and cancer deaths from the National Center for Health Statistics, and tracked it over time. (Kick-start your new, healthy routine with Women's Health's 12-Week Total-Body Transformation!)
According to the scientists, the rate of cancer diagnosis was stable in women from 2005 to 2014 while it dropped about 2 percent each year in men. Still, the cancer death rate dropped by about 1.5 percent each year in men and women. According to the scientists, nearly 2.4 million deaths were avoided from 1991 to 2015.
Cancer is still a serious cause for concern: The researchers project that there will be more than 1.7 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2018 and 609,640 deaths from the disease. Still, it’s better than it’s been in the past.
Scientists say that the drop in cancer deaths is due to steady declines in smoking, along with advancements in early detection and treatment. However, they point out, tobacco is still the leading cause of cancer deaths today, linked to about three in every 10 cancer deaths.
The drop in cancer death rates was mostly due to decreases in lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. According to the findings, lung cancer rates dropped 45 percent from 1990 to 2015 among men and 19 percent from 2002 to 2015 with women. Breast cancer death rates are also dropping—they went down 39 percent from 1989 to 2015 among women, and scientists say it’s largely due to early detection. Prostate cancer death rates dropped a whopping 52 percent from 1993 to 2015 in men, and colorectal cancer death rates also dropped 52 percent from 1970 to 2015 in men and women due to increased screening and better treatment. But, researchers point out, the death rate from colorectal cancer in people under the age of 55 increased by 1 percent each year from 2006 to 2015.
Clearly, there’s still an ongoing battle with cancer, but it’s good to see that we’re winning the war.