Cancer Death Rates Have Been Falling For The Past 25 Years

An image of human breast cancer cells

An image of human breast cancer

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 overall 27% drop in mortality rate translates into 2.6 million fewer deaths from cancer between the years 1991 and 2016.

Prostate cancer death rates declined 51% from 1993 to 2016 among men.

A World Health Organization report released in September estimated that there were 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths worldwide in 2018 alone. According to the article, New York City will spend up to $100 million per year for the plan, which involves expanding the city's existing public insurance programs and providing uninsured residents with access to affordable care at city-owned facilities.

For instance, between 2012 and 2016, the overall cancer death rate was about 20% higher among people living in the poorest counties in the United States compared with those in the most affluent counties - and socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality widened over the past three decades overall, according to the study.

Breast cancer death rates declined 40% from 1989 to 2016 among women.

The prostate cancer death rate flattened from 2013 to 2016. However, in adults younger than age 55, new cases of colorectal cancer have increased nearly 2% per year since the mid-1990s.

However, the data also revealed a potentially troubling trend: a growing gap in death rates based on wealth. Several factors affect the differences among racial and ethnic groups, including socioeconomic status (SES). But cancer is the leading cause of death in many states and among Hispanics, Asian Americans and people under 80 years of age. In children, leukemia accounts for the majority of cancer cases, making up 28% of all childhood cancers. The 5-year relative survival rate for all cancer sites combined improved from 58% for children diagnosed during 1975 to 1977 to 83% for those diagnosed during 2008 to 2014.

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However, this age group now represents one-third of all male cancer survivors and one-fourth of all female cancer survivors.

The lifetime probability of being diagnosed with cancer is 39.3% for men and 37.7% for women, which is a little more than 1 in 3.

Rates of new liver cancers are rising faster than for any other cancer.

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.

Rates of new cases also rose for melanoma skin cancer, thyroid cancer, endometrial cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Siegel added that this progress has translated to "2.6 million fewer cancer deaths during this time period than would have been expected if rates had remained at their peak". Note: material may have been edited for length and content.

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