Cancer Death Rates Make Significant Declines

The overall cancer mortality rate had dropped 20 percent since 1991, according to new data from the American Cancer Society's annual Cancer Statistics report. It states that the death rate has fallen from 215 per 1000 to a little over 173 in 2009. The death rates have been found to consistently decline among all four of the major cancer groups: colon, breast, colorectal, and prostate.

Over the last twenty years, there has been more than a 30% drop in breast and male lung cancer rates and a 40% decline in prostate cancer. The likely reason behind this is a result of a reduced number of smokers and improved detection and treatment.

This year, it’s estimated there will be close to 1,660,000 cancer cases and 580,350 cancer related deaths in the U.S. The most common cancers among men are cancers of prostate, lung and bronchus and colorectal, which make up over half of total male cancers. Amongst women, breast, colorectal, and lung cancers were the most common, with breast cancer making up about 29% of female cancer cases.

Cancer continues to become less common among nearly cancer types with exceptions in melanoma, thyroid, pancreas, and liver cancers. The most common causes of cancer mortality are lung, colorectum, prostate, and breast cancer.

Close to 27% of all cancer deaths in 2013 are expected to be a result of lung cancer. Of all cancer types, the deadliest was pancreatic, with only 6% of cancer patients living as long as 5 years following diagnosis.

Chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, John Seffrin, Ph.D. concludes, "In 2009, Americans had a 20% lower risk of death from cancer than they did in 1991, a milestone that shows we truly are creating more birthdays. But we must also recognize that not all demographic groups have benefitted equally from these gains, particularly those diagnosed with colorectal or breast cancer, where earlier detection and better treatments are credited for the improving trends. We can and must close this gap so that people are not punished for having the misfortune of being born poor and disadvantaged."


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