The drop was driven by huge strides made in treating most common cancers, including breast (down 40 percent), colon (down 53 percent), lung (down 48 percent for men and 23 percent for women) and prostate (down 51 percent). The society predicts there will be more than 1.7 million new cancer cases, and more than 600,000 cancer deaths, in the US this year.
The rate of people dying from cancer in the United States seems to have dropped steadily for 25 years, a new study says, but disparities remain between the rich and the poor. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will expand health coverage to an estimated 600,000 residents now without insurance, The Washington Post reported.
Death rates due to obesity-related cancers, including uterine, pancreatic, and liver cancers, have been on the rise, although it's still not clear exactly how the obesity epidemic has affected cancer mortality. Mortality rates for poor people were significantly higher for cancers that are largely preventable though lifestyle changes, like smoking cessation.
The American Cancer Society also annually estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and cancer deaths that could occur nationwide, based on the most recent data. Furthermore, an estimated 606,880 Americans will die from cancer, a number that corresponds to 1700 deaths per day.
Ortner tells KLIN News that it's not all good news.
But although the racial gap in cancer deaths is slowly narrowing, socioeconomic disparities are growing, she said. "We must work to ensure every patient has access to cancer care that reflects their individual needs as well as the opportunity to participate in research and contribute to progress".
Dr. Dan Theodorescu, director of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, said he read the results of this annual study on cancer statistics each year. "This report also highlights our long-standing concerns about the underrepresentation of individuals from lower socioeconomic populations in cancer clinical trials and the access to treatment advances these trials may provide", Bertagnolli said.
Lower smoking rates are translating into fewer deaths. However, smoking patterns do not appear to explain the higher lung cancer rates being reported in women compared with men born around the 1960s.
"What you see is a tragedy of increasing rates of obesity, which is now a risk for certain types of cancer; more clearly identified higher rates of tobacco use; and issues with access to cancer screening and prevention strategies and probably issues with access to diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to cancer", he added.