Cancer Deaths Stay on Downward Path

From MedPage Today:

U.S. cancer death rates in 2009 were down 20% from their peak in 1991, primarily because of large decreases in death rates from lung and prostate cancer in men and in breast cancer in women, according to the American Cancer Society. In its annual statistical review of cancer incidence and mortality, the ACS estimated that more than 1 million Americans were saved from cancer deaths since 1991 — the difference between the actual cancer mortality and a projection of continued increases in cancer deaths at the 1975-1991 average. The ACS researchers also estimated that the U.S. would see 1,660,290 new cancer cases diagnosed in 2013 and 580,350 cancer deaths.

…Starting in 1990, lung cancer death rates in men dropped about 30%, from 91 per 100,000 to 62 in 2009. Deaths from prostate cancer per 100,000, which had also peaked in the early 1990s, also plummeted — from 40 to 22. In women, lung cancer mortality appeared to have peaked in 2002 at about 42 per 100,000 and has since declined slightly. The largest decrease in cancer death rates for women has been for breast cancer, down 33% since 1990. Colorectal cancer death rates in women have also declined substantially, but that trend began in 1950, according to the ACS report. Decreases in death rates were seen for most other cancer types. The major exception is liver cancer in men, for which mortality has been edging upward since 1980. Siegel and colleagues also found that 5-year survival rates have been trending upward, even for notoriously poor-prognosis cancers such as lung, pancreatic, and esophageal malignancies.

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