Death rates for lung cancer and others have gone down
(Mirror Daily, United States) – While the numbers of new cancer diagnoses remained steady, cancer death rates have declined by nearly 25% between 1991 and 2012, according to a new study. While the number of patients diagnosed with cancer has not gone down, survivability is reportedly up.
Researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS) drew in the numbers of one full decade worth of reports. Cancer is currently the second leading cause of death in the United States. In 21 states around the nation, it’s actually the first, surpassing the number one killer, which is heart disease. Cancer’s victim count peaked in 1991, but has been fortunately declining.
According to their research, the cancer mortality rate has dropped by 1.8 for men per year and 1.4 for women per year. That totals to a 23% decline in death rates within 10 years, that will hopefully continue to drop. As stated Rebecca Siegel from the ACS, it’s a “good news, bad news story”. On one hand, there’s a clear progress. On the other, it highlights how much work is left to be done.
The steady decline has likely prevented 1.7 million Americans from perishing due to the disease. However, there are many more left, since numbers of cancer diagnoses have remained steady through the years. The frequency alone is worrying.
The types of cancer that have seen the biggest decline are breast, colon, rectal, prostate, and lung cancer. The latter is largely attributed due to success in getting people to stop smoking. That means campaigns, awareness, and numerous programs or treatments that aided patients to escape the unhealthy vice.
Another factor is better documentation and more frequent screening. Dr. Otis Brawley from the ACS claimed that between 55 to 60% of Americans over the age of 50 years old have been screened for colorectal cancer. The target is to raise that number to 80% by 2018, along with more improvements on awareness of breast cancer. It’s one of the main concerns.
According to Dr. Brawley only between 30 to 40% of women over the age of 45 years old have been screened for breast cancer. In fact, a majority of them are not up to date with screening nor have they ever had a mammogram. It’s just one of the many aspects that researchers hope to improve in the future.
The third aspect that favors the decline in death rates is the advancement of treatments. There are significant improvements in early detection, prevention, and treatments that were not available a decade ago. And more are likely to come in the future.
Hopefully, the mortality rates will continue to decline and the number of new cancer cases will follow suit. With that, millions of more lives could be spared.
Image source: oncologynews.com.au